One of the biggest mistakes general advertisers make and people new to direct response make is chasing demographics. By chasing demographics, I mean making media decisions based almost entirely on demographic and perhaps psychographic information. That strategy almost always leads to failure with extremely high customer acquisition costs.
Direct response marketers look at targeting a bit differently than general advertisers. For direct response marketers, the target market is derived by what we are selling and the advertising vehicles that are most responsive at the right cost. Stated another way, looking for the perfect demographics but at the wrong CPM and in a publication or channel that is non-direct responsive is a strategy that fails.
Empirical experience with dozens of campaigns over 20 years has proven this to be one of the most important direct marketing media principles. The right demographics at the wrong CPM is a doomed to lose money. In contrast, virtually everything works at the right CPM.
While knowledge about our best demographics and psychographics is useful in media decisions, it is crucial in developing the tone and manner of the creative. The better we understand who the likely buyers are and the more skillful we can articulate their underlying emotional while addressing their rational side, the better and more successful our campaign will be.