Tag Archives: Advertising Agency Model

The Death of Traditional Demographics

Caitlin Thomas looks at the rise of Big Data in Media and Advertising agency’s strategy and evaluation.

As a brand, to flourish in today’s marketplace, you need to understand that the ‘typical consumer’ is no longer typical! And furthermore, will not just slot right into the traditional marketing model of demographics. With the help of technology, consumers have access to multiple touch-points to gain knowledge and interact with brands, they have obtained an element of control. Take away the age, race and sex and focus predominately on the personality of the target market and you will see that the use of traditional demographics is no longer relevant in today’s society.

When you hear the word ‘Demographic’, it will usually be accompanied by a few other ‘graphics’, one of which I believe is the most important tool for uncovering the target market and that is ‘Psychographic’. This segment should be embraced now more than ever. Why? Simply put, the world has changed, and the way consumers categorise themselves is beyond the outdated model. With an abundance of new ways to identify ourselves, marketing to a target audience has progressed far beyond predicting what a ’25-35-year-old Australian Female’ will buy or how they will interact with a brand, as today, the social norms that predicted the purchasing behaviours of these targeted groups are fading away. Right now, it is all about diversifying these stereotyped groups and focusing on the interests of individuals.

Even the word ‘individuals’ should provide an insight of why brands need to focus on the behaviours and interests over age and sex. An example of the various types of individuals and the declining usefulness of demographics comes from the globally launched, paid streaming service, Netflix. The VP of Product Innovation over at Netflix shared some insight into consumer behaviour at the 2015 SWSX Festival, claiming that demographics are ‘almost useless’ at predicting what Netflix users will watch. “What we’ve learned over time is: it’s not who they are in a superficial sense – like gender, age, even geography. It’s not even what they tell you. It’s what they do. There are actually 19-year-old guys who watch Dance Moms, and there are 73-year-old women who are watching Breaking Bad and Avengers.” You see, it’s no longer about at what age will somebody buy a product, of what race, financial status or level of education will a product interest the most but about the personality and preference of the person, the individual.

This is not the end of the world for brands, no need to restructure a marketing model or drastically forego demographics but instead, focus on the kind of people you want consuming the brands products and interacting with the brand. Brands can still, of course, have their ‘golden target’ with an ideal age bracket, gender etc. The only difference is that the traditional marketing model just won’t cut it with the individuals present in today’s society. A good way to think of how consumers and brands interact can be viewed similarly to how people interact with one another. This form of communication and connection has always been unique, our friendships and relationships are chosen on compatibility so why should that be any different between brands and consumers?

‘Who’ are the consumers in terms of biology and financial status is less important, ‘who’ they are psychologically is the question needing to be asked and answered to effectively speak to the target audience, to best reach consumers, connect and create relationships between the brand and audience as to allow for consistent product recall, brand trust and brand loyalty.

What does success look like?


Ashleigh Hogan looks at the elements that define “Success” in an Advertising agency by relating it back to her own hopes and dreams.

From someone who is seemingly at the bottom of the food chain in the Ad Industry, I have given alot of thought of what I think success would look like. It has also been a question that was brought up in one of my marketing classes; “In the Ad Industry, what does success look like?”

We were given so many different options of answers to choose from; the money coming in the agency and its value, the prestigious awards that it has won, the amount of charity projects the agency was involved with, the case studies or is it the list of big clients. After two hours of arguing between 12 students in the class on which was better to have in an agency, we slowly figured out that we had no clue. First, we have never been in an Ad agency and second, there was no purpose to us arguing because, we were all right. HOW? Because success is measured differently to different agencies.

The same topic came up in my singing lesson last week, about how people in the community measure success in the music industry. Being a singer, going to my weekly class for the past 6 years, people loose faith in you because ‘you haven’t made it.’ People hear you sing and they think that you belong on X-factor or The Voice, because they believe that is the only way to be successful. That’s how you become successful. Being famous, selling albums, making it on the radio, having sell-out concerts, touring the world, going on Ellen, HECK win awards! But what they don’t understand is that people can be successful without the money, fame, and the trophies that do nothing but collect dust. The music industry is a prime example of how perceptions of success is a narrow minded Hallway, that the meaning of Music has faded due to the image of success.

My singing teacher told me about a famous modern australian singer, that she is very close with. A singer who was given the chance to live in the spotlight and swim in fortunes, but rejected it for the easy going, come and go lifestyle that many artists wouldn’t choose if they were given the chance for fame. Don’t get me wrong, he would be stopped on the streets for signatures, selfies and with every gig, it is ALWAYS an instant sell out. People know him but he doesn’t feature on NOVA like Adele does, I don’t think I have seen him on TODAY in 10 years and he hasn’t made headlines since 2012. But he sells out everytime. She told me that, he tried that lifestyle when he was younger, but that just wasn’t him. So… what does it mean to be successful to a person who rejects the perceptions of success in the music industry…? Could you say that his idea of success was just having the ability to create his music, as free as he can be, for a crowd to enjoy? Is that enough to be successful?

It’s hard to explain to people what us, ‘Amateur Singers’ love about going to our classes, knowing that it is a minor possibility of us ‘making it’ and why we still go. I’m still explaining it to my mum! We were told to right down our goals for 2016 and as a little kid who sings at the school, you would write down “next year, I want to be as famous as Katy Perry,” but as the years go on, you appreciate music because it changes the way you see it. When we were that young we thought music was activity and success meant being famous but as we grew, we saw it as a hobby and success meant being happy and true to the art.

I feel as if back then old blues and Jazz singers weren’t born into the expectations of becoming famous in order to be seen as if they ‘have made it.’ They were truly and passionately giving their heart and soul to the art of music, and thats what made them famous. Sam Cooke, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Etta James; they were born into the age of depression and so music was their for them so that they could express how they felt. It was a different time because the industry was head hunting for these types of people, who were true to the art and now, artists are chasing down ‘the dream,’ selling themselves for ‘success.’

You have so many people with amazing talent and even though this post may seem bias, I think that the people who are making it in the big bad world are just as talented and amazing as those who chose the independent life. The only difference is, they have different ways of measuring their success…. and both ways work!

It’s hard to explain to people why I sing because they think i’m wasting my talent and money for something that they believe that I don’t want to pursue in the music industry (get famous). My film lecturer once told me, “if you love something and it makes you happy, you would spend a million dollars to keep it going because thats what you do for the things you love.” When it comes down to singing, I have never wanted to be famous in the way that I would lose the connection I have with my music and so I can relate to the Famous singer I spoke about in this post. I would never want to lose sight of why I create music or why I sing and if that means i’m not going to be a billionaire…well, tough luck.

Bringing it back to the Ad Industry, I see so many similarities between the Music Industry and the Ad world. Everyone has their own ideas of being successful and that is what makes culture in a company. A united goal and vision to drive you YOUR idea of success, will be totally different to the other Ad agency on the block.

So what does Success look like?

“Ad Agency” – What Does That Even Mean?

Amanda Florence writes about Macleay’s first AdSpeaks for 2015 with Andy Wright, one of the founders of ‘For The People‘. Andy posed the question, “What would an agency model look like if you could start from scratch?”


Specialising in start-ups, recently launched branding and strategy agency, For The People, didn’t run with the typical ad agency model of hierarchy, structure and processes. They didn’t bother looking side-to-side at their competitors. Instead, they kept the focus on the consumer experience. Andy Wright points out, “The art of communication has been lost along the way and many agencies spend their energy asking ‘What are the competitors doing?'”


Advertising is often perceived as being romantically creative but it also gives the opportunity to create work that is “blockbusting, humorous, famous, award winning and contextually magical.” At best, it should produce a campaign that incorporates its surrounding environment and makes the viewer smile, laugh or act!


Traditionally, medium to large agencies followed old-school hierarchy and workflow processes to get the job done. Does this infrastructure nurture creative ideas?

It can aid in understanding how to do things but it can also make you feel like a autonomous robot. How do you avoid feeling this way? Try to always keep the end goal (a tangible result in the hands of the consumer) in mind and avoid ticking the boxes for the sake of ticking boxes.


Increasingly, the agency structure is beginning to flatline and we can’t expect it to keep going. This is a reflection of start-up culture, where there are no traditional business models. Think of them more as tribes or families. If they dream it, they build it and without the instructions. Passionate, crazy people usually helm these start-ups and they are solely focussed on whom they are delivering their product or service to – the consumer. Their aim is to create amazing consumer experiences, without regard for rules or boundaries. Their path isn’t traditional, these entrepreneurs dive down the “rabbit holes” and their business grows exponentially.

IMG_2772In turn, they require agencies that can match their need for speed, agility, parallel partnership and flexibility. They want content released frequently, more so in the digital world, instead of unveiling one expensive full campaign every few months.


For The People, addresses this trend in start-up culture and looks to disrupting the agency model for the sake of speed and creativity. It could be an exciting future for those willing to follow their lead.

For more info about Andy Wright and “For The People” click here.