Traditional market research defines consumer demographics in terms of age, gender, region, household income, household size, education, and ethnicity. Generational targeting, which saw the light of day in the early 90s, has been responsible for developing complete customer profile patterns based on their year of birth, taking them as a starting point to identify their way of being and purchase motivations.

There are five main generational groups: Silent Generation (born before 1945), Baby Boomers (1946-1964), Generation X (1965-1980), Millennials (1981-1996), and Generation Z (1996-2015). Each generation has identified its characteristics, habits, and preferences, which influence the way they think and shop. This segmentation base has assigned them some common characteristics as people and, also, as customers.

But let’s consider the profiles of these two Spanish men. Both were born in 1968, are married, have teenage children, like sports and active life, and have earned a considerable income. They seem to have important similarities from a generational point of view until you learn that one of them is King Felipe II and the other is Santi Millán. In reality, nowadays these generational segments have become too broad and tell us very little about what the person represents.

It turns out that the formation of stereotypes is part of the natural process of the human mind since it is easier to think about reality through certain established categories. The problem arises when stereotypes substitute for the reality of individuals. At present, socio-demographic patterns are not able to faithfully represent the different population groups. Nike doesn’t sell its products to urban youth ages 25 to 35. It also doesn’t sell them to Millenials. Nike is aimed at those who see sport as a way of life and self-improvement, regardless of their year of birth. Just head out to a park and you’ll find people of all ages wearing the latest sportswear or the latest technology to measure their progress.

As we can see, dependence on stereotypes leads to an incomplete projection of the audience and can produce a distorted image concerning reality.


Attitudinal targeting

We can affirm that people no longer behave by age segments, social status, or stereotyped socio-demographic profiles. Brands, just like people, have the power to interact with different generations, each with their different motivations.

For this reason, it is necessary to open up segmentation and orient it towards a new customer mindset, which is achieved by combining demographic, psychographic, and behavioral information. In this trilogy, behavior—which translates to customers’ beliefs and attitudes—is what defines the path to emotional connection with brands.

We could say that the demographic profile describes who your customer is, while the attitudinal profile describes why your customer does it (why they feel motivated to act in a certain way, why they buy, why they prefer some brands to others, etc.).

Brands need greater empathy with customers, developing their attitudinal profiles based on behavioral data will facilitate the connection with them, better understanding what moves them, and what worries them, and building much more meaningful value propositions.

Behind any purchase, there is a real need or problem. The attitude towards different situations in life says a lot about each person and their way of being; Your attitude will determine the direction your life and decisions will take. Attitudinal targeting analyzes how people react to different situations.


Empathy Maps

The different attitudinal profiles are configured based on empathy maps. The starting point for its development is none other than research. It is configured as a format that seeks to describe the ideal customer through the analysis of 6 aspects related to the feelings of the human being. It is done through a series of questions that help to get to know the customer and how to relate to them.

As can be seen in the graph, it incorporates at the top those questions related to the individual, and at the bottom those related to their aspirations.



What are their worries and frustrations?

What motivates you?

What are your dreams?

What does it matter to you?


What do your friends say?

What does your boss say?

What do those you admire say?

What communication channels do you consume?


What is your environment like?

What do you see in the market?

What do you see in your friends?

What kind of offers do you receive?


What topics do you like to talk about?

What is your attitude in public?

Is it consistent with what you say and do?

How do you behave at home?


What are you up against?

What are your frustrations?

What obstacles do you have to overcome?

What are their concerns?


How do you understand success?

What would end their problems?

What do you want to achieve?

How do you intend to achieve this?

You may be interested in: Targeting Report

A new look

Be that as it may, companies are called upon to review the way they connect with people. The success of this transformation depends on aligning the company’s DNA, with its own culture (often little worked), with derived behaviors, using the power of the brand as a uniting element.

Again, it’s much more important to identify and understand why customers do what they do than to stop at a mere description of who they are. First the WHY, then the HOW, and finally the WHO. Sound familiar?



Carlos Puig Falcó

CEO of Branward