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One must know the demographics now and have an accurate idea of what they will be in the future. Today, the United States is becoming a nation of the young and the old. Much of what is being marketed is directed heavily to these two groups, at opposite ends of the chronological scale. Depending on the product, of course, certain characteristics should and should not be highlighted.

Certain products have obvious appeal to some groups and not others. For example, no public relations expert would direct a motor bikes marketing effort to the elderly; on the other hand, it would be a mistake to exclude the sales campaign and promotion from the large segment of middle-aged Americans because such a bike is not appealing only to the teenager who is out to have fun. Cheap transportation should also be considered strongly. Keep your eyes open in any American city. With the general downturn in the economy, coupled with uncertain gasoline prices, well-dressed men and women are riding to work in increasing numbers on their gasoline-propelled two-wheel vehicles.

Consequently, a public relations specialist for a motor bike company would probably choose not to restrict a campaign to acid rock stars extolling the virtues of riding bikes along the Pacific Coast Highway. Utility would also come into play. The campaign must also be directed to influence the young lawyer fighting traffic as he or she rides from an apartment to work in Manhattan or Chicago's loop.



Age Grouping

Devising a single promotional campaign won't work. There must be at least two: one to reach the young, "with it" generation and another for the older, professionally-successful set. Once it has been decided that more than one effort is in order, the professional public relations person must determine, within certain age limits toward which aspects of the consumers he wants to direct his efforts-education, economic status, snob appeal, desire for upward mobility or other areas.

The number of factors which must be considered and analyzed are virtually unlimited. For each separate group within a certain age or economic category, one approach may appeal while another will not. However, it is impossible to set up a widespread campaign which incorporates every favorable aspect for each separate entity within a general category. Therefore, the specialist must pick and choose- disposing of some thrusts, including others.

Older Americans

Already, even with the unheard of success of youth-oriented movies and video games, there are signs that previously youth-oriented industries (phonograph records, for example) are not doing as well as they used to. American society is getting older and older, there are fewer and fewer young people.

We have already seen a great increase in products directed to the older American. Denture cleansers are advertised often on television. Aspirin, when advertised on television or in newspapers, doesn't concentrate only on relieving head-aches. Relief for arthritis is at least as heavily emphasized. Make-up creams to hide wrinkles rival soft-drink ads, in terms of frequency. One sporting goods company is marketing a golf club directed solely at the older American. They predict that it will "allow the mature golfer to get the ball up in the air faster."

In trying to determine the internal and external motivations of consumers in the 2000s, public relations specialists must bear in mind that the United States is becoming an increasingly older society. Consequently, attitudes of these older Americans will help determine what marketing strategies should be used.

As a result of this graying of America, all professionals will have to understand what older people want and how to help them realize it. Naturally, in medicine, gerontology (the study of aging) will be required of medical students and physicians, but other people, like public relations experts, also will have to know a great deal about elderly Americans.

Ethnic Groupings

Not only are appeals not universal in terms of age groups, but they are different in respect to regions of the country- city versus rural and neighborhood to neighborhood within an urban area.

Advertising also takes three differences into account. Billboards, directed primarily at black Americans, for example, often feature black actors and actresses as role models. Advertisements for the same product would not be used in most rural areas. Ethnicity, too, often plays a role in deciding where and how to direct marketing efforts. For example, it is very common to see displays for a particular brand of Jewish rye bread at subway stops throughout New York City, but a few miles out of the metropolitan area the displays are no longer in evidence.

Throughout the nation, there have been significant increases in the Hispanic population. Projections for the 2000s and 1990s show that this trend will continue.

Hispanics (the Spanish-speaking minority in this country) constitute 15.5 million people, with some estimates running to 7 million additional illegal Spanish-speaking immigrants who are not officially counted. New York City, with a population of 7.8 million has 1.3 million Hispanics-roughly one-quarter of its entire population.

The total Hispanic population of Los Angeles is second to New York's, and two-thirds of Miami's residents are

Each promotional piece is carefully planned to meet the particular market needs of the account. The designer above is at work at RF&R Design, a division of Ruder Finn & Rotman.

Hispanic. One-fifth of Chicago is Hispanic. Reciting these statistics is not done primarily to offer a census-type ranking. The numbers make a significant point: Hispanic Americans no longer live only in the Southwest and California. And marketing experts, which we as public relations professionals are, must keep that in mind.
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