Archive for the ‘data segmentation’ Tag

The Average American   2 comments

The average American is dead. I read a story in Deliver Magazine (Feb. 2011) discussing how there is no longer an “Average American”. The 2010 US Census data will show this more clearly than ever.  In several cities and states, no race or ethnicity is a majority of the population anymore. Twenty-five years ago, two-thirds of all households were married couples. Now, married couples will be a minority in the US. And married couples with children will be fewer than 21% of households—only 1 in 5.

What does this mean to you? It means you can no longer define your target audience as “average”. It is diverse, in both age, ethnicity, income, household composition and more.  It means your best marketing strategy is to understand, clearly, the diversity of your audience.  Analysis, research, surveys, segmentation and targeting will be more important than ever for successful marketing campaigns. Direct mail allows you to use this information combined with new technology like variable data printing to customize your marketing—even down to the household level. One targeted home may receive a message based on a high income level while another may receive a separate message or offer based on their lower income. Other marketing avenues don’t give you the same ability to target and customize like this.

Demographer Peter Francese shared this observation, “If you have a product or service that you think would be valuable to single people, I can’t think of a better way to reach them than through the mail. If they live alone there’s obviously nobody else who’s going to open the mail except for the, so you reach them directly.” This kind of thinking can make your marketing more powerful to the “Not-So-Average American”.


Posted May 9, 2011 by Dee Dern in Database Analysis, Direct Mail

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Are you creating a human connection?   Leave a comment

My office is in my home. Tucked in the corner of the basement with a small window and warm caramel walls.  I have worked from home for more than 9 years. It works for me on nearly every level.

There are, however, negatives to working from home. The biggest hole in the “work from home” life is the lack of social interaction. I miss my colleagues. I miss those coffee breaks and the “let’s go get lunch” invitations. In order to combat my hermit-like work life, I schedule “dates” with friends, colleagues, other small business owners, vendors and clients for coffee or lunch. These “appointments” have partially filled that space for me.

People can very easily feel isolated in our crazy, technology-filled lives. Now more than ever, your job as a marketer is to create a human connection with your customers. Targeted direct mail or emal marketing are reliable, cost-effective, trackable way to create a loyal bond with your customers.

For direct mail: Variable printing, finely targeted mailing lists and data management are powerful tools to make this happen.  Targeting your marketing message to your prospects’ and customers’ lifestyle or behavioral traits with variable data printing can be just like tailoring your conversation to the person across the table. These direct mail tools empower you to use information (your own, or purchased) to target your marketing message. Personalized, targeted eblast campaigns also do the trick. Sending a gift of dark Belgian chocolate to your best customer because you know she likes it can create a bond that could last a lifetime.  Don’t waste the information that’s available to you. Use it to create those human connections.

Birds of a feather   Leave a comment

Recently I saw an ad on TV with the initial message being “I am not a demographic.” As a marketing demographer, I was a little bothered by this.

Our vanity leads us to believe that we are very different from those around us. Smarter, more talented, wealthier, etc. We all feel that we are individuals and that we don’t behave like those around us. However, our nature draws us to forge relationships with others who share our interests. It’s really quite natural—we just have a hard time believing that we are anything like our neighbors.

Reality tells a different story. We do share commonalities with our neighbors. Take a look around your block (or cul-de-sac, or condo complex). Do you see mostly mini-vans and SUVs or do you see smaller sedans in driveways and parking spaces? Are there a lot of hybrids? Are there trucks or luxury imports? What about shopping? What about the value of your home? Is it comparable to those around you? How do your neighbors spend their weekends? Watching sporting events? Golfing, skiing, gardening, working?

I am a proud advocate and believer in lifestyle segmentation—in particular, PRIZMTM—and believe that when segmentation is understood and used properly, it can be a very powerful marketing tool. The thousands of pieces of data used to create lifestyle segments validate that “Birds of a feather flock together” theory. Keep in mind, everyone in a segment doesn’t every piece criteria used, but they do share many of the activities and characteristics with others in the group.

As marketers, we have the ability to use segmentation to target our campaigns to households that are likely to perform well for our product or service: helping us reduce waste and costs. Think about it, maybe you’re not like your neighbors, but aren’t they all alike?

For more information on PRIZM and lifestyle segmentation, visit

Posted September 7, 2010 by Dee Dern in Database Analysis

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