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9/11 Generation Will Be Risk-Averse, NCDM Speaker Says

CHICAGO—Marketers should keep in mind that the 9/11 generation, or children born after 2001, will be conformists as they grow older, said a speaker at yesterday’s NCDM conference.

“One thing is already clear, this will be a generation that values fitting in,” said Ann A. Fishman, president of Generational Targeted Marketing Corp., New Orleans.

During their formative years, this generation is being over-protected: at home because of the rash of kidnappings and Amber Alerts; at school because of Columbine-type incidences; and in society because of terrorism.

“An overprotected generation tends to be risk-averse and therefore conformists as adults,” said Fishman, who also offered her interpretation of the other generations. They include:

GI generation (those born between 1901 and 1924): This group is up to date, is literate and respects old ways and old values.

Silent generation (1925-42): This group is made up of vital, active people, and marketers should always focus on “lifestyle and lifestage, never age.” Fishman said members of this group value the opinions of experts and “it’s now-or-never time to indulge.” She also said they like to help others, particularly their grandchildren.

Baby boomers (1943-60): This group loves values, cares about the environment, distrusts authority and wants to be in control. Its members think they will be young forever, are nostalgic, spend money more than save it and love to learn — but they want the information in short takes. She also said they have an overwhelming sense of entitlement.

Generation X (1961-81): Generation Xers demand an honest, straight-forward approach. No other generation is so market savvy. Xers have been shopping all their lives — on television, on the Internet and at the mall. They expect you to deliver on your marketing promises “Burn them once, lose them forever,” Fishman warned.

Generation Y (1982-2000): Influenced by their brand-conscious boomer parents, this group is attracted to brands at an early age and remains loyal. A brand name means a company stands behind its product, the product is of a certain quality and it will be recognized by their peers.

Once you know these groups, Fishman said, “using emotional mindsets and feelings will help you develop effective marketing strategies.”

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