This is the science of slicing people – well – groups of people, into segments that can be isolated, measured, tracked, tested and solicited to. This sounds like a cold way to look at humanity. The good news in this is that you don’t need to feel manipulative to simply ensure that the people who want to buy your offerings receive your message in the most effective way possible. Customers consume your services and products for different reasons. They cover the entire range of human experience, from critical needs such as food and shelter, to wants such as comfort and entertainment, to aspirations such as enriching experiences and enlightenment.

An interesting place to start pondering where you can fit into this spectrum is by fitting what your organization delivers into Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. I wouldn’t expect that your offerings would be able to be represented in each of the levels of the hierarchy but it certainly can shine some light on what motivates your customers to use your services or products.

Moving into a more practical mode, the major thrust of working with your demographics is to take a good hard look at where people are coming from, their ages, their education, home ownership, marital status, income, zip code, commuting habits, shopping patterns, etc. There are easily hundreds of different characteristics that you could use to categorize people with. The more specific you can be with those categories, the better chance you have of understanding who you are dealing with and what makes them do what they do, at least as far as it interests you.

Once you define your demographic slices, the next challenge is to define the message that you push out to them. This is not to say your core message changes per audience – there is solid logic behind exposing different parts of your identity to different groups. The multiple facets of the message effectively add dimension and depth to your identity. When done right, with high-level oversight to ensure that all of the pieces come together to form a consolidated whole, this approaches builds a stronger, more robust brand that is authentic solely to your organization. And authenticity is a touchstone of long-lived branding that can be applied to all demographics.