Before there was a thing called the internet – brands used demographic data to understand, segment, and convert people to customers.
With the massive amounts of data almost every business has at their fingertips, many of the most basic (and often most powerful) forms of segmentation are overlooked.
Needless to say, this is a mistake because it can often be low hanging fruit for you to capitalize on.
In this article, you’ll learn more about demographic data, how to get it, and interesting ways to use it to grow your business.
What is demographic data?
Demographic data is information collected about the characteristics of a population and is often used to research whether or not a product is suitable for different groups. Demographic data can influence your go-to-market strategy, pricing, and even the way you position your products.
It includes information like age of a population, income levels, family makeup, education level, and more. Together, this information can paint a picture that helps you make high-impact changes in your business.
Let’s look at a simple way to get demographic data.
How to get demographic data?
You can use publicly available information such as what the Census Bureau provides. This is far from ideal because it may not be indicative of your customer base.
You can hold multiple phone calls with your target audience. Unfortunately, it’s time-consuming if you do it in-house and expensive to outsource it. The solution comes in the form of simple demographic surveys.
As the name implies, a demographic survey is a research instrument that asks a series of demographic questions to find the characteristics of your audience. You can ask anything but keep in mind that people won’t answer questions that are too personal. Avoid asking things like:
- Real names
- Exact income (use ranges instead)
- Exact age (use narrow or broad ranges)
- Address (ask for a geographic location like city or county)
If you already have a good idea of the demographic characteristics of your customers then you can use multiple-choice questions. This is because when you present options, it’ll be relevant to most of your respondents.
When you’re just starting the research and only have assumptions about who you’re serving, use open-ended questions. This will help you avoid providing the wrong answer options and let your customers fill the gaps in your knowledge.
Only focus on the information that has a direct application to your business. For example, if you’re selling software, it may not be important to know the gender of your customers. It will be important to understand their income or employment. Whenever possible, use a ratio or interval measurement scale so you can do deeper analysis.
Once you’ve gotten your demographic data back, done analysis, and understand who your customers are, it’s time to use that data.
Uses of demographic data
I’ll touch on three ways to use demographic data but keep in mind that we’re only scratching the surface. Think of this as a primer. Get creative in the applications and you’ll be able to consistently improve your business.
Let’s dive in.
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