Branding Blog

What are marketing demographics?

Written by Dale Berkebile | Fri, Jun 19, 2009

In our last blog post, Basic marketing definition and overview, we talked about the basic definition of "Marketing", and we mentioned "Demographics" & "Psychographics". We'd now like to give a little more details on demographics.

Here is a definition of Demographics

(from Wikipedia):

Demographics or demographic data refers to selected population characteristics as used in government, marketing or opinion research, or the demographic profiles used in such research. Commonly-used demographics include race, age, income, disabilities, mobility (in terms of travel time to work or number of vehicles available), educational attainment, home ownership, employment status, and even location. Distributions of values within a demographic variable, and across households, are both of interest, as well as trends over time. Demographics are frequently used in economic and marketing research.

Demographic trends describes the changes in demographics in a population over time. For example, the average age of a population may increase over time. It may decrease as well. Certain restrictions may be set in place changing those numbers. For instance in China with the one child policy.

The term demographics as a noun is often used erroneously in place of demography, the study of human population, its structure and change. Although there is no absolute delineation, demography focuses on population structure, processes and dynamics, whereas demographics is most often used in the fields of media studies, advertising, marketing, and polling, and should not be used interchangeably with the term "demography" or (more broadly) "population studies".

Demographic profiles in marketing

Marketers typically combine several variables to define a demographic profile. A demographic profile (often shortened to "a demographic") provides enough information about the typical member of this group to create a mental picture of this hypothetical aggregate. For example, a marketer might speak of the single, female, middle-class, age 18 to 24, college educated demographic.

Marketing researchers typically have two objectives in this regard: first to determine what segments or subgroups exist in the overall population; and secondly to create a clear and complete picture of the characteristics of a typical member of each of these segments. Once these profiles are constructed, they can be used to develop a marketing strategy and marketing plan. The five types of demographics in marketing are age, gender, income level, race and ethnicity.

Basically, Brandwise and other marketing firms help clients develop a target audience demographic in order to be able to reach them through, advertising, direct mail, trade show exhibiting, web promotions, email marketing, etc.

This is an important step in targeting and segmenting your audience. A well defined strategic demographic of your customers and prospects is half the battle in new client conversion. It also leads into the next phase of creating buyer personas which helps in both marketing and sales.