Ray worked with B-2-B and Consumer clients throughout the world ... including USA, Canada, Mexico, Asia, the South Pacific, Europe, the Middle-East, Central & South America, Africa.

This website is a compilation of Ray's 10 years on the Web.

 

Power Direct Marketing: The Book


Demographics—The Who Factor

First is demographics. Who are these people you want to reach? For business there are many different parts to demographics. As mentioned earlier, you talk to individuals, even when selling business-to-business. Real, live down-to-earth people.

Most of these individuals have a title of some sort that helps you understand their job description. A title is important because it begins to provide you with some information about your audience. It helps with classification of your prospects.

In some instances a title is as important as a name (almost, but having the correct name is always best) because a name may not be available. Or with changes, promotions, and the like, keeping up with a name for prospecting purposes is often not worth the time, effort, or expense.

Titles come lots of ways. They could be exactly as the industry you’re reaching defines them. They could be a series of titles that cross a number of industries. They could be "descriptive" titles.

Here are some possible titles within certain groups:

Group Title

  • Large company: Vice President
  • Branch office, midsize company: General Manager
  • Secondary school: Superintendent
  • Local government: Administrative Manager
  • Church: Pastor
  • Mall retailer: Owner or Manager

Descriptive titles work because you direct your message by function, by responsibility, with little chance for error. A descriptive title such as:

  • To the person in charge of shipping to and from Puerto Rico
  • To the executive in charge of buying trucks
  • To the person in charge of the photocopy machine

will help you reach the right audience.

This type of direction almost assures that your direct mail will get to someone with responsibility.

If you telephone a company and ask a question using one of these descriptions, you’ll be routed to someone who can answer your question. Your direct marketing campaign can work the same charm. Get to the person you want to get to.

Demographics for business include a lot more as well. As mentioned earlier under profiling your customer base, such things as Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) codes can be important. What are SIC codes? They are a system for identifying different types of business. The broad groups are these:

  • Agriculture Manufacturers Retailers
  • Forestry Transportation Finance
  • Fishing Communications Insurance
  • Construction Wholesalers Business Services
  • Professional Services Government Offices

Within each of these groupings, selection is available in many ways, including these:

  • sales dollar volume financial standing
  • net worth years in business
  • number of offices headquarters or branches
  • number of employees geography
  • and many more.

You can select by city size if that is important. By those that do Yellow Page advertising versus those who do not. Which titles within which departments of the same company give you the best chance at an appointment or order. And dozens of combinations of these and other factors.

Hitting Business Decision Makers

Business marketing has more decision makers than consumer offers. For business you could be talking to a half-dozen or more people before a major buying decision is made.

These are the people you need to reach with your message if you are to be successful. Sometimes the same person wears several hats—particularly in a smaller company. And sometimes in larger firms there is a committee which "sits."

At times many different people in the same department of the same company need to get your message. Sometimes similar titles in different divisions.

It might be best to send different messages to the CEO, CFO, general manager, purchasing agent, group supervisor. Different messages—same offer. Playing in each message to the needs of that person’s responsibilities.

In almost every instance in business-to-business, multiple contacts will be necessary. Not a one shot advertisement in a specific trade journal or one piece of direct mail, but many messages to many people. That’s what works best—once you’ve clearly defined your target audience.

Consumer Demographics

Demographics for the consumer are not nearly as complex, yet there are many options. In the profile section of this chapter we mentioned a number of these traits. The Census Bureau has "averages" by census tract and zip code (also finer cuts in some instances and larger groupings as well). Approximately 150 census characteristics are available to select from.

Here are some:

  • income by household ethnic background
  • profession or occupation religious background
  • head of household new movers
  • retired age
  • vehicle owner’s sex
    (including motor homes, owned or rented, motorcycles, trucks, and cars)

Larger consumer lists are usually compiled with a combination of data—from automobile registrations, telephone listing, census tract information, and more. One national firm uses 19 sources, merging over 325 million records annually, to come up with one list of households.

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The chart shows the influence of demographics on a product. In this example five characteristics were deemed important. It is quickly obvious only 3 are extremely important:

  • Sex. Females are buyers more than 2/1 over males.
  • Marital status. Married people are buyers more than 3/1 over single people.
  • Race. Caucasians are buyers by 3/1 over all other races combined.

Age and household income are important, but in these two categories the spread is much more even than for the other elements.

Many other factors can also be important, such as media buying areas, which have changed greatly in recent years with the great influence of cable and satellites. Newspaper distribution networks can also be important in audience selection. Larger city papers that cover a state or larger region certainly have a different impact than smaller weeklies.

There are also "belts": economic belts, farm belts, the Bible belt, and the sun belt (with its "snowbirds," people who live in the upper midwest, colder climates during the summer but flee the cold and head to the desert southwest for the winter months).

Sure, belts could be classified under geography. Because they represent a series of characteristics of a group of people who just happen to be in an area. I elect to place them with demographics, because we’re talking about people.

Generally, success in audience selection for consumer and business comes from a combination of types and sources of lists. It is unlikely there is any single, best source for all your possible needs that will give equal performance. You need to select, test, and use a variety until you find the right combination that works best for you. And suits your sales requirements.


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