A demographic profile is a business tool that identifies several characteristics when companies attempt to define a market segment. Common characteristics in the profile include age, sex, income, household size and education. Other more specific items in the demographic profile may seek information on a consumer’s purchasing habits. These questions try to identify how often a consumer purchases a type of product. The data gleaned from the profile allows the business to tailor future marketing or product campaigns to a certain group of individuals.
Companies can gather demographic information several different ways. Large groups of demographic profile information are often available in government reports. Federal agencies, states or cities often create profiles for specific geographic regions or municipalities. While the information provides a good overview, it is often too broad for business use. A common way to gather more specific demographic information is using a survey or other marketing tool to gather consumer data.
Demographic surveys often include a variety of questions that relate to a company’s marketing goal. The surveys are either sent through the mail or are an electronic form a consumer can fill out via the Internet. With ever-advancing technology, electronic surveys are becoming the norm. Companies may send the survey via email or attach a short survey to the electronic shopping cart on the company’s website. The use of these demographic profile tools allow a company to gather data from individuals already associated with their products.
Broadcasting groups are another set of companies that make heavy use of a demographic profile. These businesses look for information on the age and breadth of individuals watching or listening to various programs. The profile data gathered here typically comes from electronic means, with a data profile filled out by individuals allowing their watching or listening habits tracked. A large goal for the demographic profile here is to appeal advertising spots to various businesses. Commercials during popular shows allow a broadcaster to increase income and reach for specific shows.
A demographic profile is by no means an accurate or end-all piece of information from a marketing standpoint. Companies must be sure to ask the right questions first in order to identify the specifics that matter most to the business. Response rate is another issue a company can face with these profiles. A low sample from a large population may not be indicative of the overall group within a region. Making major decisions from limited information can mean trouble if the information gleaned is inaccurate regarding consumer product use.