Everything You Need to Know About Living in Austin, Texas

Learn everything you wanted to know about what makes Austin, Texas weird from the people that call it home. Download our Austin, TX research report to review all of the details.

Introduction

The capital city of Texas, Austin is the 11th-most populous city in the United States and the seat of Travis County.  Located nearly in the center of the state, Austin is about three hours south of Dallas; three hours west of Houston; and about 90 minutes north of San Antonio.

Experiencing a population growth of 34.1% between 2007 and 2017, the Austin region is one of the fastest-growing in the country  Austin has been the fastest-growing major metro in the country for nine straight years, from 2010 to 2019. The metro population jumped to an estimated 2.2 million people as of July 1, 2019, according to the United States Census Bureau. That is an increase of 2.8% from the prior year, bigger than any other metro with at least 1 million residents. That’s 169 people added every day, on average.

With a vibrant, well-educated, and youthful population of 2.2 million in the Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), the median age in Austin is 34.7 years. Of Austin’s population aged over 25, 44.8% have a Bachelor’s Degree. Leading the US in tech salary growth, it’s the number four city tech workers would consider moving to.

Austin’s laid-back, take-it-or-leave-it kind of attitude matches well with its fun and “weird” culture, celebrated on bumper stickers and T-shirts with the slogan, “Keep Austin Weird.”

“Everyone is welcome and has a place somewhere here. And it just makes it such a unique place because you just never know who you’re gonna meet or what experience you’re going to have just ‘cause there’s so many different things.”

Jamie E, 38

Austin Neighborhoods

  • Downtown Austin is popular with younger residents with middle to upper household incomes. These Austinites love the convenience of being just blocks from shopping on Congress Avenue, live music venues on 6th Street, and even some great parks, hiking, and biking along the Colorado River. 
  • Across the Colorado River from Downtown Austin sits South Austin, where young, artsy types congregate. Barton Heights offers great family areas, while Travis Heights and Bouldin Creek attract mainly hip, liberal Austinites.
  • North and Northwest Austin include Round Rock, Cedar Park, and Leander, which attract a lot of families. The Leander is an award-winning school district, and Apple and Dell have large operations in the area. North Austin also has some great luxury apartments. These fast-growing Austin neighborhoods are popular with families.
  • West Austin has some of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the city, such as Westlake Hills and Steiner Ranch. The commute into town is a bit longer than in other areas of Austin, but residents are closer to Lake Travis and the great outdoors. Neighborhoods Oak Hill and Circle C Ranch are further south.
  • Although East Austin used to be considered the poorest part of the city, the area is now mostly a hipster neighborhood with many sleek, modern developments. 
  • Southeast Austin is home to a lot of University of Texas students, likely because of the large numbers of apartments and other rental properties in the area.

“I am in a tiny house in East Austin. With three dogs – I have two Huskies and a mix. You’d be surprised the people who to live in the tiny houses where I’m at.”

Shelly S, 42

Doing Business in Austin

The Austin region offers businesses deep talent, education, quality healthcare, telecommunications, and a modern, international airport.  The major employers include: Amazon, AMD, Apple, Charles Schwab, Dell, General Motors, IBM, Intel, National Instruments, Samsung, Tesla, VISA, and Whole Foods.

Key Industries include:

  • Advanced Manufacturing
  • Clean Technology
  • Creative & Digital Media Technology
  • Data Management
  • Financial Services and Insurance
  • Life Sciences
  • Space Technology

The growth isn’t slowing down any time soon. The new Tesla Gigafactory, set to be located in eastern Travis County, will be one of the world’s largest and most advanced automotive plants and will bring an estimated $1 billion in capital investment to the region.

In addition to being home to tech giants, Austin has a thriving startup scene. Austin area startups attracted $2.2 billion across 263 venture deals in 2019. Startups account for a larger share of businesses in Austin than in nearly all major US metros and Austin ranks 6th for new businesses per 1,000 population.

“A couple of my friends work at Google and Facebook and they’re always saying so many people are moving in. I would say those apartment complexes are definitely to cater to people like that. Cause it’s like the new hub.”

Madison P, 28

The Cost of Living in Austin

Texas consistently ranks as one of the nation’s most favorable business climates based on its low tax burden and competitive regulatory environment. Texas features no personal or corporate income tax, and overall the state has one of the lowest state and local tax burdens in the US.

According to Austin’s Chamber of Commerce, the cost of living is 2% lower than the national average.

Austin Apartment Costs

Renters will generally find more expensive prices in Austin than most similar cities. The median two-bedroom rent of $1,450 is above the national average of $1,193. The city’s median one-bedroom rent is $1,175. While rents in Austin fell moderately over the past year (-0.6%), many cities nationwide saw slight increases (+0.2%). 

According to RENTCafé, these 5 Austin neighborhoods offer a good selection of rental apartments, unique dining, shopping, atmosphere, walkability, and a sense of community:

  • Downtown Austin (average rent $2,200/mo)
  • Central Austin ($2,100/mo)
  • Clarksville, between downtown and the MoPac Expressway ($2,100/mo)
  • Zilker, South Austin ($1,400/mo)
  • Travis Heights, South Austin ($1,400/mo)

What Austin Renters Want

No two renters are the same but many Austin renters are consistently seeking features and amenities. Here are the top things tenants report looking for in a property: 

  • Convenient Location – People want to live, work, and play in a geographically convenient circle. If your multifamily property is located near the University of Texas, show how it’s a convenient walk to campus to appeal to professors, graduate students, and staff. Similarly, if you have property near the new Apple campus, play up this proximity and go after Apple employees.
  • Pet-Friendly – The American Veterinary Association estimates that 50 percent of renters have pets and that 3 out of 10 renters without pets would have pets if their landlords allowed it. Allowing pets in your multifamily property opens up your prospective pool of renters and provides you with a competitive edge.
  • Key Appliances – Renters are on the lookout for properties that have garbage disposals, washers and dryers, dishwashers, refrigerators, and microwaves. In higher-end rentals targeted at tech industry workers, potential residents may expect smart thermostats and TVs.
  • Connectivity – Wireless connectivity is extremely important to renters. Ninety-one percent of renters say reliable cell reception is important, and 44 percent say they won’t rent without reliable cell service.
  • Outdoor Living – One of the bigger benefits of living in Austin is the ability to enjoy warm water all year round. Tenants respond positively to multifamily properties that offer outdoor living space such as balconies, patios, or decks.

Arts, Recreation, and Entertainment

The city’s official slogan promotes Austin as “The Live Music Capital of the World”, a reference to the city’s many musicians and live music venues. It’s also home to events like Austin City Limits and SXSW Music, Film, and Interactive.

Instead of the flat terrain common to most of the state, visitors are greeted with stunning vistas, rolling hills, and wildflowers. Austin’s natural setting, in one of America’s most unique landscapes, offers plenty of opportunities to get outdoors for fitness, recreation, and relaxation.

Austin has a reputation as one of the nation’s fittest cities, since there’s plenty to do outside to stay fit and enjoy an active lifestyle in the area’s mostly temperate climate. 

Ask any Austinite about their favorite sport and you’ll hear about everything from football to roller derby to cycling to kayaking. Austin is also home to many sports teams including:

  • Austin Spurs: NBA D-League Basketball Team
  • Round Rock Express: AAA Baseball Team
  • Texas Stars: AHL Ice Hockey Team
  • Texas Longhorns: Big 12 Conference College Sports
  • Austin FC (2021): Major League Soccer
  • Austin Bold: United Soccer League
  • Circuit of the Americas: Formula 1 United States Grand Prix, INDYCAR Challenge, MotoGP
  • Austin Herd: Major League Rugby

“The music scene is one of the things that was appealing to my husband and me when we moved here. Austin is the live music capital of the world. Every single weekend there is live music from local folks and from up and coming artists from around the country. And it is every type of genre that you can think of – from rap to alternative to bluegrass country. It is really culturally diverse.”

Theresa M, 39

Read the full research report: Austin, TX research. We interviewed Austin, Texas residents to find out why they live there what makes their city special. Stay tuned for more city research.

Demystifying the DINK Demographic for Creating Brand Personas

The DINK demographic usually has more time and money to spend on themselves, so it’s worthwhile to explore the dual-income, no-kids market. 

Everybody has heard of the Gen Z, Gen X, Millennial, Baby Boomer, and Greatest Generation. However, the DINK demographic, short for Dual Income and No Kids, has now entered marketing lingo. Since any audience development agency may presume that many couples without kids have more time and disposable income than those with larger families, they’ve become a prime target for consumer marketing. 

How an audience development agency develops brand personas for the DINK demographic 

DINK refers to two-income couples who have chosen not to have children. It doesn’t necessarily mean these couples belong a specific age or income group; however, marketers may tend to mostly picture them as Millennials with decent salaries.

As for why they’re often associated with Millennials, just last year, even before the COVID crisis, Business Insider mentioned that the U.S. birthrate had declined to its lowest in three decades. A survey attributed the decline mostly to Millennials’ uncertainty about the future.

Since the Millennial generation has grown to become the majority of the workforce, they get a lot of attention from marketers anyway. Still, sometimes DINK can refer to members of other generations, even Baby Boomers who are empty nesters.

Digging deeper into the DINK generation

If some DINK couples decide they’re not ready for parenting, they appear fairly eager for other kinds of experiences. While nobody should try to put all dual-income-no-children couples in one basket, marketers can enjoy great success with this group as a target market with the right approach and product.

From the perspective of an audience insights agency, marketers should consider these general observations to succeed with the market:

1. Research target audience demographics

Some DINK couples may choose to skip parenthood because they feel uncertain or are simply unwilling to give up their freedom. However, in other cases, the idea of parenthood might not appeal to them or even be possible. Many even choose to delay parenthood but consider it a possibility in the future. That’s why an audience targeting agency should conduct research on specific target market demographics and behavior to better understand their likely audience in order to develop useful buyer personas.

2. Consider marketing innovative products, services, or businesses 

Even though a DINK couple might not feel ready to make a lifelong commitment of parenthood, they generally tend to be early adapters and interested in innovation. They may also have more time and money to learn about and experience new things.

Even if one product doesn’t appear terribly innovative, it’s good to focus upon any fresh or transformative aspects of the business. As an example, several vitamin companies have developed successful apps that help customers figure out which of their brand of supplements will benefit their customer’s health the most.

3. Promote company values

In contrast to the image of a DINK couple as very focused upon themselves, many use some of their extra time to volunteer and stay current with social issues. As a generation, most Millennials appear to care about patronizing businesses that share their values. An audience development agency should consider this trait as they develop a picture of their market and the marketing message they intend to send to them.

4. How certain markets may appeal to potential traits of a DINK audience

This list explains some of the types of markets that might appeal to a DINK audience:

  • Luxury goods: This market tends to like to share their experiences and not mind paying for value. Nice cars, high-quality, gourmet food, and similar luxury goods can reflect well on them in their own eyes and that of their social circle.
  • Things to do with spare time: Without the demands of getting kids to bed or scheduling babysitters, leisure activities may attract  couples without kids. They might take the chance to buy a boat or learn to cook their own gourmet meals.
  • Travel: Couples without children might have an easier time scheduling vacations because they won’t need to book things around school and kid’s activities. They’re also likely to travel further and not need to skimp on a budget vacation because it’s just the two of them.
  • Experiences: Again, innovative experiences will tend to attract DINK couples, and that might include anything from new entertainment and museum special events to a home automation system or solar panels. If the business must market something more ordinary, like soup mix, perhaps they could incorporate a message about eco-friendly packaging or service projects the business supports to demonstrate their corporate values.

Why market to the DINK demographic?

Forgoing parenthood and having both partners in a marriage work does not necessarily mean a couple enjoys a high income. Still, people without children may also be able to save money over their parenting peers. They may buy or rent smaller houses and apartments and don’t need to share disposable income with kids. Also, dual-income, no-children families may have more free time to enjoy some of the finer things and more energy to invest in learning about them.  Having time and money can make them an excellent target market for the right businesses.

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Four Audience Targeting Strategies for Your Product

Audience targeting can help you identify who your ideal customers are and help you create relevant and resonant marketing messages.

Few things are sadder than wasted potential — and that applies to both people and products. If you build a great product or service and can’t get it in front of the right audiences, your odds of realizing its potential are slim. This is one reason why audience targeting is so critically important.

Audience targeting 101

The practice of audience targeting is straightforward: You take a large customer segment and break it down into smaller groups in order to target likely buyers within these groups.

The animating principle of audience segmentation is this: General messages sent to large undifferentiated audiences don’t resonate the same way that specific messages sent to highly targeted audiences do.

In other words, why waste your time selling your product or service to people who aren’t interested? Instead, find the people who are interested and send them messages custom-designed to appeal to their wants, needs and interests.

Audience segmentation comes in four general types:

  • Geographic: The state, city, neighborhood etc. where your audience lives.
  • Behavioral: This evaluates spending habits, brand interactions etc.
  • Demographics: Includes age, gender, marital status, income level, education level etc.
  • Psychographic: Personality, beliefs, values, interests etc.

By considering these four factors, brands can begin to develop highly tailored audience segments and deliver customized marketing messages. This allows brands to speak directly to consumers, creating specific messages for specific audiences. This creates higher-quality leads, more loyal customers, and differentiates your brand from others.

Smart strategies for audience targeting

In order to get maximum value from your audience targeting efforts, it’s important to lay the groundwork by following some tried and true segmentation strategies. Some of the most impactful strategies include the following:

  • Begin with buyer personas. The buyer persona is the foundational document for targeting purposes. These personas are descriptions of your ideal customers (some businesses may have two or three, others up to a dozen). These personas are constructed from market research, internal data, demographic data, and other sources. Once a brand has well-defined buyer personas in place, the process of targeting specific audiences becomes viable.
  • Use an identity graph. Such graphs are powerful algorithmic tools for identifying who your highest-spending customers are and where you can reach them. By analyzing mobile advertising IDs and email address data, brands can gain deep insight into what potential customers are searching for along with their purchasing behavior.
  • Use Facebook and other social platforms for custom targeting. It’s not the most complex approach, but Facebook has more information on our interests than any other organization. It’s no stretch to say Facebook knows most of its users better than they know themselves. Brands can use Facebook’s backend to set up demographic, behavioral and psychographic profiles that target the right audiences.
  • AI-assisted chatbots. With the right design and programming, a chatbot can significantly improve UX and glean critical targeting data from site or app visitors. This data can be used to determine whether visitors fall within target markets. Marketing messages can then be tailored according to this segmentation.

Locating the ideal audience insights agency

Audience targeting has long been a critical part of advertising and marketing, but today’s digital tools are making the job easier than ever before. At Bigeye we have the domain expertise and technological resources to help you find the right audience and serve them with the perfect messages.

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Know Your Audience with Persona Development

You may think that you already know your target marketing audience, but without persona development, you may be shooting in the dark.

It’s marketing 101: The first step to effective branding and advertising is knowing your audience. And there is no better way to fully understand your audience than a well-crafted buyer persona.

Forbes Magazine Councils Member and contributing writer Jon Simpson defines buyer personas as “semi-fictional characters that personify your ideal customer” and called them “imperative to having accurate audience insights.”

Many business leaders deem the development of buyer personas superfluous, overconfident in their natural ability to connect with existing and prospective customers. But without comprehensive and effective persona development, critical misjudgments can easily occur. And these misjudgments can make the ultimate difference between success and failure.

The benefits of persona development

It is essential for brand strategy experts and content marketers to draft and refine effective buyer personas. No matter how busy they happen to be and how anxious they are to get on to the content creation stages of marketing campaign development process, they absolutely must make time for this key preparatory measure.

Persona development gives direction and focus to all of your marketing efforts by providing a single audience template that everyone in your organization can use when developing overall marketing strategy and spearheading specific advertising efforts. As the independent content marketing resource Content Marketing Institute puts it, “Documenting your personas, even if done quickly, is key to keeping everybody focused on the same audience.”

Persona development is particularly useful for companies with multiple stakeholders and/or team members who hold decidedly different opinions when it comes to marketing and branding strategies. By determining buyer personas that epitomize target audiences as a whole, companies can not only structure a unified marketing vision, but make all narratives involving company brand and products/services far more compelling, memorable, and ultimately effective.

From your official website and social media pages to your traditional and digital advertising efforts, all elements of your marketing outreach can (and probably will be) refined and optimized to meet the specific wants and needs of your audience as you identify them. However, by creating clearly defined buyer personas ahead of time, you can avoid the tremendous amount of time and monetary expense that go hand in hand with major redesign and redevelopment.

How to develop an effective buyer persona

Although even a rudimentary buyer persona is better than no buyer persona at all, it goes without saying that putting more forethought and care into the persona development process will inevitably yield better results. For this reason, organizations that are serious about marketing and branding success typically employ the help of a specialized persona development agency when engaging in this process.

The Content Marketing Institute breaks the development of an effective buyer persona into five practical steps. Keep in mind that each of these steps is an involved process in and of itself, requiring significant data gathering and analysis using modalities that range from general market research to customer/prospective customer interviews and surveys.

Step 1: Visualize the ideal customer.

Through extensive research, analysis, and projection, develop a single fictional customer who represents your target audience as a whole. For optimum results, go far beyond basic demographics such as gender and income level to examine the details of this customer’s professional and personal life.

Step 2: Consider that customer’s applicable wants and needs.

What are the common objectives and responsibilities of your ideal customer? What obstacles might stand in his or her way?

Step 3: Characterize that customer’s role in relation to the purchase of products and/or services.

What form does your ideal customer’s buying process take? What questions is that customer likely to ask before making a purchase?

Step 4: Consider that customer’s communication preferences.

What media channels does your ideal customer use on a regular basis? Where does he or she go to get information?

Step 5: Marry your buyer persona insights to your strategic company goals.

A great way to do this is to craft one or more engagement scenarios that take buyer personas through various prospective consumer interactions with your company.

For more information

If you want to learn more about the benefits of persona development and/or get professional assistance with the persona development process, contact a skilled and knowledgeable representative of Bigeye today. If you are looking for a persona development agency with vision, we’d love to show you what we have to offer.

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Transmedia Storytelling as an Effective Theme Park Marketing Strategy

In a lot of ways, developing an effective theme park marketing strategy evokes quite the “roller coaster” of experiences. There are highs and lows and oftentimes, it even throws you for a loop!

But- it doesn’t have to always be that way, particularly when you have a good sense of what your target audience is looking for in its theme park experience. At our marketing agency in Orlando, we understand that people visit theme parks to be entertained, excited and thrilled, but also to relax and escape everyday life. One of the best ways to get people to choose your park over your competitors’ is to tap into their emotions through emotive storytelling.

This isn’t a story with an introduction, a middle and a conclusion like you might’ve been told in your third grade English class. We’re talking about transmedia storytelling, which describes the art of being able to tap into what people are thinking about, and being able to give them great content and visuals to help inspire them. And, by inspiring potential customers through images of what a great vacation could do for them, you’ll hopefully also be able to inspire them to buy plane tickets to Florida to spend a week at a local resort hotel.

In telling an emotional story, your imagery and words should reflect your commitment to this appeal. A photo of kids laughing on a double decker carousel in LEGOLAND’S Fun Town is going to grab a child’s attention and make them want to escape in the same way. A bullet-point list of facts about your park? Maybe, but think about how much more the photo might resonate with a parent who has a LEGO- obsessed child.

Disney is a master at this, and Universal has appeal through its rides inspired by famous favorite films. A perfect example of incorporating media and other immersive storytelling techniques into a marketing strategy is the soon to be newest Universal Water Park- Volcano Bay. Keep your eyes open for this marketing plan, it’s going to be one for the books (get it? Since we’re telling a story? We think we’re funny.)

Unfortunately not every theme park has learned to tap into that universal trigger that keeps people thinking about their experience there through the generations. So if you’re a theme park marketer, one of the most important things you can do is focus on the importance of story in everything that represents your brand. And if you need ideas on how to bring that story to life, contact the expert team at our Orlando ad agency to help you navigate the twists and turns of this exhilarating industry!

What Drones Can Teach Marketers About Knowing Their Audience

Horse races are in the past and drone races are taking over the tech and the advertising world – you’re gonna need an audience segmentation consultant.

Any great audience segmentation consultant will tell you it’s essential to know your market. Yet the real challenge often comes next: How do you make your brand stand out to your audience in a cluttered advertising landscape?
Given how fractured the industry has become with the emergence of social media and other digital mediums, combining those two objectives is a core challenge — one that often marks the difference between success and failure.

If you want to see a current example of brands negotiating this challenge in a lightning-fast, obstacle-filled environment, look no further than professional drone racing.

Connecting to audiences via unmanned aerial exhibitions

The Drone Racing League (DRL) is a professional league for people who race their drones on real tracks at speeds in excess of 80 miles-per-hour. The league also offers one intriguing example of brands using highly-targeted marketing in a new and unusual setting to reach their desired audience.

Why is a relatively niche organization such as the DRL notable in this context? For brands, it’s all about positioning and connection. Telecom giant Cox Communications recently partnered with the DRL to create a Cox marketing campaign that was entirely conceived and executed by the league’s internal media and marketing teams.

The goal was simple: Position Cox not as a stodgy legacy cable company, but rather an innovation-focused firm dedicated to building the infrastructure of the future for its audience. Partnering with a cutting-edge sport rooted in innovative technology positioned Cox in a way that a similar partnership with a Madison Avenue ad agency could not.

As part of the campaign, Cox sponsored one of the DRL’s top pilots — Nick “Wild Willy” Willard — and created a clever ad focusing on the drone racing star. In the ad, Willard pilots his Cox WiFi-powered drone through his mother’s house, without breaking anything valuable. This ad was used in a multi-channel campaign designed to boost awareness for Cox and the DRL.

Advertising at high speed for a skeptical audience

As you might imagine, advertising on a drone track comes with some specific challenges. Fans of drone racing tend to skew younger and are highly tech savvy. Unlike NASCAR fans (who don’t mind being barraged with ads), drone racing fans largely recoil at overt marketing. Which is why an audience segmentation consultant is necessary.

DRL CEO Nicholas Horbaczewski told Adweek that if he installs a conventional billboard at a drone race, fans would “throw up all over it.”  He added that drone racing fans find such advertising displays “offensive” and don’t wish to communicate with brands in this format.

To address this preference, the DRL integrates advertising within the course in the form of physical obstacles named for advertisers. Drone pilots must navigate course obstacles such as the “Swatch Gate.” in order to successfully complete the race.

An even more ambitious brand integration will occur later in 2019, when the DRL will partner with Lockheed Martin to stage races pitting human drone pilots against drones flown by AI. More than 250 research universities have applied to enter the contest, which will offer more than $2 million in prizes.

Looking for a marketing and advertising co-pilot?

Once you understand who your audience is — likes, dislikes, interests, habits etc. — then you can devise new and creative ways to reach them. Our team is dedicated to the proposition that it’s not just where you are, it’s who you’re reaching.

If you’d like to hear more about what a high-level audience segmentation consultant can do for your brand, don’t wait to contact us today.