I’ve been in advertising/marketing for about 20 years now and I’ve sat in more meetings or had more phone calls with clients and potential clients who would rather I ask them what the average amount of rainfall in September in Aruba is then ask them who their customer is, what they look like, how often they use their product, service or ware?

Here’s a response I once received from a potential client…

“I think they’re mostly women between the ages of 35-65, have two and a half kids with a household income of somewhere between $35K and $100K.”

The operative word should be jumping off your screen right now… Think.

Anytime you hear the word “think” you know you’re in trouble. Feel to replace the word “think” with “I’m guessing” or “I’ll take a stab at it.”

Same thing… all means they (the client) haven’t the faintest idea who their customer and/or potential customer is…

And you have to love “two and a half kids.” That’s one of my personal favorites. “You know Jimmy and Lisa are great kids but that damn half kid Billy is a pain in the a…”

What the hell is a half a kid?!?!

You can also to get the same nondescript answer if you ask “How often does your typical customer use your product, service, ware, etc?”

It will obviously depend on said product, service or ware but in the right context, is it…

Once a week? Month? Year? Millennium? What?!?!

One of my fave bloggers, The Ad Contrarian, had a great post about this very topic…

In his post, he makes reference to the fact that “Advertising messages should be created for, and directed at, the heavy-using, high-yield customers in your category.”

He also makes reference to an Ad Age article: “Purchase Habits Trump Demographics in TV Buys.”

Demographics have almost no effect on whether TV ads produce sales, and consumers’ purchase history is the most reliable predictor of success, according to research from TRA, which has been pairing data from set-top TV boxes…since 2008.

The gender and age of viewers has little correlation with the way those viewers respond to ads, TRA President Bill Harvey said..

“TV’s major sales effect tends to be among people who are heavy purchasers in your categories…”

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “This only speaks to TV. Demographics still plays a role in the other mediums, right?”


Well, sort of…

Let’s say you have 1,000 customers in your database. Many people would create a demographic profile using all 1,000 people, right?

But why use ALL 1,000 if only a certain amount are the aforementioned heavy-users, the ones you KNOW are more likely to buy. Why include someone who buys once a month with someone who buys once a day? Demographic Profile results would be somewhat skewed, would they not?

Identify your heavy-users and create your profile off of THAT list.

Just remember… he/she ain’t heavy… they’re your customers. Your BEST customers.

BTW the average amount of rainfall in September in Aruba is 67mm. But you already knew that, right?