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Apr 1, 2007
They have often failed to understand this generation's reputation as individualists. At best, marketers acknowledged the sweeping 19 year age span by splitting the segment into halves and addressing older, "leading edge," Boomers, which are those born between 1946 and 1957, and younger, "trailing edge," Boomers, those born between 1958 and 1964.
The observed differences in purchasing behavior between these two groups are attributed to underlying shared social, political and cultural touch points. But Boomers across ages have made different lifestyle choices that significantly impact their buying tendencies. No shared cultural milieu resonates with all Boomers, according to Doug Anderson of ACNielsen Homescan & Spectra and Laurel Kennedy, author of, "Age Lessons."
These two marketing experts contend that, "household composition," is a more accurate method for measuring the buying tendencies of inter-generational variations among Boomers. Under this method, the overriding factor dictating Boomer subsegments proves to be the presence of children in the home.
A detailed Nielsen Homescan & Spectra analysis of Boomer households reveals eight distinct segments that cluster into two broad groups. The first four of these Boomer segments are those with children under 18, and it represents 39.7 percent of the whole, while the four segments without children represent 60.3 percent of Boomer households. Four of the groups, according to the analysts, are aligned as follows, with both the late and early Boomer age groups:
The researchers found the four remaining groups particularly interesting in that their heads of households aren't linked to any age, but span the entire Baby Boomer generation.
Looking at household composition, the researchers argue, provides a more accurate method for tailoring campaigns to Boomers, based on wealth, education, ethnicity, household makeup, and a myriad of other characteristics. Understanding the subtle nuances among Boomers can spell the difference between a successful marketing campaign and a complete misfire.
Topic: Business Strategies
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