Changing Marketing Demographics – How is your audience evolving?

Ross Miles - 22.03.2017

We often talk about targeting Millennials and Generation Z; but as established convention on marketing profiling changes, marketers simply must react. As a recent article on the Marketing Week website explains, changing marketing demographics are a reality – and brands need to be ready.

The article highlights the recent findings of Experian’s five-year study of consumer financial habits. According to the research, increased living costs and the struggle to get on the property ladder mean today’s young consumers are very different to previous demographics.

Over the past decade, more than a million people who would have considered buying a house have been forced to rent. Rather than spending money on a mortgage, they’re spending it on cars and holidays. What’s more, developments in technology are serving to rewrite previously established demographic groupings.

What do changing marketing demographics mean for marketers?

Changing marketing demographics mean there’s a growing disparity between groups– old and young, homeowners and renters, average earners and high-net worth individuals – that’s transforming consumer groups. Those groups marketers target today may cease to exist in the near future.

Grey market fragmentation

Somewhere between struggling pensioners and the wealthy retired are ‘home equity elders,’ who’ve worked their way into bigger, better homes, and are relatively risk averse. They like familiar brands, but they also want the best deal and are willing to switch to get it. In the short-term, this group is good news for DIY and kitchen companies; but as the balance shifts and the renting economy takes over in the longer term, businesses will have to change tack.

Speaking to the aspirational generation

Experian describes aspiring young adults who would’ve been first-time buyers in previous generations as the ‘earning potential’ demographic.

Analyst Richard Jenkings explains this ‘jilted generation’ are worse off than their elders, while facing low wage growth, student loan repayment, high house prices and the continuing cost of renting. They care about their careers, and are highly social media and mobile literate. They tend to focus on enjoying the here and now – making them a great target for marketers.

As Jenkings notes, printed media “doesn’t exist” for this group; they respond better to social media, apps and out-of-home advertising. Above all, they want brands to communicate with them in helpful, relevant and authentic ways, through digital channels.

Conquering the middle ground

Another key demographic is middle-aged homeowners. This group is likely to have large mortgages and share holdings, and are still influenced by traditional media such as print and radio. They are tech confident, but it’s not the be-all and end-all for them – especially social media where they remain below average users.

Often balancing jobs with raising children, this demographic is the most time-poor, so value products and services that will save time and put them in control. Brands should clearly convey how their offering can do this.

Successfully navigating changing marketing demographics

It’s obviously pretty important for us marketers to keep track of changes in consumer groups. Experian is one of the leading tools available to get a handle on what’s happening in your market, but it isn’t for everybody. At Fireworx, for example, we have a high end technology client whose purchasers (parents) are completely disassociated from the purchasing decision made by the purchaser (their children).

However, running a profiling project is often uniquely insightful to the marketing team, and can be relatively straightforward to undertake. If you sense your audience might be changing, it’s a great place to start. If you don’t get that sense about your consumers, then it’s probably even more important to take action!  😉

Drop us a line at Fireworx if you’d like some help to better understand your target audience.