Moving Past Demographics – Age vs. Stage
We tend to classify people so much depending on what age they are: Boomers. Millennials. Gen Z.
The approach is used by many business leaders across Marketing, Sales and even HR. We hear it all the time: “How do we attract millennials? How do we talk to Gen Z? How do we get more young people to work here/buy our products/live in our town/[insert action here]?”
But, people that are within a similar age group are often at totally different stages in their lives.
Take the following examples:
Sam is 24 years old, unemployed and lives at home with family. Sam spends their free time looking for a position in their career field and does not have a lot of disposable income.
Alex is 24 years old, single, recently graduated, new to the city and rents a small studio apartment. They are a foodie and love nightlife, frequently going to the bars with their friends.
Jordan is 24 years old, engaged, has a dog, works in a city suburb and has a condo outside of downtown. They love sports and music, and love going to major live events like games and concerts.
Taylor is 24 years old, married with a child, works downtown and owns a home in a suburb just outside the city. They are interested in family-friendly activities like going to museums, parks and the zoo.
While on paper, each of these individuals might fit within a 18-25 year old target demographic, they have vastly different lived experiences.
In the example above, Sam, Alex, Jordan and Taylor might not all actually fit within your target audience, even though they are the same age. And targeting Taylor with an ad or program that more aligns with Alex’s interests will not get you the results you want.
Instead, we help our clients to reframe their thinking and focus on a stage of life.
Targeting points of transition provides an opportunity to reach your audience at a time when they are ready to make key decisions.
Rather than saying, “We need more 18-25 year olds,” why not target a point of transition common among that age group?
An example of that point of transition could be moving to a new city – whether for college or a new job. Someone who is new to the city needs to: find a place to live, open a bank account, join a gym, get a new primary care physician, perhaps find a new job…the list goes on and on.
What if you could get in front of that person?
This was the motivation behind a program we produced for clients called The Welcome Party. This interactive event gathered people new to the city and connected them to one another, as well as to the resources, culture, nonprofit organizations, employers and businesses within the community. The event also featured live music, activities, networking and drinks.
The event offered clients an opportunity to get to know people who were new to the city in a casual, organic way. People outside of the 18-24 age came, but they were all connected by that point of transition – being new to the city. The program and content therefore provided something of value to the audience, which in turn led to higher engagement and ROI.
Thinking about audiences solely in terms of age and demographics can lead to frustrating results. Once you start to think about points of transition and stages of life, you can build a plan that will lead to serious results for your organization.
Are you interested in learning more about designing a market strategy based on life stages? Our experts are ready to help.