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The 2010 Census is telling us that the average Joe consumer is on his way out and we should brace ourselves for the new age. According to Ad Age, “the average American has been replaced by a complex, multidimensional society that defies simplistic labeling.” It’s been a nice run average Joe, we’ll miss you…or will we? Perhaps this means we are entering into a new time where lazy marketing will no longer survive and brands that thrive will be the ones that really understand segmentation. All the talk of traditional advertising being in trouble makes even more sense considering the “mass market” is slowly breaking up into many unique pieces—the type of market that requires segmented, non-traditional marketing that attempts to make a personalized connection.
Ad Age also warns us that there are no more single or select demographics that define the nation—what Ad Age is saying is there is no such thing as “The American Consumer.” The Census report should be used as a guideline to re-evaluate the marketing mixes as well as to truly think about segmentation. The Census Bureau will begin releasing data in spring of 2011, but until then they did leave us with three key observations.
Nuclear Family No More: The report states that no household type precisely describes even one-third of households. This means that US households are growing more complex, varied, and not susceptible to one cookie-cutter message. The Census is giving Americans 14 choices to define their type of household.
Minorities Are The New Majority: I think this is no longer news to most. The 2010 census projects 80% of people 65-plus will be white non-Hispanics, while just 54% of children under 18 will be white non-Hispanics.
A Nation on the Move: About 3 million have left the Northeast and 2 million have left the Midwest for the South and the West. This geographic shift will be sure to witness new trends.
As the Average American Consumer is on his way out, brands need to think about how they are reaching the individual demographics they consider to be their target market. As far as actual proof that marketers will have need to rely on more targeted, precise, and smaller messaging efforts, the Census will deliver that. Until then, happy segmenting.