Demographic Specific Marketing

Demographic Specific Marketing


While we agree with and embrace PMA’s Jennifer concept, introduced at last year’s show, and believe the Gen X mom is indeed a vital demographic for photo retailers to speak and market to, we’ve been even more fascinated with this micro-marketing concept that is emerging in retail today.

Factors such as immigration, aging Boomers along with a host of other demographic shifts happening in the U.S. today have been shaping and reshaping the retail landscape the last few years. We think retailers who set their sights on establishing effective ways to micro-merchandise and micro-market will be the big winners in the years ahead. Running with the herd and trying to speak to “all” with one common message is a dead end and those that stick with that strategy will undoubtedly find themselves on the outside looking in.

Proof of this is easy to find, just look around. Wal-Mart’s recent decision to divvy up its approximately 3,400 U.S. stores into six different models, targeted to corresponding demographic groups is extremely tell tale – as moves by Wal-Mart often are. The retail giant is experimenting with tailoring certain stores to specific groups, using these six demographics as starting points for the project: African-Americans, the affluent, empty-nesters, Hispanics, suburbanites and rural residents. The plan was originally drawn up in an attempt to perk up sluggish same-store sales by breaking the one-store-fits-all mold. The idea clearly represents a radical departure for the world’s largest retailer, which, it’s interesting to note, actually built its retail strength on a foundation of standardization.

There is also the recent news that Sony opened a pop-up store and corresponding Web site as part of a major Hispanic marketing initiative. The store, named Sony Para Tu País (Sony For Your Country), is located in Montebello Town Center, Montebello, Calif. Bilingual sales reps educated consumers about the products and guided them through the purchase process. Consumers were then able to place orders on one of the store’s 10 phone banks that connected via a toll-free number to Mexico. The supporting Web site,, is available to consumers nationwide to make purchases for delivery in Mexico. Sony tells us if the store is successful, the company will look into opening others like it across the country for delivery to additional Latin American countries.

When it comes to marketing to consumers today, the one size fits all mentality is a thing of the past. Time was, retailers mainly concerned themselves with the obvious differences between male and female shoppers. Today it’s more about how Millennials differ from Gen Xers – or how Boomers have emerged as the most lucrative demographic – or perhaps how your brick-and-mortar customers are so different from your online shoppers.

Even within the PMA-defined Jennifer demographic there are women who enjoy traditional scrapbooking versus those that prefer making their books digitally. You’ll find Jennifers who still love their 4×6’s and those that want to turn their images into unique photo gifts. And they’ll be those that enjoy their time spent at photo kiosks versus those that want someone else to do all the work. They all need to hear a very specific message.

Simply stated, gone are the days when you can assume anything. Maybe we’ve always lived in a world where everyone wanted to have their cake and eat it too. The difference today is, no one knew there were that many different kinds of cake out there.