Help me pigeonhole people like an advertiser!
April 15, 2009 8:16 AM   Subscribe

Demographer/Marketer-Filter: I'm seeking an exhaustive list/explanation of all the acronyms and mnemonics like DINK, BOBO, buppie, yuppie, slackers, boomers, etc., especially if it includes information on marketing demographics that focuses on lifestyle and consumption habits by zipcode. Free online resources (including journal articles available through university libraries) are much preferred, as are complete typologies over ad hoc descriptions.

I believe I have read that marketers and advertising folks have a fairly complete typology of consumer categories for households and individuals, so that they can tell which consumers are trend-setters and early adopters, which are "Class X" refusists, which ones will go bankrupt soon, that sort of thing.

I'm not trying to sell anything myself, just working on a project on identity and personhood and looking for research materials from this somewhat alien field of study-for-hire. If there are good books out there, I'll take them too: I'm already thinking in terms of The Big Sort and The Rebel Sell, but more books along those lines would be appreciated!
posted by anotherpanacea to Society & Culture (6 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Have you looked into Claritas and PRIZM? They specialize in ZIP code segmentation based on the premise that "you are where you live." There are 64 distinct PRIZM segments.
posted by Andy's Gross Wart at 8:30 AM on April 15, 2009 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Wow! That's awesome: exactly the kind of thing I was looking for, in fourteen minutes flat! "Affluentials" indeed.

If there are competing typologies, I'd love to see them too, as well as if there's any more critical research on this kind of thing.
posted by anotherpanacea at 8:41 AM on April 15, 2009

This blog post has links to multiple such categorizers like You Are Where You Live, but a bunch of the links are dead.
posted by Zed at 8:43 AM on April 15, 2009

Best answer: VALS and GeoVALS are other types of segmentation based on consumer behavior. You might also be interested in Yankelovich and Simmons.
posted by Andy's Gross Wart at 10:07 AM on April 15, 2009 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: The VALS typology is also very interesting. I'm not sure what to make of the two company websites you sent me to. Could you deep link a little so I can get a sense of what to look for?
posted by anotherpanacea at 10:45 AM on April 15, 2009

VALS classifications originate from surveys. A respondent is placed into a segment based on their level of agreement or disagreement with the statement. The process of identifying these clusters or segments is known as cluster analysis.

VALS is a generic segmentation tool. Many companies conduct proprietary segmentation studies to identify segments to which they can market. For example, an auto maker might have the statements: I am looking for a high performance car or My car says a lot about who I am as a person or A car is only a way to get from point A to point B.

I don't have any specific books to recommend, but if you read about quantitative market research techniques, you should be able to learn more about the processes involved in segmenting consumers.
posted by Andy's Gross Wart at 3:11 PM on April 15, 2009

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