Move Beyond The Demographic: Behaviors Matter More in Our Mobile World

Demographics: All marketers use them to guide their efforts, whether they’re developing broad strategies or creating specific campaigns. But they’re outdated as a singular proxy to measure and define marketing strategies and performance.

The problem is demographic data is incomplete. Why? Demographics are about groups, not individuals and their unique actions.

No matter how specific your demographic target is—say 30-something women who love coffee and hip-hop music. You won’t know she orders a latte with three shots of espresso from her device every weekday at 8 a.m., only listens to 1990s hip hop while commuting, and turns off push notifications unless they are contextual and catered to giving a quality experience.

Each person behaves different, yet individuals are often lumped together into one bucket.

This worked in the days of traditional mediums, which provided limited insights, and finite delivery options. They were less obtrusive and less personal. The landscape, however, has fundamentally changed with the rise of mobile and as a result, the reward (and risk) is greater.



The competition for your customer’s attention is incredible, and their journeys are more complex than ever. Even so, their expectations of brands couldn’t be greater.

Now it’s possible to understand the behaviors of individuals and deliver targeted messaging directly to personal devices wherever, whenever. Yet, despite this ability, many marketers continue to provide messages like push notifications, in-app and browser messages, email, etc., based only on limited demographic information and blasted group messaging. That must change.

A Single View of the Customer is Possible With the Right Technology

Rather than providing only basic demographic information with the right customer-relationship suite, you can create an in-depth profile for each user. This focused view of the customer marketers general data (age, gender, etc.), plus highly detailed behavioral insights.

You can see which devices an individual uses, how they engage with specific platform (and at what time for each), what messaging is most effective in reaching them, where they visit, what they purchase, and what brands or products are their favorites, among other observations.

Personalization Boosts Conversion Rates by 200%

How does targeting individuals versus groups help your brand achieve its goals? What does it allow you to do that traditional approaches do not?

Let's take the earlier example of a woman who loves coffee and hip hop music. With a single view of the customer, it's possible to deliver a push notification for a discount on her usual order right before she is about to open the app or perhaps some of the latest summer hip hop trending music triggering as she walks out the door on her commute, too.

That's much more likely to spark engagement than a non-targeted message about a discounted item she doesn’t consume or a type of music she doesn’t enjoy while in transit.

This fundamental idea—that tailoring offerings based on an individual's' needs is far more effective than making broad, demographics-based assumptions—is what powers many of today's most compelling digital experiences, including Netflix recommendations.

Ultimately, targeting based on individual behavior, rather than just demographics, delivers value to the customer by providing more useful content at better times. And, for marketers, it increases the spend effectiveness and, per eMarketer, overall retention.

This way, everyone wins.


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