Above: cover of the 2011 Census booklet, with the United Kingdom represented as a double-decker 'bus (symbolising class divisions presumably). A demographic interpretation of this illustration would assume the United Kingdom population was 66% female, 60% aged under 35, and 25% Black & Minority Ethnic. Is this how civil servants in the Office for National Statistics subconsciously see the country?
The 2011 national census was carried out in the United Kingdom on Sunday. Every household was asked to complete a booklet containing 56 questions (or complete the questionnaire on-line). Participation in the census was compulsory.
Although intended to help the government allocate resources, the information from the census is very valuable to market research. Questions about occupation, property ownership and age allow estimates to be made on the size of potential markets for products and services. Questions on self-identity allow profiles to be created that can be developed by other information sources.
Census is data only really useful on a macro level. For more nuanced analysis the census data has to be overlaid with many other filters such as lifestyle and behavioural data. The more complete your data, the more you will be able to understand the people you are targeting.
Once you have analysed your target audience you have two options:
Good marketing will study the target audience, work out their wants and needs, and develop products and services to fulfill those needs.
Bad marketing will study the target audience, work out their weaknesses and fears, and develop products and services that will assuage those fears (at least in the mind of the consumer).