Past generations are pulling marketers in several directions. You have your Generation X, Millennials, Gen Y, and others, raised in different times, in different ways. But the best way to narrow down your target audience and gain the consumer respect, and business, you’re after is on an emotional level.

That’s why there’s a shift in the way marketers are reaching out. Those pioneering the way for successful marketing strategies everywhere have learned- demographic targeting is on the outs, and behavioral marketing is where the future is.

These are the top 5 reasons behavioral targeting supersedes demographic targeting:  

  1. Census data is black and white. It blankly reports facts such as age, race, population, income yet does little to target people as individuals or even tell a story. Consumers don’t fall into one category. Each person has different motivations, goals, and characteristics. Learning what a person needs will turn a browser into a customer.
  2. Your preconceived notions about a specific demographic may be wrong. For instance, one may think millennials spend more time on social media as their generation grew up in a digital world, but according to Nielsen data, Generation X spends upwards of 7 hours per week online! Millennials, on the other hand, spend less than 6 hours a week plugged in. In cases like this, a business may focus its time targeting the wrong demographic due to this misconception.
  3. Ad blockers are on the rise. It is more difficult to gain the attention of consumers. You can’t advertise the same way you used to as apps now allow them to shut you down. And this doesn’t just pertain to social media. Even traditional television is changing. You can purchase apps such as Hulu or watch TV On Demand, commercial free! You must figure out a different way to get back into their heads. What do your consumers need? How can you help solve their problems and make their lives easier?
  4. Market emotions, not products. Some companies try to sell by listing off a crazy amount of details about their merchandise yet there is no heart behind it. Consumers are most likely willing to purchase a product they can relate to, not necessarily the features it offers. An excellent example of this mindset is a commercial released by Budweiser which promotes the “don’t drink and drive” campaign. Of course, they used a dog in the video as humans emotionally connect with their pets. Sure, you know it’s a Budweiser advertisement. However, it’s spot on behavioral targeting.
  5. Market with a unified budget. Targeting separate demographics can cost your company a lot of unnecessary money- especially if you reconsider number 2 in this list. If you think of your consumers as a consolidated group in which you can reach on an emotional level, you can narrow down your strategy, and budget.


Times are changing, and traditional demographics offer little when it comes to connecting with people and their behavioral patterns. It’s time for businesses to understand what the consumer feels, how you can help make their lives more comfortable, and how your product relates to their needs. Break away from the herd and join the dynamic team of marketers such as those of us at Garlic Media Group, who are changing with the times.


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