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Marketing Typologies

Marketers love to create typologies in which divide American society into various demographic target groups, such as Jewish-Americans, Asian- Americans, Black Americans, children, teenagers, senior citizens, and so on. For example, New Strategist books put out an electronic catalogue in 2016 that lists different kinds of consumers their books deal with.

The table of contents of this catalogue is shown below


American Attitudes, 8th ed. New! American Generations, 8th ed.

American Health, 3rd ed.

American Marketplace, 12th ed.

American Men and Women, 2nd ed. Americans and Their Homes, 3rd ed. Demographics of the U.S., 4th ed. Racial and Ethnic Diversity, 7th ed.


Baby Boomers, 8th ed. Generation X, 8th ed. Millennials, 6th ed.


American Buyers, 3rd ed. American Incomes, 10th ed.

Best Customers, 11th ed. New! Household Spending, 20th ed. New!


Age, 9th ed.

Apparel, 10th ed.

Beverages, 11th ed. Entertainment, 11th ed. Groceries, 12th ed.

Health Care, 11th ed.

Household Furnishings, 12th ed.

Information/Consumer Electronics, 7th ed.

Pets, 12th ed.

Race/Hispanic Origin, 10th ed. Restaurants and Carry-Outs, 12th ed. Transportation, 11th ed.

Travel, 11th ed.

Executive Summary, 10th ed.


Who We Are: Asians, 2nd ed. Who We Are: Blacks, 2nd ed. Who We Are: Hispanics, 2nd ed.

In their 2006 catalogue, we find a description of a typical book—this one on teens titled Getting Wiser to Teens. Here is some material from the catalogue description of the book:

This expanded update of Peter Zollo’s popular Wise Up to Teens gives readers a thorough understanding of what teens think, feel, and need, what they do, what they buy, and marketers should—and shouldn’t—reach them. Brimming with valuable insights and information, the 11 chapters in Getting Wiser to Teens: Mores Insights into Marketing to Teenagers examines:

Why Teens are Important Consumers; Teen Psyche; Teen Attitudes; Teen Types, Trends, and Music; Teen Social Concerns; Teens at Home and School; Teens and Friends; Teens Lifestyles; Teens and Brands...

Zollo (2006) obtained this information from a TRU study and “countless qualitative research studies.” There are similar books on millenials, baby boomers, and general xers. These books, New Strategist suggests, provide marketers with the kind of detailed information they need to plan advertising campaigns. The fact that many of them have many editions suggests that marketers find them useful.

I will skip some other typologies, such as the VALS (Values and Lifestyles) typology, which argues there are nine different kinds ofAmerican consumers, based on their state of mind or psychological profiles, to examine one of the most interesting typologies, the Claritas/Nielsen typology, which argues there are more than sixty different kinds of Americans.

  • 1. Upper Crust 26. The Cosmopolitans
  • 2. Blue Blood Estates 27. Middleburg Managers
  • 3. Movers & Shakers 28. Traditional Times
  • 4. Young Digerati 29. American Dreams
  • 5. Country Squires 30. Suburban Sprawl
  • 6. Winner’s Circle 31. Urban Achievers
  • 7. Money & Brains 32. New Homesteaders
  • 8. Executive Suites 33. Big Sky Families
  • 9. Big Fish, Small Pond 34. White Picket Fences
  • 10. Second City Elite 35. Boomtown Singles
  • 11. God’s Country 36. Blue-Chip Blues
  • 12. Brite Lites, Li’l City 37. Mayberry-ville
  • 13. Upward Bound 38. Simple Pleasures
  • 14. New Empty Nests 39. Domestic Duos
  • 15. Pools & Patios 40. Close-In Couples
  • 16. Bohemian Mix 41. Sunset City Blues
  • 17. Beltway Boomers 42. Red, White, & Blues
  • 18. Kids & Cul-de-Sacs 43. Heartlanders
  • 19. Home Sweet Home 44. New Beginnings
  • 20. Fast-Track Families 45. Blue Highways.
  • 21. Gray Power 46. Old Glories
  • 22. Young Influentials 47. City Startups
  • 23. Greenbelt Sports 48. Young & Rustic
  • 24. Up-and-Comers 49. American Classics
  • 25. Country Casuals 50. Kid Country USA
  • 51. Shotguns & Pickups 59. Urban Elders
  • 52. Suburban Pioneers 60. Park Bench Set
  • 53. Mobility Blues 61. City Roots
  • 54. Multi-Culti Mosaic 62. Hometown Retired
  • 55. Golden Ponds 63. Family Thrifts
  • 56. Crossroads Villagers 64. Bedrock America
  • 57. Old Miltowns 65. Big City Blues
  • 58. Back Country 66. Low Rise Living

In recent elaborations, Claritas/Nielsen has broken this list down into categories, based on age and other demographic characteristics, but I think it best to present the list this way to show the different categories of consumers.

I live in Mill Valley, which is in Marin County, one of the most affluent counties in the United States. My zip code is 94941. In this zip code, you find a number of clusters from the top of the list: 01, Upper Crust; 02, Blue Blood Estates; 03, Movers and Shakers; 10, Second City Elites; and 12 Bright Lights/Little City.

Claritas/Nielsen offers the following information about 03: Movers and Shakers for 2013:

U.S. Households: 1,45,997 (1.55%)

Median Household Income: $100, 170

Lifestyle Traits

Shop at Nordstroms Play Tennis Read Yoga Journal Watch NHL games Drive a Land Rover

Demographic Traits

Unban city/Suburban Income: Wealthy Producing Assets: Elite Age: 45-64

We can see that Claritas/Nielsen has a great deal ofinformation on each of its sixty-six kinds of Americans—information that, logic suggests, will be of interest to marketers and advertisers.

Our sociological perspective shows that there are many different ways to categorize consumers, from the Grid-Group theorists’ four lifestyles to Claritas/Nielsen’s sixty-six kinds of Americans. What sociologists provide is information about groups of people who are similar to one another in certain ways—information that helps marketers know more about their target audiences. If you want to sell Land Rovers, advertising that reaches people in Marin County is probably a good idea since it is one of the most affluent counties in America. When I drive around Marin County, I see many Land Rovers, though BMWs (Basic Marin Wheels), Mercedes, and lately Audis, are much more common.

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