Age and gender demographics are the default guide for marketing decisions.

Companies and agencies alike have hailed age and gender as the holy grail of marketing for decades. Many companies accept this, regardless of the intelligence they now hold in their own customer database or digital marketing dashboards.

While age and gender demographics have been the go-to, there are more important factors driving consumer actions. Purchasing decisions are made because of behaviors, not basic demographics. In fact, I challenge anyone to name a purchase made because of age and gender. With all the data now readily available, why are we still marketing our products and services to the consumer that way?

Marketing to only traditional demographics can limit your audience.

  • If your car breaks down on the side of the road, you’re probably going to call AAA or grab your phone and google a repair shop or towing service near you.
  • You’re getting married! You need invitations. You’re probably going to start the search online.
  • The contractor for your brand-new home is asking you to make decisions on appliances. You’ve never owned a home before and aren’t sure.  Where do you turn?  Reviews, recommendations, and Google.

In each of these situations, age and gender are distant influencers in the consumer’s decision-making process.  If the owners of these businesses targeted customers solely based on these basic demographics, they may have missed an opportunity to acquire a new customer.

Focus your marketing efforts on behaviors.

My assumption is that you don’t really care about the gender or age of your customers.  You just want people to purchase the product or service you’re selling.  So, how do you make adjustments?  Let’s go back to your customer database and use the information you already have to learn about the behaviors that drive your customers. Where does the need happen?

  • Broken down car? The need for assistance occurs in the moment, on the side of the road.
  • Wedding invitations? The bride, groom, or someone else is searching websites and social media for reviews and information.
  • Appliance hunting? Reviews, recommendations, and more reviews!

Serve the behavior. Plain and simple.

Here are 5 ways to look beyond demographics and use behavior to guide your marketing efforts.

  1. What need or desire does your company fill for your customers?

You rescue them on a snowy night, or you create the special invitations they want.  Figure out what need or desire you’re addressing for your customers.

  1. Where are your customers when they realize the need? Be there.

Are they broken down and frantically Googling a towing service? Are they casually sitting home in their PJ’s looking for the best appliance brands in their budget? You could use traditional media, online marketing, advertisements on the side of a city bus, or the Want Ad Digest. “Be” where your customers are when they’re making their purchasing decision.

  1. What about your product or service is better than your competitors? Why choose you?

Are you faster? More competitively priced?  Have the best customer service?  The most glowing reviews? Free shipping?  More experience? Tell them.  Don’t make them guess why you offer the best solution for their need.

  1. Take care of your existing customers.

Customer loyalty and the customer experience directly impact your customer’s satisfaction, spending habits, and brand loyalty – and it is almost 100% in your control. Happy customers lead to 5-star reviews.

  1. Make sure your current customers are there when new customers are making their decision.

Reviews matter. Whether it’s an auto repair shop, mechanic, printer, or any business that has customers, reviews matter. Ask your customers for reviews.  Let them tell your story and why they choose you.  Let them be your ambassadors.

These 5 marketing approaches are not based on age or gender demographics. They are solely about knowing your customers, defining their behavior, and thinking beyond demographics. Use what you have in your customer database and listen to your customers. They know you and will drive new and repeat business to your company.

Need help defining your customers beyond demographics?

Give us 30 minutes and schedule some time to talk about your customers and how to define your target market beyond age and gender demographics.  It’s time to let your customer’s actions guide your marketing.

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