Demographics Are An Illusion: How to Right Size an Offer for Every Consumer

By Selma Koita

August 31, 2022

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In our latest Fetch Focus series, senior leaders at Fetch discuss how demographics are an illusion. To predict what decisions a consumer will make in the future, brands need to look at strong signals which include an individual consumer’s purchase behavior. Watch the full conversation below:


Marketers have long relied on demographic data to guide their consumer targeting efforts. As we explored in the first part of this series, however, demographics are a poor indicator of actual consumer behavior.

Basing marketing decisions purely on demographic data fails to grasp the individual decision making process of consumers. For example, demographic data might say that a woman in her mid-20s enjoys Taylor Swift, but the reality of that individual may be completely different; and, equally troublesome because it ignores the 45-year-old man who does.

In a recent roundtable discussion featuring senior leaders at Fetch, the experts weighed in on the need for brands to move on from demographics as a key indicator of consumer behavior. Further, by leveraging demonstrated interest, purchase history, and new tools in automation and machine learning, brands can provide better personalization and right-size offers for each consumer.

The issue with keying in on demographic data as an indicator of future behavior is that it constitutes what David Berk, Group President for Product & Technology at Fetch calls a “weak signal”. To predict what decisions a consumer will make in the future, brands need to look at strong signals which include an individual consumer’s purchase behavior.

Fetch’s strength for brand partners hinges on these strong signals, provided by consumers in the form of their receipts. This mountain of data—more than 50 million receipts per day—can be overwhelming without the right engine to process the data and make it actionable. However, through advanced models and computer learning, Fetch is able to turn uploaded receipts into a trove of organized information on the consumer level.

“We can understand, with a high degree of certainty, what sort of offers are going to be exciting for you,” Berk says. “And individually, we right-size that offer; that is all done in real time.”

Leveraging this purchase data gives brands a number of options in their strategies. Consumers can be given targeted offers to try new products in a similar category of their demonstrated purchases. Or, they can be rewarded for loyalty, or encouraged to return to a brand to whom they were once loyal, but may have stopped buying recently.

What’s perhaps even more valuable to brands, is that all of these campaigns are highly traceable. With such a large consumer base in every campaign, a group within that segment is not given the offer. Then, by matching the purchase data of the offered group against the control group, brands are able to exactly calculate lift and efficacy of a campaign.

When brands move beyond demographic data, it not only provides an unparalleled level of nuance to targeted offers, but it personalizes promotions to the individual consumer. In the past, discounting was unable to take into account a host of factors such as price sensitivity or brand loyalty. This lack of understanding led promotions strategies to offer broad-based discounts to millions of consumers, some of whom may have purchased without the offer in the first place, or some that may have required a larger offer to motivate the purchase.

“One of the things that few people recognize is that this is a problem that machines are really good with,” says Fetch Founder & CEO Wes Schroll. 

By basing marketing decisions on proven consumer habits and leveraging machine learning and automation, brands are given the tools they need to provide personalized, nuanced offers that can translate to an excellent ROI.

Are you ready to move beyond demographic data? Reach out to the Fetch team today to learn more about becoming a brand partner.


Selma Koita

Selma is a Director of Marketing at Fetch. She has a knack for brand strategy and finding brilliance in complex situations, which she has done for countless brands, both big and small, across a number of industries.

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