When someone asks you who your customers are, how do you answer? Do you answer based on your perception of them and who’s already purchasing your products or based on actual information? Chances are, you haven’t delved into your demographics as much as you need to.
What Are Demographics?
Demographics are, by definition, the study of a population based on factors such as age, race, sex, economic status, level of education, income level, and employment. It should always be the first step in estimating your potential, limitations, and focus. They are among the most critical and relatively easy factors to consider in your marketing, planning, and strategic decision making.
Uncovering key demographics can be a bit like taking a look in your professional closet. You probably have an impeccable wardrobe, but it’s tough to see all that potential when there’s a giant elephant standing in your way. It’s time to deal with the elephant.
Where to Start
I regularly see business plans that begin with defining their market as the 320 million people who live in the United States and eat, dress, or consume something. No matter what industry you’re in, that is the wrong place to start. You have to dive deeper from the very beginning.
Even if you’re not at the very beginning stages of building your business, you should be studying demographics often and delve deeply into the information at hand. It’s crucial to the success of your marketing efforts.
Here are some staggering statistics that will make you question the audience you’re marketing to, according to the US Census Report . Out of that 320 million people who live in the United States:
What’s the point here? The beginning number you should be starting with is actually more like 30-40 million people versus 320 million people before you analyze factors like geography, lifestyles, and ethnicity. This increased diversity demands that you differentiate the totals from your market.
You can start to gather valuable demographic information about your market for free. There is a great tool available from the U.S. Census Bureau that lets you quickly understand the demographics in your locality . It doesn’t take long to gather information and you may be surprised by what you discover.
Understand Your Audience
Studying demographics is an ongoing process. Once you’re at the base line of understanding your potential customers, you must have your ear to the ground and start to identify trends.
For example, If you live on places like Orlando or hurricane regions, this can have a profound effect on your business. It is estimated over 100,000 people moved from Puerto Rico in the last few months . You will not see that number reflected in U.S. Census data.
You can’t just look at the numbers. You have to understand the people that the numbers represent and try to look at the factors that they deal with that you may not dealing with.
Here are some key things to consider when you’re studying demographics for marketing purposes:
Ignoring demographics and demographic trends, whether on a small scale or large scale will be done at a business’ peril. You must make certain to constantly evaluate relevant demographics and demographic trends as they relate to your business both in the now and in the future. This includes both local and national trends. Demographics can be one of the keys to your business’ success or failure.