In with the inbound and out with the outbound in marketing. Blogs, e-newsletters, social media sites, and eBooks have taken over marketing, replacing cold calling, radio ads, and sales flyers with digitally devised methods. One result of this switch up in marketing is for SMBs who are interested in reaching their target audience. Through inbound marketing, reaching the right customer base involves researching your typical consumer. While profiling for police officers is frowned upon, profiling for SMBs is expected for marketing efforts. The following data sources give you the resources needed for creating a well rounded profile of a representative customer for your business. You’ll be one step closer to having a marketing plan; next up, it’s time to hire a professional writer to polish the draft.
Gain up to date and comprehensive demographic information in the form of quantitative data thanks to the US Census. Data compiled by the US Census Bureau includes:
- Government census
- Economic census
- American Community Survey
- Population and housing census
- Additional economical and demographic surveys
While we think of the Census as being something that is recorded every 10 years, some of the surveys are conducted annually, such as the American Community Survey, or every 5 years as with the government census. If you are looking for base level demographic data in quantitative form, such as age, gender, race, education, occupation or income, the US Census is where you should begin with your research.
For qualitative data that involves emotions, cultural norms and intellectually based information, consult VALS by Strategic Business Insights. VALS include eight mindsets of individuals as they relate to consumer behavior, such as by demographic or psychological determinants. Individuals are ranked according to resources and primary motivation for designation as:
Marketing researchers use VALS to determine the different levels of self-expression, achievement and ideals within a community, city, neighborhood, state or country. Aspects noted in the data include personality traits, moral stance, lifestyle and psychological attributes.
For information regarding a neighborhood, city, country or other geographical area, the primary place to get useful and accurate data is Nielson MyBestSegments. This website offers data regarding statistics, both qualitative and quantitative, of individuals as determined geographically. For instance, you can search for your city by zip code to find quick facts about the demographic, along with bar graphs, pie charts and lists of statistics including housing, income and race. However, the real fun can be found on the left side of the page where you’ll discover easy to access lists of the most common characteristics of those surveyed.
For example, researching the characteristics of my small town in South Dakota, I learned that I live among 58 Back Country Folks, 33 Big Sky Families, and 55 Golden Ponds. Further reading of these categories shows details including lifestyle, media and demographic traits. For Back Country Folks, for example, they are more likely to read VFW Magazine, drive a Chevy Colorado and shop at Tractor Supply Company. Such fine details could really amp up the reach of a marketing plan, not to mention help to focus your marketing efforts to a more custom fitted demographic.
Miranda B is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.