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You’ve got a killer marketing campaign in development. But a college freshman isn’t going to respond to it the same way as, say, her grandparents will. So, you have to ask yourself, who is the campaign for?

It’s quite difficult to come up with a marketing message that pleases a mass audience. It’s much more effective to divide that mass audience into sectors. Then, you can speak directly to those groups in ways that resonate well with each of them.

Demographic segmentation is one way to create categories within a mass audience. It’s also one of the important stepping stones on the way to discovering your target audience.

What Is Demographic Segmentation?

Segmentation in marketing is the process of assessing the mass audience — that’s everyone out there who’s exposed to your message. You divide it into groups of people who have certain commonalities. There are four categories of general market segmentation:

  • Geographic: Where people live
  • Demographic: People’s statistical characteristics
  • Psychographic: People’s values, attitudes and interests
  • Behavioral: People’s online choices and how they buy

Demographic segmentation divides the mass audience by measurable variables, such as:

  • Age: Leverage the shared experiences of specific generations (millennials, baby boomers) or age groups (teens, seniors).
  • Gender: Use language and angles that appeal specifically to males and/or females.
  • Marital status: Target the specific priorities of singles vs. married couples.
  • Family size: As people progress from new parents to empty nesters, their needs change, and you can speak directly to those needs.
  • Income: Prioritize the groups that can afford what you sell, and identify logical price points as you develop new products.
  • Education: Leverage loyalty to your audience’s alma mater or nostalgia for their high school days.
  • Race: Helps you be sensitive to cultural nuances in your marketing.
  • Nationality: Companies with a global presence can tailor their marketing to customs in the various countries in which they operate.
  • Occupation: Target people by the industry they work in (healthcare, hospitality) or by their job title or rank (C-suite, entry-level). This is especially useful in B2B marketing.
  • Religion: Speak to people’s values and morals.

Using demographics to segment an audience is easy because the data is straightforward in nature. It’s simple to collect using government census results, surveys and web analytics.

Demographic segmentation hinges on the idea that people who belong to a group share similarities with other members of the same group. Of course, there will always be exceptions. But, by and large, segmentation works in marketing, and that’s why the pros trust and employ this general principle.

Why Is Demographic Segmentation Important?

Demographic segmentation helps increase the likelihood that you’re marketing to the people you’re hoping to reach. You’re avoiding a fragmented audience that contains many people who cannot or will not buy from you.

Knowing who’s in your customer base and what they want allows you to improve all aspects of your marketing. For example, Hubspot says that personalized emails improve click-through rates and conversion rates, and they drive 18 times more revenue than broadcast emails. Hubspot also reports that companies were able to make their websites two to five times easier for customers to use when they designed the sites around buyer personas.

What Are the Benefits of Demographic Segmentation?

A lot of good comes from demographic segmentation and targeting. Here are a few of the rewards you can expect to reap.

Optimize Your Operations

With segmentation, you aren’t going to waste resources by marketing to people who have little interest in buying what you sell. Segmentation helps you pinpoint specific buyer personas and find a clearer direction for your marketing strategy. This allots the bulk of your resources to reaching the most desirable or ripe segments. That means your investment of time and money is going to get a bigger return.

Locate Your Audience

Demographic segmentation helps you figure out where your audience is so that you can meet them there. What social media channels do they favor, and which influencers do they love? Where do they hang out online, and what other brands are they relating to?

Grab Their Attention

When you’ve narrowed your target audience to the point that you’re speaking their language and addressing their pain points, you’re going to get their attention. When you know what entertains them and what information they want to learn, they’re going to think, “This company gets me.”

Achieve a Personal Touch

When each type of buyer gets a customized experience — especially returning customers — your audience is more likely to connect with and trust your brand. Who doesn’t like it when a company remembers their birthday, for example? When you make an effort to know who they are, it shows. When you meet them where they’re at in your sales funnel, you’re more likely to convert.