What is Demography? Stockholm University defines it as “the study of human populations – their size, composition and distribution across space – and the process through which populations change. Births, deaths and migration are the ‘big three’ of demography, jointly producing population stability or change.” How is Demography relevant to media buying and advertising? Demography is important in understanding marketing strategy. Many marketers aren’t familiar with the term. Basic demographic features – age, sex, family and household status, language, education, occupation, ethnicity, income and wealth all play a huge role in advertising strategy. Whether you’re seeking a digital advertising agency or traditional advertising agency (We are both! Traditional and Digital) it’s imperative that the ad agency thoroughly understands Demography.
There are professional Demographers who are engaged in social planning, market research, insurance forecasting, labor market analysis, economic development and so on. They work for private firms and public agencies at local, regional, national and international levels. In advertising, we use Demography as a very helpful tool in identifying potential target audiences and advertising channels that best reach them.
Recently, respected Demographer Ken Gronbach was interviewed about profiting from the major demographic shifts ahead related to America’s Baby Boomers, Generation X and Generation Y. He spoke about age curves interacting to create the opportunities and what the future will bring for businesses looking to pivot to meet new and growing demands. In his interview he explained that the U.S. has a “Bar Bell Population” which refers to the 80 million Baby Boomers currently alive, the tiny generation in between Boomers and Millennials, called Generation X and the Millennial generation after them, which is huge at 86 million! Boomers are still consuming in a big way and will (throughout the next decade) be a tsunami of economic force to the Southern States. Whereas Millennials, the other end of the Bar Bell, have the potential to create an economic force that will rival the Boomers. We’re seeing this in a big way in the Seattle market. In fact, next year, 20-to-35-year-olds are poised to overtake 52-to-70-year-olds as a higher percentage of the U.S. population. Pew Research Center
The birth years determining generations are debated but as a rough guide the birth years listed below provide a general beginning and ending years for each of the five generations:
- Gen Z, born 1996 to present.
- Millennials, born 1977 to 1995.
- Gen X, born 1965 to 1976.
- Baby Boomers, born 1946 to 1964.
- Traditionalists, born 1945 and earlier.
(Note: There is a sub generation called the Xennials, which we wrote about last week. The Xennials refer to a micro-generation born between say 1980-1985 when kids grew up without technology and smart phones but were entering or exiting college when smart phones and social media became popular. This sub generation behaves differently than the younger Millennials and advertising strategies for reaching each must be different. Contact our digital advertising agency for reaching Mellennials and Xennials
Being mindful of the Bar Bell Population is important for business owners and marketing managers as they work on advertising strategy. Over the past 14 years, we’ve personally worked with hundreds of marketing managers and marketing directors through our experience in traditional media and as a leading digital advertising agency. The marketing managers who have been the most successful in their careers have been ones who take interest in the strategic investment side of advertising as much as they focus on the creative messaging. Strategy is critically important in advertising and investment in the right or wrong media will make or break a marketing campaign.
There are 4 main reasons that advertising fails. 1) Wrong message. 2) Wrong audience. 3) Insufficiently funded campaigns. 4) Poor follow through on behalf of the business once the consumer follows a call to action.
1. Wrong message.
If your marketing message doesn’t resonate with the audience it’s not going to work. If there isn’t a specific call to action or compelling brand message the advertising will fail.
2. Wrong audience.
Wasting money in advertising space targeted to the wrong audience is a surefire way to light your advertising dollars on fire. Understanding Demography and how each demographics use media is critically important to the success and ultimately the ROI of your advertising investments. Want to reach young Millennials? Don’t advertise in Wheel of Fortune on broadcast television. Want to reach retired Boomers? Don’t advertise on Snapchat.
3. Insufficiently funded advertising campaigns.
If we had a dollar for every time our digital advertising agency saw a marketer spend a fortune on creative and skimp on the media buy we’d have a whole separate investment business… Creative is important and having the right ads for the right medium is very important to the success of an advertising campaign. However, over investing in creative and under investing in the ad space is a guaranteed strategy for failure. So is trying to advertise in too many places with a limited budget. Each market size (Seattle’s #12 in 2018) and each media type requires a specific investment level to see a ROI. Advertisers who spread their dollars too thin would be better off not investing at all.
4. Poor follow through on behalf of the business once a consumer follows the call to action.
We may be able to deliver leads to a business through strategically invested advertising but if the receptionist answering the phone is unfriendly or unresponsive, the advertising was a waste. If the web contact form gets filled out and no one follows up with that lead… wasted ad dollars. In an inpatient society consumers demand quick responses. Or they will find a competitor who returns their inquiry.
Curious if we could help you generate a greater return on your advertising investment in 2018? Give us a call. We’re a skilled digital advertising agency with backgrounds in traditional advertising that ensure we’ll create the best media mix for your goals. We’ll return your call promptly and share the wisdom we’ve learned over the decade we’ve been in business. 2018 is a big year for Thrive as it’s our 10th year media buying in Seattle. We’d love to have an opportunity to share with you what we’ve learned from having invested millions of advertising dollars in the Seattle market.