Demographic Segmentation: Are You Still Segmenting Your Customers With Demographics Like Age, Gender, Address Etc? Stop.

If you’ve looking into buying mailing lists you’ll know that those lists are all about demographics.

Typical demographic are:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Address
  • Job Title
  • Income
  • Education

Do you like being put in these boxes and having assumptions made about you regarding your buying preferences?


Neither do I.

Let’s pretend for a moment that you and I are exactly the same on the 6 attributes listed above. (33 years old, men, live in Tauranga New Zealand, work in Marketing, earn $200k/year, have a Bachelor Degree, a Post Grad Cert, and will both finish our MBA in May 2011).

Does that mean we are likely to choose the same toothpaste? Same car? Same restaurants? Same insurance policy?

Hell no!

Because there are more choices in the market place you and I are more different than each other than ever before.

For this reason, demographics are out.

Behaviour is in.

This year it’s about segmenting based on the action that people take.

As an example let’s use a web hosting company.  For all the people that sign up for your free trial you can put these people in your “only-want-free-trial” segment.

For all those who upgrade to your basic paid plan because your welcome email was particularly persuasive, you can call this segment the “responded-to-upsell-in-welcome-email-within-a-week” segment.

Do you see how demographics mean nothing in this context? But you can definately make sound business decisions when you have action-segments like the 2 examples I’ve just provided.

Decisions like “what changes can we make to our offer to convert more people from group #1 to group #2?”

This post was inspired by “For Your Eyes Only – the three levels of customer behavior based data

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