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How to Use Demographic Targeting

September 30, 2013

How to Use Demographic Targeting

Let me begin by stating that my purpose in writing this post is not to convince you why you should use demographic targeting in your direct mail campaigns—its effectiveness is a firmly established and well-documented fact—but how you should use it. For the following example, we’re going to assume you’re a B-to-C company.

First, you need to have a clear understanding of your product or service and its potential benefit to a particular segment or segments of society. Note that I said “potential benefit” because, if it’s a new product or service, it’s difficult to estimate what actual benefit (if any) it will have to anyone until you get enough feedback from real customers. Focus groups and test subjects (guinea pigs, such as friends and family) can be very useful in getting at least a rough idea of how it’s going to appeal to a larger group. Take notes, LOTS of notes, about what aspects of your offering appeal to people of different ages, income levels, cultures, genders, political leanings, hairstyles, etc.

Second, assuming you’ve already focus-grouped and test-subjected the heck out of your product or service, you’re ready to launch it upon the unsuspecting public, e.g. your potential customers, via direct mail, email, or a combination of both. You’re going to need a list partner with a well-maintained and updated database of at least 100 million consumer mailing and email addresses, plus dozens of demographic filters so you can narrow your list down to only those consumers who are likely to need your product or service.

Third, for the direct mail part, you’re going to need an on-demand print partner with the flexibility, quality and speed to get the word out and make a great first impression. I’m going to mention flexibility again because you need the ability to tweak your demographic selections and adjust the creative content of your mailers on-the-fly as you send out multiple touches over the course of your campaign. Mail, collect feedback, adjust, repeat.

Of course, you could skip all that searching around and coordinating those separate list, print and mail providers and go with a one-stop-shop like, oh I don’t know… QuantumDigital or something (ahem). We even have a tool called MapMail® that gives you lots of demographic filters to choose from and even lets you draw your preferred mailing area on a map, showing only those addresses that match your demographic selections. How cool is that?

But it’s your call, so make it a good one and happy demographic-ing!