Targeted Generational Marketing

"Over the last 18 generations in America, each has been shaped by the history he or she has lived through during their formative years. These are lifelong characteristics. Throughout history four personality types repeat themselves in a certain fixed order almost without exception. They are: Civic - concerned with others.  Adaptive - they go with the flow. Idealistic - these are the dreamers.  Reactive - they react against the status quo to generate something new.

GI Generation - born 1901-1924

This is the group that brought us out of the great depression to become a world power. They helped win WWII, the war that saved the world. This is the group that put a man on the moon and is nicknamed the 'can-do' generation. Members including John Glenn, Walter Cronkite, Presidents Ford, Carter, Reagan and Superman was their hero. This group is the most literate of American generations. They are avid readers who want to know more about a company's history and are big customers of catalogs. The GI Generation invented the prepackaged concept from products, all-inclusive vacation bus trips to shopping malls and they look for familiar brands that give them a sense of security.

The Silent Generation - born 1925-1942

This is the generation that likes to help people but while it hasn't produced a president, has produced every great civil rights leader and almost every principal feminist. Leaders include Martin Luther King, Jr., Gloria Steinem, Robert Kennedy and Justice Sandra Day O'Conner. Growing up in the shadow of the Great Depression and WWII the 'Silents' did not have to make tough decisions. Their defining war was the Korean Conflict which they did not call a war. This group is the most overlooked group of consumers relative to their spending potential. While many are newly retired, this group is still active, vital and picture themselves 10 years younger than their chronological age. They die their hair; take Estrogen and Viagra. They like to spend money on their families, their grandchildren and themselves as they buy their retirement castles and furnish it they way they want, including the purchase of tableware.    

Baby Boomers - born 1943-1960

By its sheer size and commercial clout, members of this generation are now reaching their peak earning years and have been one of the most closely tracked generations ever. This is the first generation of American women who have made their own money and they're not afraid to spend it. Often referred to as the 'me generation' this is the first modern generation in America to value the individual over the group. Members include Hillary Clinton, Oprah Winfrey and Spike Lee.   Boomers believe that being in control enables them to get the good life they feel entitled to.    The time-starved boomers want ideas for easy and casual entertaining at home as they are busy juggling children, jobs and aging parents.  

Generation X - born 1961-1981

This is America's first, truly multi-cultural generation that includes Kristi Yamaguchi, Leonardo de Caprio, Brooke Shields, Michael J. Fox, Tiger Woods and Whitney Houston.   These street-savvy survivors have endured divorce, one-parent families, stepfamilies, working parents and latchkey lives. They've grown up with violence on TV, in the streets and in their schools.   They value real life fundamentals, are anxious for stability and are a home loving generation.   They will accept a lower salary if it means working at a job that fits their lifestyle.   They are savvy shoppers at the mall and on the Internet; they are price, quality, information and service- conscious.

Generation Y - born 1982 to the present

This is turning out to be a civic generation that cares about others. They feel empowered and fully capable of making changes for the better. Examples from this group are Liann Rimes, the country and western singer, Tara Lipinski, Olympic Gold Medal ice skater and tennis star Serina Williams.   This is the first generation to grow up globally connected watching MTV and doing research on the Internet. The economic power of Generation Y is greater than any generation of teenagers before them; they are a financial powerhouse, a trend that will become even stronger in the next decade. Generation Y is optimistic about their future. They want advertisers to relate to their real-life experiences. Girls in this group like to dress up and this characteristic is likely to carry over into decorating their homes."

(above comments by Ann Fishman, President, Generational Target Marketing October 1999 during the New York Tabletop Market at Forty One Madison)