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Monday, January 05, 2015

2015 heralds the age of 'post demographic consumerism'

It's early January and that means one thing - forecasts for the coming year.

I have this image of the poor sods that have to come up with these insights huddled in a room in late December trying to come up with something interesting to say. Time is running out and they default to rehashing the forecasts from the previous year or the one before that. In this case, the ones from a decade before.

Well that is what Marketing Week have done with its 'post demographic consumerism' trend.

Good grief it is more like Marketing 101.

If a marketer finds this insightful then God help them. I reproduce it in its spectacular entirety.

Post-demographic consumerism

People of all ages and in all markets are constructing their own identities more freely, according to consumer insights firm TrendWatching.com, because consumers can pick and choose what products and services they purchase and the brands they identify with without any regard to demographic conventions.

The result is ‘post-demographic consumerism’, which suggests brands need to throw out traditional assumptions about consumer behaviour. For example, IAB statistics show that in the UK women now account for the majority of video game players and there are more gamers over 44 than under 18.

The population is also ageing. Government statistics show that 10 million people in the UK are over 65, which will nearly double to 19 million by 2050, meaning targeting this group solely on age is a shot in the dark. IAB’s senior research manager Hannah Bewley advises brands that there is more to understanding audiences than just demographics.

“Think about the vast differences between people who look to be the same on paper based on their demographic profile. One famously cited example of this would be Prince Charles and Ozzy Osbourne, who were both born in 1948, grew up in England, married twice, have two children, are both wealthy and both like dogs,” she says.

“The key is to appeal to an attitude,” says Hannah Webley-Smith, marketing director UK and Ireland at Benefit Cosmetics. “Success lies in creating a dialogue, having fun with the many faces of our audience and celebrating their beauty however they choose to portray it.”

Age remains an important element of segmentations, though. “With motor insurance, the data shows us that age matters, which is factored into the pricing and our targeting,” says Kerry Chilvers, brands director at Direct Line Group. “But attitude towards risk and protection isn’t clearly defined by any demographic metric, least of all age. So we segment in a much more attitudinal way to allow us to meet an inherent customer need.”

Dick Stroud

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