No matter what the demographic research project, if we don't walk away from it having increased knowledge of our audience, we've failed as marketers. True, much of the time thinking sideways plays to our advantage as we strive to reach past the obvious for a richer definition those audiences we target.
Let's say we're given the assignment of profiling a niche target audience with which we have little to no knowledge about to identify opportunities. It makes sense to ask:
- What is the history of this niche audience?
- Where online does this audience hang out?
- What peripheral interests are shared among this group?
- What types of offline publications are there?
Dubstep Demographic Research
Let's examine an audience near and dear to me, the Dubstep community. Let's take a close look into the world of Dubstep, the sub-genre of electronic music hailing from the U.K., and the community surrounding it. There are few key areas we will focus on identifying for this research project:
- Record labels
- Radio stations
Give Yourself a Brief History Lesson
First stop, Wikipedia. Whether you're looking to gain a general understanding or are mining for surrounding topics, Wikipedia is almost always a fruitful and simple resource to tap. From this step we're able to document a long list of artists, albums, and a magazine.
Cruise SERPs at a high level and document communities and popular sites along the way.
Mine related searches for other ideas.
Have a look at some of the more popular publications and dubstep communities in DoubleClick Ad Planner to get an idea of its popularity, as well as what other sites your audience frequents.
Then check out the DoubleClick statistics.
Hmm, as expected, I see some .uk's in there. I wonder what those SERPs look like. The Firefox unpersonalized search plug-in used here is by Yoast, and installation is pretty simple.
It would be nice if we could get a glimpse of true unpersonalized U.K. SERPs by cruising under a spoofed IP, but this still gives helpful results.
Check Those Backlinks
Further insight can be gained by analyzing backlinks of popular and relevant sites. Here I've accessed Yahoo Site Explorer through the Search Status plug-in.
You may want to take a holistic approach and run through some additional backlink analysis tools.
Deep Dive Down the Rabbit Hole
Directories, in many instances, can be the key to getting a clear view of various publications, communities, stations, magazines, etc. Fortunately, it looks like somebody has done a lot of our work for us.
Now we're in the salt mines, documenting URLs and vetting them for quality and relevance. Taking it out as far as we can is a matter of reaching past the obvious to perhaps peripheral shared interests of our target audience.
Take, for example, our Dubstep community -- the sub-genre is heavily urban and for many is reflected in the way they dress. Could there be clothing lines targeted toward this audience? I think so.
Does anybody show interest for DirtySmart on Facebook? Yup, and although the sample is small, these are the right 2,040 friends.
We've dug deep for a more than cursory understanding of the history behind Dubstep, community hang out spots, shared audience interests, as well as offline publications.
Once documented, we're left with extensive demographic research that could have several different applications. Although the process may be a strenuous one, this research will feed many facets of an online campaign, from content networks and straight up ad buys to Facebook paid ads and advising venues for engagement.
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