- McCann Worldwide's newly released “Truth About Age” study finds demographic assumptions no longer stand up to scrutiny as people’s attitudes and behavior increasingly do not correspond to traditional suppositions about aging across all regions of the world, per a press release.
- The findings emphasize the importance of understanding people as individuals in brand marketing instead of predictable members of an age demographic category. The study is based on a survey of almost 24,000 people between 20 and 70 across 28 markets along with qualitative research in 36 global markets.
- Key strategies highlighted by McCann for approaching ageless consumers include starting earlier to reframe the age conversation as the people who most fear death are in their 20s; celebrating the gains that people experience as they age; reimagining the traditional approach to targeting and segmentation as age becomes a less useful predictor of attitudes, and promoting intergenerational connections.
After years of trying to understand how to market to millennials, these days brands are rushing to gain a better understanding of Gen Z, pointing to how dependent on age-based targeting the marketing industry is. As a result, McCann's findings could have a hard time making an impact. Still, the study underscores a broader trend toward people-based marketing, which frequently leverages machine learning and automated buying to target an individual based on real-time behaviors. In this light, McCann's findings reflect the need for marketers to overcome their dependence on age-based segmentation if they are to become successful people-based marketers.
While basic demographic data is more available to marketers than ever in an age of personalization and behavioral data, marketers can be more effective by not relying on traditional segmentation and targeting approaches that rely on outdated age-specific assumptions on how to best reach specific age groups, per the report.
"Brands need to go beyond the 'number' to ensure they are connecting with people of all age groups," Nadia Tuma-Weldon, senior vice president, director, McCann Truth Central, and an author of the study said in a statement.