Marketers ‘turn away from outdated demographic data’

people_crowds_shoppers2Marketers are increasingly turning away from targeting their customers through tried and tested demographic data, placing greater importance on real-time personalisation and first-party data to tap into changes in consumer behaviour.

That is one of the key claims of a new study by Twilio, which questioned 300 UK marketing decision makers and 2,020 consumers reveals Brits have gone through a major shift, with nearly three-fifths (58%) of adults admitting their behaviours and buying choices are more complicated than three years ago.

Nearly a third (31%) of UK adults report being more indecisive about what they buy compared to three years ago, with a similar proportion (30%) agreeing the pandemic has shifted their behaviours and the way they think. It appears shoppers have also become savvier during this period, with two thirds (66%) saying they now look harder for better shopping deals.

This complexity is echoed by the vast majority of marketers (85%), who believe consumer behaviour is more changeable than ever before. They cite the cost-of-living crisis (76%), social media, environmental awareness (both 51%), and the ongoing impact of Covid (48%) as drivers of change over the last three years.

Consequently, it seems that age-old techniques of customer segmentation and targeting are no longer meeting marketers’ needs with 48% believing demographic data is losing its value. Whether that means 52% still see it as worthwhile remains to be seen.

But some marketers are instead turning to real-time personalisation and first-party data strategies to understand this new buying behaviour, with 71% saying real-time personalisation is more valuable, and 58% believing it will be the most important technology for them to keep pace.

Twilio customer engagement consultant Sam Richardson said: “Like the current arguments around outdated economic models, this research has highlighted that it really is time to ditch the old demographic customer segmentation methods and models.

“People are unpredictable and their shopping journeys and decisions are nonlinear. Marketers and customer service agents need to have the kind of data that allows them to be more fluid in the way they engage with their customers.

“The only way they can get a deeper understanding of their customers and all their nuances is by focusing on the value inherent in first-party data. You don’t have to base your marketing strategy around outdated categories and guesswork if you are able to personalise based on how people are engaging with your brand both historically and right now.

“Unifying all this data from across all parts of your business into a singular source of truth will help organisations know just what their customers need at the point they need it.”

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