The New Majority

January 20, 2010

by Mikey Cramer

dinoI am a complete nerd when it comes to demographic information.  Lame, I know.  With that said, I have been looking forward to the release of the 2010 Census for quite some time now.  It seems that every ten years is no longer an optimal frequency, considering how quickly the consumer landscape can change.

The 2010 Census will undoubtedly reveal some major demographic shifts, redefining the majority and minority.  “The concept of an “average American” is gone, probably forever,” demographics expert Peter Francese writes in 2010 America, a new Ad Age white paper.  “The average American has been replaced by a complex, multidimensional society that defies simplistic labeling.” And probably simplistic messaging, too.

So what does this mean for marketers?  It means that targeted messaging is more important than ever.  Traditional media will no longer be enough if brands want to connect with consumers in a meaningful way.  This is nothing new.  However, it’s important to keep in mind that as American demographics become increasingly diverse, Americans’ online behaviors are becoming increasingly analogous.  This digital lifestyle conversion will grow to be the new majority.  “The internet pervades all aspects of Americans’ lives, from how we shop and buy, how we communicate, how we entertain ourselves, and how we seek out information to how we manage our personal relationships,” says Forrester Research Principal Analyst Charles S. Golvin.

The Numbers:

  • 44% of US households have a laptop, and the average American family owns two personal computers
  • Consumers under the age of 40 spend almost 2 hours a week more with new media than they do with traditional media
  • 4 in 5 US households now have a mobile phone; families with older children have nearly 3 mobile phones per household
  • 8% of consumers own a Smartphone

Brands can no longer reach the majority of consumers with general messaging and traditional media.  Consumer mindsets and needs are becoming more disparate, while consumers’ preferences are trending towards a holistic digital existence that integrates an array of devices.  And while we may not be able to talk to everyone with one message, this technology shift does allow us to talk to consumers in a more targeted way with many different approaches.  As consumers use the internet (social networks, communities, RSS feeds, etc.) to faction themselves, brands are able to communicate with the right audience, in the right place, in the right way.

So while we may be losing “Joe Consumer,” we are gaining the opportunity to target and segment consumers on a more personal level, forging relationships that will carry us through the generation of digital marketing.

Image Source: denn


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