Sunday, August 19, 2007



Demographics is an approach to grouping of prospects or customers based on certain characteristics. The demographic data is a very vital tool for target specific marketing strategies and approaches, and thereby gain the best bang for the buck. For eg., one can group GPs (General Practitioners) based on whether they are in the age group of 40 plus years or below 40 years. One can develop a separate marketing model for the 40 + age group – promoting brands that are well established in line with their conservative thinking, and introduce newer brands to the aggressive yet cautious below 40 years GPs.

Demographic trend data gathers information on a population group over time.

For marketers (including Pharma marketers) the most populous age groups shape the marketing environment. For eg. Mexico has a young population, thus the important products for marketing are milk, diapers, and toys. Japan is an older population, and thus adult products have a bigger market here - including anti aging products like bioactive-based nutraceuticals and functional foods; Japan is one of the biggest markets in the world for nutraceuticals. If the genetic characteristic is taken in to consideration, then India is the largest market for anti diabetic products, as the genetic susceptibility to diabetes is very high for Indians. Already, India has the unfortunate distinction of being the diabetes capital of the world. Thus, Pharma marketers will get the best business results by understanding the nature of the market including the demographics.

A glimpse of demographics

The marketing guru Philip Kotler, in the book Marketing Management, Millennium edition,, describes some cohorts or groups of significance in USA, to marketers.

a) Those born between 1946 and 1964 are described as “baby boomers”. They are about 78 million people and one of the most powerful forces shaping the US marketplace. The baby boomers grew up with TV advertising and thus very receptive to healthcare DTC (direct to consumer) TV product promotion.

b) Those born between 1965 to 1976, are the Generation X (also called shadow generation and baby busters). There are some 45 million of them in USA.

c) The third cohort is the baby boomlet generation born between 1977 and 1994; they are about 72 million strong, and a very important group. This generation has grown up with computers and digital technology, and thus they are very receptive internet based product promotion, and digital savvy messaging.

Groupings based on significant events in a time frame

One the most common ways of developing cohorts or groups is based on significant happenings in the environment that has influenced thinking and thus generated commonalities for grouping. For eg., those in the 20s who experienced the Great Economic Depression in the USA form a group with certain common characteristics that can be taken in to cognizance by the Pharma marketer while strategizing.

In India, June 1991 was a tipping point

By the end of June 1991, foreign currency reserves had dwindled down to USD 975 million, hardly enough to pay for two weeks of imports. India had to ship part of her gold reserves and pledge it as collateral to be able to access the international overnight market and avoid a loan default

Ten years later in May 2001 the picture provides a sharp contrast. Foreign currency reserves are now USD 43 billion, equivalent of nine months of imports.

(The complete article of above extract is available

Those born in 1991 are about 16 years now, and raring to go. They see a different India. Those who have started their careers before 1991 would remember the difficulty in getting credit, home loans, and other personal loans. Today internet, web 2.0, capital formation, economic liberalization, death of the license-permit-quota raj (the death took place in June 1991), and the IT-ITES-BPO-KPO sector have created a totally new India for the educated, particularly in the semi rural and urban regions of India: India shining – India leading – India positive.

The aspirations and characteristics of the generation born in the year 1991 or after 1991 are different. Their healthcare requirements are consequently different. They look for value added healthcare services and products. Wellness management is their need, and not just sickness management.

Similarly, the demographics of Kerala based doctors are different. Kerala (is a state of India) gives better recognition and reception for wellness and natural based products (like Ayurvedic drugs). Thus, product-positioning approaches for the states of Kerala and Delhi would vary.

The competitive era created through economic liberalization in India has created a better market for products that promote mental well-being, and stress management. Click to this link for an exciting concept on Depression 2.0:

Demographic data or group behavior data of patients, and doctors is a very critical insight that helps shape more potent marketing strategies.

Thank you for reading this post. Please go through all other posts including the older posts as they are worth it.

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