Dinosaurs Extinction of Demographics

You only have to read two pages into Tim Manner’s newest book Relevance to read that, “Demographics Are Dead.”

If you’re like me, this was a somewhat jarring declaration. After all isn’t knowing your customers the foundation of any successful marketing plan?

But then again, how well do you really know consumers when you spend all your time trolling demographic statistics? Chances are not much more than vagaries such as age, gender, ethnicity, along with a few averages in categories like income.

Demographics worked well in the age of splatter-gun marketing to the masses. At least then demographics made the random messaging a little less random. If new a majority of your brands’ customers were white women ages 25-35, then you could be sure to reach majority of women that fit that profile in between the weekly soap operas.

But as we all know, mass-blast advertising isn’t quite as effective as it once was, and now demographics just aren’t making the cut. Consumers want brands that they can relate to and brands that relate to them–brands founded on core, unchanging principles, beliefs and values–and not on ever changing campaigns and taglines, tweaked to fit perceived changes in demographics.

To quote Tim again,

Relevant brands often find their focus within a key demographic group but do not base their strategies solely on issues of age, gender, ethnicity, or income.

Demographics aren’t totally extinct…yet. And sure, there are times when these facts and figures can be helpful. But if you expect to survive in the new age of brands, a much closer picture of consumers is required, or even better, a relationship.