Why Demographics Don’t Tell The Whole Story
By Paula Morand
There has been a trend in recent years to create sales forecasts and marketing plans based on demographics.
By demographics, I mean the collection of vital and social statistics, specifically those which suggest that a specific segment of a population has shared characteristics.
It is easy to understand why so many companies want to do this. We all want tidy little packages of statistics to guide us to what we hope are logical and secure decisions.
But depending too heavily on demographics is dangerous in the long run, because demographics and the conclusions we draw from them are essentially stereotyping. And stereotyping just doesn’t work.
Any sales program that is built without taking into consideration the individuality of each customer and the unique way your product or professional service fits into their life is built on quicksand.
The tendency to think that just because people fall into a certain age or income group that they are alike is pure fallacy. Yet you see advertising based on these stereotypes all the time.
A person is newly retired? They must want to garden and travel. While it is true that many of them do, many others couldn’t even grow a petunia or care to learn how, and people who never travelled until they retired rarely start to embrace it then.
These days, it is even more misleading to consider that just because a person has reached the age 65 demographic that they are actually retired.
Makers of video games assume that children and youths are their targets. Such an assumption can lose them millions from the retiree market who finally have the time to learn and play such games. In fact, statistics show that about 25 percent of all video games are purchased by people over the age of 40.
Demographics also fail to consider how many goods are purchased by one person for another. Many retirees purchase children’s games, for example, and women actually buy more specifically designed men’s products than men do.
Demographics also fail to consider the changing roles huge populations assume as social changes occur. For example, watch the door of a day care centre when it is time for children to be picked up and in many areas, you will see there are more grandparents than parents collecting the little ones.
Stroll the grounds of amusement centres like Disney World and Universal Studios and watch how many multi-generational families are there. The same goes for zoos and even trampoline parks.
If you are using demographics to customize your email campaigns to customers, there is a good chance that you are missing the mark entirely.
What can you depend on if demographics don’t work for you?
Direct customer surveys will usually yield a better kind of data. And never under-estimate the power of an intuitive and observant sales force trained to listen to what their customers are telling them.
Paula Morand is a leadership building, revenue boosting, strategy expanding keynote speaker, author and visionary. This dreaming big and being bold leadership expert and brand strategist brings her vibrant energy, humor and wisdom to ignite individuals, organizations and communities to lead change, growth and impact in a more bold fashion.
24 years, 27,000 clients, 34 countries, 15 books, former radio personality, 11x award winning entrepreneur and humorous emcee.
Check out Paula’s bestselling books on Amazon: “Bold Courage: How Owning Your Awesome Changes Everything”, “Dreaming BIG and Being BOLD: Inspiring stories from Trailblazers, Visionaries and Change Makers” book series; and her newest release 2018 “Bold Vision: A Leader’s Playbook for Managing Growth”.
For speaking inquiries email firstname.lastname@example.org or call toll-free 1-888-502-6317.