Sometimes I can’t resist a post that will result in a few irate responses. This is likely going to be one of them. It is essentially about my distaste for something that I have seen far too many marketers blindly rely on … age statistics. Just about every web site that tries to sell advertising reports on the age stats of their visitors. Television programs report on their ability to reach wide demographics whether it is the "coveted" 18-34 males or moms from 25-44. Let’s face it … this is a pretty idiotic way to report and to target for lots of reasons. Here are just a few off the top of my head:

  1. People are age shifting and not living lives based on their ages.
  2. The top end of a demographic (34) has almost nothing in common with the low end (18).
  3. Age demos leave out influencers, gift buyers and others for whom a message may be relevant, but don’t fit the age requirements.
  4. Focusing on age can take you away from emotional or relevant benefits.
  5. People lie about their age all the time.

Now let’s focus on a secret that smart marketers already know. Age doesn’t matter. What matters is relevance. Of course, there are some types of messages that work better for teenagers and others that work better for moms. But my argument is that if you find the right 25 year old that thinks like a teenager, or a 36 year old mom (who may technically be outside your age demographic), then that’s a good thing. So here’s my open question … should marketers stop thinking about age demographics and refocusing on methods of targeting that actually matter such as interests, affinity groups, location, and others?