Definition of Demographic
Frequently, a client will specify a target audience by talking about the customer profile. This is a way of talking about the demographics of the people in a consumer group. One purpose of a demographic is to find out what specific consumer segments exist in the overall population. Another is to have enough information about a typical member of a group to provide a kind of mental picture of an individual within the larger group. This information allows for the development of a marketing strategy and a marketing plan.
In ordinary use, a number of variables are taken into account when we talk about a group’s demographics. Commonly used variables include:
- type and number of designated products in the household
- education level
- housing status: own, rent, condo
- employment status
- geographic location
- recreational preferences
- buying habits
Each of these variables can be given more or less weight depending on the product or service involved. For example, a magazine publisher might consider a marketing campaign aimed at a demographic that includes single Asian men between the ages of twenty-five and twenty-eight employed in the aero-space industry living in Northwest US. This is potentially a large segment of the population.
On the other hand, if a company has a product that is expected to appeal only to Serbo-Croatian females between the ages of eighty-five and ninety who hold doctorates in Antarctic Economics and live with their parents, a demographic study might indicate that the potential market is too small for a major marketing initiative.
Let’s Get Picky
Every word has a specific meaning and that no two words ever mean exactly the same thing. And we still believe that’s true – except when it isn’t.
The word psychographic, technically, includes all the information in a demographic plus a lot more. A good marketing dictionary will define psychographics as a way of dividing consumers into groups based on attitudes, beliefs, values, personality, buying motives, lifestyle, and a number of other attributes.
Technically, demographics is a sub-set of psychographics that measures only age, income, and occupation. Practically, though, you’ll very seldom hear the word psychographics in a meeting because most people in marketing either don’t know or don’t care that there’s a difference. Demographics has become the industry shorthand that encompasses all of the elements of psychographics.