Last week sometime, a passing acquaintance on Facebook referred to something he had written 10 years ago regarding joining the final demographic. It prompted me to think about marketing demographics and how I must have fit in, as a tribe of one.
After some thought, I realized I was maybe part of an interesting demographic to marketers for a period when I was… creative… in how I described myself to get magazine subscriptions for things I was interested in. These were days when you filled in a postcard that was provided in, for example, a magazine, and asked how much purchasing authority you had, and so on. Filled out right, you’d magically get stuff to read that was in a specific field. My mailbox was never empty, something always interesting to look over, opening new worlds to me.
So there was that. Perhaps for a while based on income, or spending habits, but those two were something could be creative about, at least for a period, and that generally came with some benefits. Trying some free samples out, telling them whether you thought it was good or bad. But then… generally, I was never a part of the demographic marketers look at because I have broad interests and have never just stuck to one thing very much. I was never an ideal demographic. Age wise, sure, I had my moments, I may still have them, but overall – I was never very interesting to marketers.
I made mistakes with credit cards early, which screwed up my credit rating, and then when people were talking about ‘cutting them up’, I simply stopped using them and something magical happened after a few years: I couldn’t do stuff because I had no credit history. That means that nobody really markets to you, since one of the demographics most sought after is those people who buy, buy, buy, and go in debt, debt, debt!
Even employers loved to see you get an expensive new car because then they were more secure that you wouldn’t leave. A new baby? Your employer hit paydirt! Ahh, those were the days. You could almost see the resignation in people’s faces when they had debt and the promise of future debt. Some people say it made them grow up. Mature. But really, what I saw was a measure of compliance with the way things worked. Equating that to maturity means a broken horse is mature, and a wild horse is a child.
Demographics. Now the world has no real need of those sorts of things other than for feeding bureaucracies. Marketers buy your information from wherever they can get it, and there is plenty of that still – or they just use one of the massive Big Tech companies with millions – billions- of users, run a few ads and see who responds, using the BigTech algorithms to go fishing for us.
Demographics. How long is that going to last for?