Target Demographics: Traditional vs. New Stats

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "The $100 Startup" by Chris Guillebeau. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

Like this article? Sign up for a free trial here.

What are target demographics? What is the difference between traditional and new demographics?

Target demographics are basically segments of the population that you aim to target with the products/services you sell. There are two kinds of target demographics: traditional demographics (age, sex, income, race, and location) and new demographics (beliefs, skills, interests, and values).

Keep reading to learn about the two types of target demographics and some tips on how to create products based on your target market.

Traditional vs New Target Demographics

As you create your product, determine who you’re trying to sell to. To do this, break your ideal customers down into two target demographics: traditional and new demographics.

  • Traditional demographics include age, sex/gender, income, race/ethnicity, and location.
  • New demographics include beliefs, skills, interests, passions, and values.

Traditional target demographics still have a place for some small businesses, especially those with storefronts. It’s often helpful to know the traditional demographics of the area around your storefront because you want to make sure your product or service can thrive in the region. For example, if you know that you cater mostly to women in their 50s, you wouldn’t want to open in a storefront in an area with a younger population.

However, traditional demographics can be rather vague. For example, catering to “middle-class, 20-to-25-year-old men” could mean a variety of things, since men in this group may have diverse interests and preferences. Are they young professionals? Gamers? Athletes? Traditional demographics don’t answer these questions. 

On the other hand, new demographics help businesses shape their product based around the wants and desires of their customers. For example, if you ran a clothing boutique, you could use new demographics to decide that you want to cater to young women in the workforce who are interested in climbing to the top of the corporate ladder. With this knowledge, you could shape your product and marketing by creating stylish, but professional attire that appeals to your target market.

Tips to Create Products Based Around Your Target Audience

When building products around your target audience, consider the following tips:

Tip One: Jump onto a popular trend that appeals to your target audience. When deciding what you want to sell, look at trends that are popular with your target demographics. These often pop up in the areas of dieting, fitness, technology, social media, and entertainment. For example, you could coach people interested in fitness through a trendy diet plan such as Whole30 or Paleo by giving personalized meal plans and grocery lists.

Tip Two: Ask your audience. Using surveys and interviews, ask people within your target demographic what they’re looking for in a product—for instance, the issue that they’d like the product to solve. One of the most straightforward ways to get people interested in your business is to sell them a product they already want. When creating your questionnaires, include questions such as:

  • What makes ________ a struggle?
  • What’s your biggest question or concern about ________? 
  • How can I help you with ________?

Once you have an idea about the products you’re looking to offer, reach out and ask for feedback on your ideas. You could ask people to rate your product ideas based on what they’d find most helpful or if they could see themselves buying any of the products in the near future.

Note: Be careful about over-involving the customer in product design. While asking for feedback on fleshed-out ideas is helpful, asking customers to do too much work can cause stress or overwhelm them. 

For example, if you order a steak at a restaurant, the waiter will probably ask how you’d like the steak done. Your opinion helps shape the preparation of the food and doesn’t require too much work on your end. However, if the chef came to your table and asked you to come back to the kitchen to help with the process, you may feel stressed or frustrated.

Target Demographics: Traditional vs. New Stats

———End of Preview———

Like what you just read? Read the rest of the world's best book summary and analysis of Chris Guillebeau's "The $100 Startup" at Shortform.

Here's what you'll find in our full The $100 Startup summary:

  • How to start a microbusiness
  • How to start a business without needing to borrow any money
  • The 6 simple steps you need to follow to launch your business

darya

Darya’s love for reading started with fantasy novels (The LOTR trilogy is still her all-time-favorite). Growing up, however, she found herself transitioning to non-fiction, psychological, and self-help books. She has a degree in Psychology and a deep passion for the subject. She likes reading research-informed books that distill the workings of the human brain/mind/consciousness and thinking of ways to apply the insights to her own life. Some of her favorites include Thinking, Fast and Slow, How We Decide, and The Wisdom of the Enneagram.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *