The 18-49 or 25-54 Demographic is Obsolete

Advertisers feel that the most important age demographic is either the 18 to 49 or the 25 to 54 age category.  The traditional conventional wisdom is that this is the most desired demographic to promote to because this demographic is more open to switching to the brand of the advertiser.

My question is why is this large of a demographic still being used.  Both the 18-49 covers two generations: Generation X and the Millennials.  The 25-54 cover three generations.  The Boomers cover age 49 to 54, Generation X covers age 32 to 48 and the Millennial generation covers age 13 to 31.  These generations are very different from each other, but yet are considered the same target market by the advertisers who use the 25-54 age group.

Can you really tell me that a 25 year old has the same media habits as a 50 year old?  Of course not.  The same is true for the values, perceptions and lifestyles differences between these two ages.  The younger Boomers and the older Millennials do not have the same traits.  Not to mention Generation X which is different than the other two generations.

To make matters worse, these same advertisers ignore the market that is 55 and above.  Once again the 55 plus category comprises of three generations.  The early Boomers, The Silent Generation and the GI Generation.  Advertisers for some reason feel that once a person hits 55 that they are stuck in their brand preference.  It has been shown that both the Silent Generation and the Boomers are not as brand loyal as conventional wisdom would have you believe.  These generations are open to switching brands and they have the disposable income to make both generations desirable to companies that are willing to market to them.

I do like the use of the 12-17 age group for targeting advertising.  This age group is more narrow, and currently everyone in this age group is in the Millennial generation, although the 12 year olds born in 2001 are considered part of the Homeland Generation.  The Homeland generation is ages 12 and younger and are going to be very different than the Millennials.

If advertisers are going to use age demographics, I would recommend that they divide the age groups into more narrow age brackets.  There will be some generational overlap but the differences will not be as great as the 18-49 or 25-54.  I would recommend that these adult age groups be used instead 19-24, 25-34, 35-44, 45-54, 55-64, 65-74 and 75 plus.  By narrowing the target age, advertisers will be able to better focus their marketing efforts.

In these days of increasing fragmented, niche media outlets, the more narrow the demographic the better the overall marketing effort will be.

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