Picture this: You’re a video game marketer who’s trying to reach his or her male audience in the age group of 18 to 34. Interestingly, only 31% of mobile searchers in the US for video games are men aged 18 to 34 according to a 2015 Millward Brown Digital study. So what that means is, you could be missing out on a huge chunk of your audience—an astounding 69% of mobile users—by targeting them solely based on demographics.
I’m part of a rapidly growing segment of consumers who’re leading hyper-connected, mobile-first, digitally-driven lives. And what I’ve learned over time is that consumer intent and behaviour trump traditional demographic metrics like age, gender and location. Think about this: Every time a marketer sends me and another married CEO the same ad, the odds are that the ad is being wasted on one of us; which is why knowing what content will appeal to each of us on a personal level increases the relevancy and engagement of a piece of content.
Welcome to—what is known as—post-demographic consumerism, a term coined by TrendWatching.com in its 2014 report. It’s the era in which consumers are constructing their own identities more freely than ever without any regard for ‘traditional’ demographic conventions.Modern consumers are being defined by their digital behaviours and members can range from a video-games obsessed pre-teen who loves Beethoven to a tech-savvy grandmother hooked onto Breaking Bad.
Take Netflix’s anime streaming for example. You might assume it’s heavily concentrated in Japan. Yet, only 10% of viewers who watch anime on Netflix live there, as per a 2016 Wired.com article. The other 90% are distributed around the globe.
One of the key drivers of this post-demographic consumerism trend is technology. Today, we have access to a plethora of information on the internet; it’s impacting our perspectives and our interests. We are much more than our genders, our sexual orientations, or our societal and marital statuses.In fact, brands choosing to rely only on stereotypes and demographics to paint a picture of their consumers end up being myopic. Self-perceptions, attitudes and behaviours are just as important, if not more important in understanding your audience.
You can no longer think of your customers in terms of age, gender and location. You have to look beyond demographics, and use data to understand the behaviours and motivations of your target audience. You need a more holistic picture of your audience’s motivations, interests, purchase drivers and values. This is where psychographics comes in.
Psychographic data includes your audience’s habits, hobbies, spending habits, values, and more. This psychographic information is essential: it equips you with a roadmap for navigating the differences that exist among your target customers having similar demographic profiles. Thoughtful use of psychographics in your marketing campaigns will help you create more engaging and relevant content—content that your specific audience wants and needs.
So, what’s the crucial takeaway for marketers and brands?
Demographics alone, gives you a very hazy outline of your audience—you understand their challenges, but do not know where to find them, what really moves them to action, and why they do what they do. Psychographics—together with demographics—is a powerful insights-driven approach to defining your audience and reaching them. It’s time to stop thinking of your audience as part of some homogenous group, and instead use psychographics to create content that caters to their unique traits, needs, interests and attitudes.
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