Demographics is the study of the traits of different groups for the purpose of targeting marketing messages. Demographic groups include people of different races, political beliefs or age groups. A thorough understanding of customer demographics is essential to successful marketing efforts, because no product will appeal to everyone. If you have a clear idea of the type of person most likely to use your products and services, then you can tailor your marketing message, as well as your marketing medium, to appeal to precisely that type of customer.

Identifying Target Demographics

Marketing campaigns that appeal to specific demographics start by identifying a target market. Your product may be specifically designed with a particular demographic in mind, or you may learn from trial and error that it holds special appeal for a clearly defined age or ethnic group. Whether your product's demographic appeal is intentional or accidental, gathering detailed information about who is buying your products will help you to attract similar customers in the future; customers who will likely purchase your offerings for many of the same reasons.

Crafting Your Message

Different demographic groups respond to different types of messages. If your product appeals to a specific cultural or ethnic group, it is important to work with people who are familiar with the assumptions, language and preferences of that group. Avoid social and cultural stereotypes, and pay close attention to body language and idiomatic language quirks in order to prevent unwitting insults, missteps or mistranslations. Being sensitive and knowledgeable about your target demographic enables you to craft an effective and appealing marketing message.

Using Appropriate Media

Developing a marketing plan that appeals to your core demographic enables you to spend your marketing budget most effectively, purchasing advertising through the types of media that your target market uses. Teens and young adults get most of their information online, so Internet advertising is a smart way to reach them. If you offer a product that appeals to an intellectual audience, you are more likely to reach them by sponsoring public radio than by advertising on a pop music station.


Although using demographics to focus your marketing efforts offers the advantage of understanding and appealing to your target customers, demographic marketing has limitations. If you sell a product with a potentially broad appeal but limit your marketing message to attract a single demographic, you may alienate other potential customers. A car company that uses rap music to sell cars to young adults may risk losing the business of older customers who stereotype rap music as violent and angry.