Tag Archives: Advertising

The Great Debate: Demographics or Psychographics

Since the early days of Madison Avenue advertising, demographics have helped advertisers  kind-of sort-of pinpoint the types of consumers that might be interested in purchasing their products or services by such segments as age, income, location or education.

But now big media, including news networks like NBC News, and are focusing on something that could potentially provide much more value for advertisers, and provide much more relevant advertising to consumers: psychographics.

The idea behind the shift is such: Though demographics help content producers and advertisers define particular spectrums in terms of those that are more likely to be able to purchase particular products, they don’t necessarily focus on things like aspirations, attitudes, or perhaps most importantly, intent.

So, are demographics dead?

Can we – advertisers – truly divorce ourselves from something that has long been the way to target advertising? Are demographics still as important as they once were?

Take, for example, Nielsen TV ratings which has often caught flak from audiences and advertisers alike for relying on things like demographics and impressions in order to determine the value of advertising in the increasingly-disrupted medium that is TV. It may be foolish to rely on half-century old ways of targeting consumers when, in just the past decade alone, the way we consume information has begun changing at an alarming rate.

But Nielsen, too, seems to have realized that, joining forces with Catalina Marketing in order to more effectively target their advertising initiatives through psychographics.

research on the subject of demographics from Catalina Marketing indicates that as little of 15% of brand advertisements — that’s 15 cents on the dollar — are targeted towards the consumers that account for 80 percent of a brand’s sales!

Which means that it might be time for a paradigm shift. Especially when you consider the wide number of massive online networks and  free advertising tools that make performing psychographic research much easier.

But ultimately, whether you target based on demographics or psychographics,  marketers must still focus on the messages that they are broadcasting to their target audiences.

And that’s where brand comes in.  : )

Campus Recruiting? Remember, It’s One Big Brand.

In honor of back to school time, let’s check out what’s new on campus. I’ve long-advised clients who desire to keep ahead of the technology curve to follow the trends in campus student enrollment. Now there’s another reason to head back to school.

If your responsible for your company’s campus recruiting efforts, Natasha Singer’s recent article for the New York Times is a must-read. The story highlights ways companies are using student Brand Ambassadors to promote products and services, and generate loyalty via social media, in-store events, and on-campus buzz.

Traditional marketing efforts like print advertising and TV spots are yielding fewer and fewer tangible results, but did you know that this fall, an estimated 10,000 American college students will be working on hundreds of campuses as Brand Ambassadors?

By illustration, Singer’s article cites efforts from three American Eagle student marketers who solicited 50 volunteers to take part in a move-in event at the University of North Carolina. Wearing A.E. Move-In Crew T-shirts, they helped with lifting boxes, handing out swag, and creating a welcoming branded experience for new arrivals, as just one of AE’s 50-campus events.

Target opened up its wallets for a freshman welcome dinner, and its doors for a private late-night shopping experience, complete with DJs and dancing through the aisles.

Mr. Youth, a youth marketing agency, published its list of brands who were best at communicating with freshmen. They included Nike (design your own shoes), Xbox (engage, connect and compete with your friends), and of course Apple (‘nuf said.)

So advice to the campus recruiting teams: Plan together and plan ahead.

Check in with your marketing department and find out if they are launching any guerilla marketing events on the college campuses. If yes, get in on it. If no, this is where you can shine. Help them plan something and then work together (isn’t that a great concept) to promote a seamless brand experience from consumer through employee. Give them the list of your target schools (you have that right?) and start there.
Work to infuse an employer value proposition that is aligned with the consumer value proposition into all your messages, and don’t sound like anyone else.
Make sure you’re careers site has been recently refreshed, is up-to-date and mobile friendly (QR tags are optional), and your social media sites are integrated with your career/jobs information.

Remember: the brands that swim together, win together.

The 4 Words You Want to Hear from your Agency Partner

It’s the most important words you can hear from your agency partner.

It has the power to change your company in ways you never realized.
It has nothing to do with money or deliverables or logistics.

Can you guess what it is?

“I have an idea.”

They may say other words to you, like “solutions.” That’s a good term, but it implies that you have “problems.” The branding world isn’t so binary. If there are only problems and solutions, then what are opportunities? What are experiments?

Did your agency partner mention a “plan”? Plans are fine, but they come after ideas. Planning too early can lead to rigidity. If circumstances change and the plan is no longer valid, do you change the plan, scrap the plan…or try to change the circumstances? Plans often mean a great deal of time and energy and shouldn’t be conceived without your input.

Your agency partner might say they have an “answer.” This can be useful, but the right answer requires the right question; are you sure they asked the right one? And what if the question has multiple answers?

Solutions, plans, and answers are all right, but nothing beats an idea.

An idea has the potential to change your entire company. Weren’t Google and Twitter founded on very simple ideas? Walt Disney’s idea was that an amusement park should entertain both children and adults. Ray Kroc’s idea was that a Big Mac should taste the same in New York as it did in Tokyo.

An idea shows that your agency partner has been thinking about your company. They’ve considered your strengths, your weaknesses, your needs, and your goals. And all those factors have coalesced into something that they’re excited to share with you. It may only be a spark, but it could light a wildfire. After all, single idea from your agency partner can open up new revenue streams, launch the creation of new products, or change your entire marketing strategy.

Ideas are powerful things. Arguably all of human progress has relied on one person creating a concept and then spreading it to others. Flight was once only an idea. So was the car, and the camera, and the computer. The light bulb was such a great invention that it now symbolizes all ideas. America is an idea; it reaches across borders and unites people from many different backgrounds.

So if your agency partner hasn’t said “I have an idea” in a while, here’s an idea:

Find a new agency!