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Hot Topics

What Is the Right Demo for Qualitative Research?

June 13, 2019

Most rookie sales reps learn right away that stations are selected by how well they perform in the advertiser’s target demo. Whether it is 18-34 for the latest movie premiere, or 25-54 for the new car dealer, stations are often selected by how they price within the designated demo.

This system of demographic buying has been done for decades. The reason is very simple. The belief is that those within the demo are more likely to purchase the advertiser’s product or service than those outside the designated demo. The goal is to segment the portion of the population that is the advertiser’s target. Segmentation is the key word. This Hot Topic is not focused on the merits of using demos in selecting advertising outlets – that is a subject for a later Hot Topic.

Instead, the question arises, when using qualitative research, do I still need to rely on a demo? By using qualitative research, you are segmenting the population by their lifestyle, buying habits, or socioeconomic status. Would a car dealer rather reach a 35-year-old who is not planning to buy a car or a 58-year-old who is planning to buy a car?

The first is in the demo of Adults 25-54, while the latter is outside of this demo. However, the latter is a better target for the car dealer.

It is the opinion of Research Director, Inc. that when a sales rep or advertiser is using qualitative research to find target customers, they are already segmenting. Therefore, they do not need to segment by demographic groups. The broad demographic base of Adults 18+ is the ideal demographic group. By using Adults 18+, you also have more sample, which is always desirable. More importantly, you have segmented by a category that is most important to the advertiser.

While the concept might be easy to understand, it is more difficult to teach the advertiser and the buyer that when using qualitative it is best to use Adults 18+ instead of a target demo. Old habits are hard to break. Here is where we can help.

-Charlie Sislen, Partner