Discovering a target market takes time. Classifying that target market can take even longer. There are so many classifications for age ranges, demographics and the like that lines become blurred and you end up with the wrong audience after all. Understanding the true meaning of a market segment is important for effective marketing and advertising. Just saying you’re targeting “millennials” does not mean you are going to be successful in the young market.
Here is a list of popular demographics you may be hearing along with their definition and an explanation of what that means for your business.
Millennial/ Generation Y
Who they are: Person born in the 1980s, hitting ‘adulthood’ in the 2000s; generally the children of baby boomers
Who they really are: This group grew up in the age of technological revolution. They saw the progression from iPod to iPhone and taught their parents how to use each device in between. An individual could be anywhere from 20 to 35 years old, which can be a difficult range to pin down being that this encompasses college students to workforce entrants to new homebuyers.
What it means for you: All calling your target market “millennials” means is that you want to hit young adults. Make sure you narrow your target to an actionable group that is interested in your product or service. Zavinos’ website has been successfully tailored to the student millennial who loves looking at pictures of food and eating delicious pizza after class.
Who they are: Person with a particular interest in food; a gourmet
Who they really are: These are young individuals who probably complain about being broke as often as they go out to eat. Their Instagram feed is inundated with food pics and they are not ashamed. They are extremely in tune to the local offerings and are those very blessed people who somehow order the most delicious thing on the menu every time, leaving you staring at your classic cheeseburger wondering, “Why did I do this to myself.” You can probably find them at Jet Wine Bar after work before heading over to Café Ynez for dinner.
What it means for you: Foodies know local. You aren’t going to find them craving Olive Garden breadsticks or sipping drinks at Chili’s. The way to get their attention is to be organic (no pun intended). Do away with the gimmicks, focus on authenticity and prove you are consistently the best at what you provide. Foodies will be loyal brand ambassadors.
Who they are: person who follows the latest trends and fashions, particularly those regarded as being outside the cultural mainstream
Who they really are: What used to be a very specific sub-culture has morphed into a mainstream trend with multiple levels. The original hipster is your ultra-local focused urban minimalist. Next we have your Etsy hipster whose loft apartment in a gentrifying area is full of DIY projects and Pinterest delights. Another is the mainstream hipster whose oxymoronic behavior is the reason ‘hipster’ has such a strange connotation. While their clothes, music interest and tastes may make you think they’re an original hipster, they will not go so far as to cancel their cable or Starbucks card.
What it means for you: Much like millennials, hipsters are a broad market. Defining your target hipster is important to be successful. For example, Free People and Anthopologie are two successful marketers to the mainstream hipster while East River Bank caters to the original hipster without alienating other consumers.
Who they are: Social media influencer who blogs about the trials and tribulations of being a mother
Who they really are: Mommy bloggers are healthy, fit and product savvy when it comes to what’s best for the home and their children. They love to share their latest findings with their slew of followers on their website of pastel colors and iPhone shots. The market is flooded with these influencers, but only a few have broken through the crowd and those are the ones to take note of.
What it means for you: Trust is key for these crowd influencers. Be approachable and openly communicate your product or service in order to properly target a mommy blogger. If they are impressed, their wide audience will be as well. Joe’s Steaks + Soda Shop, while not specifically targeting this market, has been branded with a family friendly feel that is a good example of how to portray yourself to mommy bloggers.
These are just a few of the common demographics we at Neff Associates have observed recently. Obviously there are exceptions to every one of these definitions and many other demographics out there that mean so much more than their definition. We pride ourselves in our ability to recognize these segments and target them effectively for your specific business need.