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Inspire: Breaking the Demographic Mold


Marketers and advertisers love demographics. Demographics compartmentalize people into neat little groups, often based on similar habits. A demographic example might be 21-30 year old males that eat out at fast food restaurants 3 times per week, play 10 hours plus of video games per week and spend 15% of their net income on electronics. The more your habits mesh inside a particular demographic mold, the more assured marketers are that you will be interested, and therefore buy, products that fit this criteria (such as cheap salty snacks, energy drinks and knock off colognes).

The further you break from that mold, the more difficult you are to sell. The more unique you become, the less marketers can assume what you will do and how you will act. We all have habits, but we often fail to realize that we often become ruled by those habits. The regularity of our routines makes us easy prey for marketers and we often miss out of the spontaneity and diversity of life. Without even knowing it, we lose our uniqueness. I want you to break out from the herd, to celebrate the uniqueness of all that makes up you.

Here’s an exercise to help you regain some of your individuality. Imagine you going to be analyzed by a marketing company in order to compartmentalize your habits into a demographic group. Write down 5 to 10 things that would make up your demographic pattern. For example:

– Goes out to eat three times a week

– Watches 3 hours of television a night after work

– Sleeps in till 9am on Sundays

– Spends 1 hour on Facebook everyday

– Spends 300 – 500 on credit cards per month

Then once a week, do something that breaks your demographic mold. Instead of eating out three times that week, cook a meal (or pick it up at a store) and go on a picnic. Replace one of those hours of television with a good book or more time with your kids. Take 30 minutes of Facebook time and call an old friend on the phone. By addressing and acknowledging just how routine life can become you can easily discover how to shatter its hold over you. You will no longer be easy fodder for marketing companies and your individualism will once again shine.