By Casey Haslem
The essence of marketing is knowing your customer. With that information, products, prices and advertisement material can be tailored to directly appeal to those who would buy from you. To know your customer, your target market, it’s vitally important to understand the demographics you are trying to appeal to. Demographics map aspects of your customers’ lives, large, sweeping traits that impact and shape their experiences. Armed with this knowledge, you are in the perfect position to predict their needs. Of particular, fundamental importance are the demographics of age, income level, and gender.
Age is nothing but the number of years one has been on this planet. Or is it? Age predicts health and lifespan on average. Age also indicates the era in which this person grew up in and formed their worldview, which means certain styles and ideas target certain age ranges. Age corresponds to stage of life, predicting certain economic and career interests. Is this person interested in information about college scholarships, how to make an impact on the PTA, or how to get the best out of Medicare? Age will, on average, give you that information, making it invaluable information for marketing.
Income level is also vital information. It not only lets you know what price your customers can likely afford, but also gives a limited idea of the cultural values surrounding them. An upper-middle class city-dweller is likely to respond well to a product branded as “environmentally-friendly” and be willing to pay a pretty penny for it, while a working class person is likely to care more about a low price and may respond better to something marketed as “all-American.”
Finally, there is gender. A person’s gender affects the values they are taught and the interests they are groomed for from birth. What society says is sexy for one gender is repulsive for the other, and if there’s one thing we can be sure of in marketing, it’s that everyone wants to be sexy. Often the simple mention of something being “for women” or “for men” can perk up the ears of the customer and make it feel like their needs are being catered to specifically.
Effective marketing requires targeted marketing. By knowing a little information about your prospective customers, you can cater to their needs, desires, and interests better, and get people to pay attention to your product. You can set prices and tailor design and copy to best appeal to the people who you want to buy from you.