It Doesn't Have to be Pink: Using More Than Just Gender to Define Your Target Market

It Doesn't Have to be Pink: Using More Than Just Gender to Define Your Target Market

By utilizing only demographic research you are only seeing part of the picture when understanding your target market.

Demographics are an important tool for marketing. However, in making generalizations, it does not take into account an individual’s personality, values, attitudes, and interests. The raw data outlines the target market too simplistically. I’m sure it comes as no surprise that the modern day consumer is actually more complicated and opinionated.

Using only demographic research gives you a distorted view of the target market. It indicates that if you, as a consumer, fall into a specific demographic, you are predictable and therefore will respond to certain images or messages. Companies who decide to manufacture a pink version of their biggest selling product will probably offend as many women as it attracts and most likely not make a profit. Social media and digital marketing are dismantling the stereotypes that we see in advertising, as people demonstrate their interests through their posts and comments, rather than by what is targeted to them.

Using Psychographics in Audience Analysis

Demographics are vital and social characteristics such as age, sex, education history, and income level. While demographics can be useful information, they no longer tell the whole story. Marketers should look past simple male/female differences and young/old distinctions. Psychographics is the study of personality, values, attitudes, opinions, and interests, and unfortunately has been underused in understanding consumers.

Social media is changing this and demographics mean even less than they did before. The monitoring of online activity means that readers and marketers alike are following what you do, what you value, and what interests you instead of your age or gender. This is where big data comes in. Using psychographic and purchase patterns and trends, marketers can analyze the vast amount of information available on the digital networks.

For the consumer, they no longer have to rely on what marketers tell them they should be liking. Instead, the digital marketplace means that they are able to congregate based on psychographics and become a more empowered consumer. They are able to quickly compare services and products that they are more interested in and find reviews and recommendations that are not limited to their immediate friends and family.

A Gender Neutral Marketing Strategy

People don’t necessarily aggregate online based on demographics, they aggregate based on interest and values, regardless of gender or age or even income level. The consumer’s tastes and interests are now being respected and listened to rather than assumed.

For a marketer, shared interests and values are more valuable than whether you are male or female. They should be more interested in whether you like football rather than if you are male or if you are interested in child-rearing rather than if you are female. This change stops assuming that certain people will like certain things based on simple demographics like gender or age.

Consider a powerful female executive who is an excellent cook, loves pampering herself, but also is in charge of home maintenance. Marketing a pink tool kit is lazy and misinformed. Brand marketers who think females will only be attracted to color/design over functionality are making assumptions about how gender influences consumer behavior.

Under Armour is an athletic company that is having massive growth. Those results, are largely a result of how they have changed their marketing strategy toward women. Their “I Will What I Want” women’s campaign is a huge progression from the early “shrink it and pink it” days and focuses on the physical and mental strength to tune out external pressures and chart their own course.

Times and cultures have changed toward a more gender-neutral marketplace. Individuals prefer to be treated as the individuals they are with different interests, attitudes, and values, rather than who a marketer or top executive thinks they are. The businesses that target their marketing in this manner have a better understanding and relationship with their customers. They will also make their brand more relatable to a larger proportion of people, both men and women.

If you would like FrogDog to do a complete audience analysis for your business to determine what your target audience is interested in not whether they’re male or female, contact us today to get started.

Image courtesy of sscreations/

Posted: Aug 06, 2015
Updated: Oct 09, 2019
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