Demographics rule as a way to model and target marketing campaigns, right? As it turns out, marketers who rely on demographics alone may be missing out on up to 70% of potential mobile shoppers, according to statistics analyzed over at Think with Google.

Here’s the problem. Take a hypothetical video game company. It uses demographics to determine that its core customer base is men aged 18-24. If it spends all its time marketing toward that base, it loses out on about 70% of mobile searches for video games—only 31% of mobile searches for video games are by consumers in that core demographic.

Mobile Marketing Needs to Focus on Customer Intent

Let’s take a step back. What’s the difference between demographics and customer intent?

Demographics are statistical data that group consumers together based on common attributes such as location, income, age or gender.

Customer intent is an analysis of the context in which the customer is making a purchase—what need or want in the moment leads to buying, and when, where and how is the customer buying.

Figuring Out Customer Intent

So when and where do you market to the 60% of baby product purchasers who live in a household that doesn’t have kids? To find out, we need to study the micro-moments in the customer journey. The when, where and how that lead up to a purchase give us insight into when, where and how to capture that audience. A good marketing campaign will be there in those quick moments when a mobile-searcher, maybe a grandparent, friend, coworker or uncle, is looking for product information and visiting a business (whether online or heading to a nearby physical store).

This means we need to reframe how we research and think about our core customers. Demographics will continue to play a very important role when it comes to creating content and targeting consumers. But when it comes to mobile, we need to study location history and consumer purchase behavior to give a customer what they need or want in the specific moment. We need to use mobile search data to combine demographics with in-the-moment purchasing activity.