Do you know what demographics you want to be marketing too?
The term demographic is defined as “a single vital or social statistic of a human population.” What this means to you is that you can use demographic information to make sure you’re spending you’re money where it will have the best effect. Here are just a few demographic measurements you should be looking at:
- Number of people in a household (which tells you if you’re dealing with families or singles, homes or apartment complexes)
- Median income per household
- Racial and ethnic information (helpful in marketing to a foreign language, etc.)
- Education level
- Median home value
These statistics can be used an various ways to help you get a better return on your investment. One example has to do with direct mail. If you’re going to spend $500, $1000, or more on a direct mail campaign, you want to focus on the right area of your town or city. Are you going to mail to a business district where your mail will likely be trashed, or to a neighborhood with high median home values?
Another way to use this information is when you have multiple newspapers in your area targeting different areas of the city, you can compare the demographics to the paper distribution. This can also help when you are running inserts in the paper by zip code.
I once had 10 different newspapers to choose from, ranging from a very small neighborhood newspaper to the large Dallas Morning News. With the right demographic information, I could target and test very specific areas of my town, plus surrounding towns, to find out which performed the best. Some of the 10 newspapers I could quickly dismiss as useless because their distribution went too far or hit areas I was not interested in marketing to. To have this information meant a huge amount of time and money could be saved. (One thing I learned is don’t always trust the newspaper’s own demographics, as they can be slanted to make that newspaper look good!)
An awesome new tool I recently discovered can be very helpful in determining the demographics of your area (if you practice in the U.S.) It’s called the NY Times Mapping America Project. If you go there and put in your city or zip code, you will be able to select many different demographic maps. Here’s one I created for the North Dallas area.
When you mouse over the live version, you can see each census tract’s median household income and it even shows you what percentage that has changed since the 2000 census! If you understand the true value of demographics, you will know this tool is going to be very useful to you.
I would highly recommend you visit the website, check out your area, and bookmark it for future use. Consult this site whenever you are making decisions about where to run different marketing campaigns. Also, make sure you check out the different maps and how they relate to your area by using the blue button at the top right that says “View more maps.”
Speaking of demographics, here is a neat video on the world demographics since 1810.