Marketers love labels. After all, labeling helps us focus our promotions. Since we know for a fact certain demographics are drawn to certain products and services we design entire campaigns geared to one or two groups with mediums we know they use.
But what if that perceived knowledge has some false assumptions in it? Please note I’m not saying target marketing is dead or that you should market to the masses. Far from it. You can’t be all things to all people and niche marketing should absolutely be a major component of your brand.
However, in our efforts to segment consumers we sometimes develop false labels.
Here are 10 labels to avoid:
- Seniors hate and don’t use technology—The fastest growing segment of Facebook users are actually older adults. Just because someone has grey hair doesn’t mean they won’t use mobile banking or your other e-services.
- Boomers are aging—Boomers will never grow up, never grow old and never die. They constantly see themselves from a youthful lens. That 60-year old Boomer perceives himself or herself as a young and vibrant 40 year old. Don’t market your investment services with pictures of old people sitting in their rocking chairs.
- Generation X is lazy—More new businesses today are started by Generation X (those born between 1961 and 1981). It’s not that Xers don’t want to work: it’s that they don’t want to work for you. Generation X is in the prime of their careers, which means they are now in the “C” suite and starting their own companies.
- Generation Y feels they are entitled to everything—Okay, this label is true!
- Blue-collar workers have no assets—As some of the hardest working people in our country, those with blue-collar jobs actually have financial resources. If they are government or civil workers, they often have a pretty good pension plan as well. With this group, don’t get caught only measuring household income.
- Hispanics have no money—According to the latest statistics, Hispanic consumers have over $800 billion in buying power. To assume they are only migrant workers or day laborers is making a huge marketing misjudgment.
- Everyone is on Facebook—While still the dominant social media channel, Facebook is succumbing in popularity to other social networks. Whether it’s Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat or Vine, there are many other tools in your arsenal other than Facebook to reach consumers using social media.
- Young adults today don’t listen to their parents—These young people genuinely like and respect their parents. One of the best ways to reach the Dot Com Generation is through mom and dad.
- Business owners are males—There are tons of “mompreneurs” in the market: females who are starting their own business. Many are even doing so while their young kids are at home. Females don’t just control the pocket book in their own household: many control the finances of a small business.
- Every Texan owns a pair of Cowboy boots—As a native Texan, I had to throw in one reference to stereotypes of my beloved home state! The point to remember is that we also have to watch regional labels in our marketing efforts as well (and yes, I do own a pair of boots).
And by the way, before my Gen. Y friends bellyache and bemoan my comment about how they are entitled, keep in mind that Gen. Y is one of the most influential generations we’ve seen in quite some time. They are influencing technology, consumer trends, marketing and just about everything they touch.
While labels are indeed useful, they are also dangerous. Just as important as it is to know marketing rules, it’s also important to understand marketing exceptions. Look for those exceptions when it comes to labeling certain groups.