Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Older than yesterday

I went to quite a few exhibitions last week as part of the Melbourne Festival. As I was leaving one of the shows I participated in an exit interview. The first question was about which age group I belonged to.

Normally a question like this is second nature, but I had to rethink my answer as I have moved into a different age grouping since my last birthday.

I know I’m not getting any younger, but I felt really old when I told the interviewer which age group I was in.

I’ve been thinking about age groups and demographics ever since. And I’ve come to the conclusion that they’re just not accurate anymore. If they ever were.

There is a veritable gulf between the ages of 18 and 25. Yet that is considered a demographic group. Why?

Most 18 year olds have just finished school whereas the average 25 year old has been in the workforce for some time or has entered the workforce after completing a degree.

The older age groupings are misleading too.

In the survey I answered people aged 45 to 55 were grouped together. Again I think there is a gulf between the younger and older members of the group.

Many people are seeming younger as they get older. Used to be that once you passed 40 you were well into middle age. It really doesn’t kick in till your mid 50s these days.

As I’m writing this I’m starting to rethink my thinking on age demographics. Perhaps it’s not the age groupings that has to change. Perhaps it’s what marketers do with that information.

I’ve heard agency people and marketers refer to people younger than myself as being too old for the internet. I’ve also heard these same people talk about females in their mid 20s as kids.

Seems to me there’s an opening in the market for a switched on research company to gather the data to create accurate age demographic profiles. The type of profiles that take into consideration the way we live today. Not how we lived in the 1960s.