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Visit California's Deep Dive Into Consumer Target Audience Demographics and Psychographic Profiles

Author: Guest Greg Oates
Posted: September 01, 2015
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The following article is section of DMAI’s e-book The Evolving Role of DMOs in a Shifting Marketplace. To read the entire e-book, click here


In May 2015, Visit California launched its Dream Big Dividend strategic marketing plan for the 2015/2016 fiscal year with an unprecedented deep dive into consumer target audience demographics and psychographic profiles.

These audiences are identified by a three-layer pyramid beginning at the top with a “Broad Global Brand Target” defined by age, income and desire to travel. The middle layer consists of “Opportunity Brand Targets” that hone in on key demographic and psychographic niches. The bottom layer describes “Passions-Based Targets” that aggregate people by interest.

Beginning with the broad global brand target customer, he or she is over 18 years-old, lives in the top one third of household incomes, and vacations at least once annually. Moving down one layer to the opportunity brand target level, Visit California further refines its definition of target consumers with the following five personality traits: Creative, Curious, Open-minded, Authentic, and Youthful. The DMO then delineates that holistic target set into two subgroups: family travelers and aspirational travelers.

“Underneath the global brand target we have the opportunity brand targets, and what we found is, as we looked at them, two demographics and really psychographic filters rose to the top,” says Lynn Carpenter, VP of marketing for Visit California.” Those are the family and the super affluent. They have very different mentalities, very different media plans that go around them, and very different creative.”

Those two traveler segments—designated as “Mommy Maximus” and “The Confident Connoisseur”—are further extrapolated by: What matters to them, what motives them, and what type of content they tend to respond to. Following that, the strategic plan offers a series of market research overviews specific to each segment, and then outlines an overarching media marketing strategy to approach each segment.

Using “Mommy Maximus” as a case study, she is the busy working mother who puts family before all else and makes the bulk of family travel decisions. The primary things that matter to her are: “She wants to be constantly connected, she wants to make her money work harder, and she wants to know what’s hot [trendy].” Mom is motivated by: “She wants to capture every moment digitally, she doesn’t want to miss a thing, and she likes creativity in her life.”

Furthermore, her content preferences are: “Snackable, shareable, lighthearted content with a strong emotional pull." And, Mommy Maximus "responds to information, inspiration and cool ideas for the family from influencers, and tips to fuel travel ideation from relevant parent bloggers.”

Visit California also defines how to strategically market to Mommy Maximus, based on a wide range of insights collected from many different industry sources. The final marketing messaging strategy is: “Promote California as the ‘Ultimate Family Playground’ with theme parks aplenty, plus state and national parks, beaches, zoos, aquariums, museums and more. It’s a place that thrills kids and brings out the kid in the adults too.”

With the family and luxury travel target audiences clearly defined, Visit California then differentiates five specific travel profiles potentially applicable to Mommy Maximus and Confident Connoisseur. They are: Avid Adventurer (outdoor active), Natural Nurturer (outdoor passive), Savvy Sophisticate (culinary), Media Maven (entertainment), and culture (Cultured Cosmopolitan).

Lastly, Visit California defines each of those with the same in-depth passion profile information used to flesh out Mommy Maximus and Confident Connoisseur.

“Within passion-based targeting, media plans are built to reach the intended audience based on specific interests and web actions that define them within each brand experience pillar,” reads the strategic marketing plan. “Unlike the Super Affluent and Family opportunity brand targets, these audiences are defined by who they are and how they act. No demographic information is used for targeting.”