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July 19, 2017

Understanding your audience

One of the first ports of call for any enterprise starting on the road to uncover their brand is to gain a thorough understanding of their target customers. Understanding your target customers is a critical step in determining your brand relationships and the conversations you have. Realistically, if you don’t know who you’re talking to it’s pretty hard sometimes knowing what to say.

‘Branding aside, understanding your target customers is also one of the most important points in any business plan as it helps to determine the right fit for your products or service.”

A great, and obvious, place to start in discovering your audience demographic is to gain an understanding of the generations and their lifestyles over the past 100 years or so. There are often many subsets to every target audience and the categories and boundaries of these and the generations continually blur and change, but it is still a great place to start and will help in gaining a basic understanding which can be further distilled down through more precise analytics.

Gen I

Also tagged as Gen Z, Alpha, the internet generation or iGen they’re the offspring of the youngest boomers. As this generation are still quite young theories and demographics for them are still under construction. What we do know is that this is the first generation born entirely into the internet era, and to parents who have already accepted and are immersed in technology. It is projected that Gen I will be the most formally educated with one in every two gaining a university degree.

Gen Y

Also known as Echo Boomer and Millennials they are the children of the Boomers, born around 1980-2000. Having grown up with computers this generation can be very responsive to internet campaigns, they process, mark and tag information quickly and can be especially loyal to brands and labels. They like things that are a bit quirky or left of centre and appreciate marketing that is innovative and humourous. Because of high costs of living they can often be found living at home or if not, still have parental support so usually have disposable income.

Gen X

Born between the early 60’s to the early 80’s, we also like to refer to them as ‘Friends’ (not our actual friends but the TV show Friends). An extremely large generation with many subcultures they are tech-smart, love to shop and can often be found sipping coffee and reading self-help books. They are now entering their peak earning and buying years but also like to save. Generally cynical, brands alone won’t sway this generation, they also need to know your product or service is good quality and value.

Boomers

Born after World War II and named basically because of the boom in births that occurred up until the 60’s. They are a massive generation in numbers and are now at many life stages: empty or full nesters, boomer grandparents, single, married, divorced etc. They are idealistic, driven and uncynical and the first generation who travelled on mass abroad for holidays and not to fight in a war. They evaluate advertising easily to determine its value and although are ageing still love life so youthfulness in marketing campaigns can be useful.

The Greatest Generation

A more American term (all of the early ones are really) this is the generation that grew up through the Great Depression, World War II and many great economic hardships. They were born between 1909-1945. They have obviously seen it all, over and over, when it comes to advertising so are a very smart consumer segment. They are the most careful and considering generation who want to know more about a business before they connect and buy. Just because they’re the oldest generation doesn’t mean they don’t use the internet though, usually with loads of grandchildren to buy presents for they are large contributors in the online shopping juggernaut. As they usually have pensions to rely on promoting the value in your products or services can be beneficial and as they are practical can be very loyal customers.

If your business audience is generation specific it will obviously be important to find out much more information than the above to help you in your brand, marketing or product development. Further research can then build on this through understanding areas such as target subcultures, location, income and purchasing power, family status and work and leisure activities.

Like to know more? General but detailed information is freely available from Census on population and housing from the Australian Bureau of Statistics http://www.abs.gov.au/census. Other than that, a little thing called the internet may be of use.

Trent Siddharta
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