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In that Social Media Video I blogged about yesterday, there was a stat that John pointed out to me: "By 2010 Gen Y will outnumber Baby Boomers."
John responded with:
The sociological studies put the baby boomers as 1945 Ė 1963-65 (depending on researcher), gen x as mid Ď60ís to mid 70ís or Ď80ís (depending on researcher) and generation y later.
Hereís the rub: baby boomers are the kids of WWII people. Gen X are boomerís babies. And gen Y are also boomerís babies or others that came along later and the sociologists donít know what to do with. This is not reasonable social science and I suppose I take particular issue because there is no place for anyone who didnít fight in WWI or WWII, and there is no place for anyone who is not a baby or the grandchild of the WWII people.
I think this whole thing of targeting a generation based on who you parents are probably made sense when women were done having babies at 25, but even then, I don't think it mattered, because men were still making babies at 50. Maybe generations mattered more when wealth was based more on succession (even if we're the same age, if I'm your Uncle, I inherit when your Dad inherits, but you gotta wait until your dad dies). Who's your daddy doesn't matter in an egalitarian society.
Age-based marketing, however, does matter. My youngest sister and my niece are about the same age, and they hang out together. The share culture not based on their parents, but on the media they have consumed and the technologies that have learned when they were young (as opposed to my history of the computer).
I would market to both of them exactly the same way, and it doesn't matter than one of them is the daughter of a depression kid and the other is the grand daughter of the depression kid (Gen Z?).
So, to sum up my rather vague point with a really esoteric statement: it's not generational marketing, its temporal culture -- not where you're from, but WHEN you're from.
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Kristen: Re: Generational Marketing is a Myth (or Who's your Daddy?)
Totally right. There are also other factors beyond age such as marital/parental status, your income, industry, etc.
I have more in common with my 26 year old sister than my 42 year old brother (who is a year younger than me) based on the fact that 1) he's got marriages behind him, I'm still single 2) I have worked most of my career in the tech industry, which is by its nature a "youthful" industry due to the changes 3) I'm female, she's female, he's obviously *not*.
It has nothing to do with our parents and everything to do with our experiences and where we are in life and how we got there.