Demographic knowledge is amazing. We have the ability to slice and dice our populations in extreme detail and complexity. From a business marketing standpoint, this is very important.
Even more amazing are the times we seem to ignore the most basic demographics. For example, how often have marketers forgotten about women (just that other gender; only half the population)?
Alyssa Milano is one women who is not about to let that happen. She has created a fan-gear fashion empire specifically for women. Along the way, she learned some interesting things. For example, just as some companies are quick to dismiss women’s role in purchases, some sports-team buyers doubted her credibility as Joel Stein reports (“She’s the Boss” Bloomberg Businessweek, 12/2/13–12/8/13, pp. 67–69):
“Her pitch meetings were a bust. She had trouble convincing team buyers that she even knew enough about sports to understand what she was selling. [Milano states] ‘It was a lot of work to validate my passion and knowledge. It’s probably what every woman goes through when she’s a sports fan.’” (p. 68)
Ultimately, Milano’s results validated her vision. This caught the attention of some of the pillars in the sportswear marketplace:
“As soon as Touch proved that women will wear jerseys in public—away from games—and around other women, the big sports apparel companies, including Nike and Reebok, came out with more fashionable lines of women’s team wear.” (p. 69)
The statistics only continued to stack up in Milano’s favor:
“More women watch the Super Bowl than the Oscars—46 percent of the viewers for that game are women, up from 14 percent in 2002. . . . As in regular stores, women do far more buying at stadiums than men.” (p. 69)
Demographics should be a bedrock to every company’s marketing strategy. Demographics can do that in some very complex and refined ways. While we should never minimize that opportunity, let us also be certain we are not ignoring some of the most obvious and significant demographic segments.
Companies will know no fury like a woman ignored.