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The Age Curve: How to Profit from the Coming Demographic Storm Hardcover – July 3, 2008

4.5 out of 5 stars 64 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“To gain an overview of the coming trend, begin by reading the entertaining, inspiring new book, "The Age Curve: How to Profit from the Coming Demographic Storm," by Kenneth Gronbach.” —Dr. Mildred Culp, “Workwise” syndicated columnist

“‘The Age Curve’ has one overwhelming reason to read and digest the book: it will make you re-think what you thought was obvious.” —Inland Empire Business Journal

“With a little guidance from ‘The Age Curve,’ readers will be better able to set their company on a path to future sales success.” —Houston Business Journal

“This lucid, well-written book is thought-provoking and accessible to a wide audience, and is especially valuable reading for business students and practitioners. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All levels.” —Choice

"Gronbach will inspire you to think beyond his examples, not only about what has already worked, but what also needs to be done in future." -- QRCA Views

"The book takes on what could be a mind-numbing topic, but Gronbach does it with interesting style and intellectual edification....The Age Curve is as enlightening as it is sobering." --Springfield Business Journal

Book Description

For years, marketers have held on to unwavering beliefs that have dictated how they market to their consumers. But the hard truth is that the changes we see in marketing and business are based on one undeniable factor—the size of the generations we are selling to. As each generation ages, what they buy and how much they buy will change. Each product and service has a “best customer” that sustains a business. As these customers grow up, the smartest marketers will stay ahead of them—and their money. In The Age Curve, marketing guru Kenneth Gronbach shows executives and entrepreneurs how to anticipate this wave of predictable demand and ride it to success.

Gronbach reveals how our largest generations, the Baby Boomers and Generation Y, are redefining how we market and how businesses can anticipate their needs more effectively. Complete with entertaining examples of companies like Apple who have perfected their strategies for building a loyal customer base, as well as those who haven’t (Levi Strauss and Honda Motorcycle), this book will show readers:

• how to determine their best customers • how successful companies are earning the loyalty of Generation Y and cultivating allegiance to their products for years to come • why Generation X is a much less valuable market than any of us have been led to believe • and much more

Both shocking and compelling, The Age Curve will change the way companies look at their customers and how they market to them.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: AMACOM (July 3, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0814401813
  • ISBN-13: 978-0814401811
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.1 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #553,771 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By D. Friedlander on June 27, 2008
Format: Hardcover
No, really, it is.

When I come across a book, speaker, slideshow or tv show that takes a complicated or mundane topic and explains it as clearly as Ken Gronbach has explained the essence of demographic transitions in "The Age Curve," I applaud the author. When the writing is not only clear and concise but also entertaining, I stand up and cheer.

Gronbach uses stories from his years of experience in the advertising and marketing business to explain what is important about basic data like how many babies were born in which years during the last century or so in the USA. Instead of being an actuary's idea of a boring meeting (no offense to actuaries!) it is a lively and humorous read, with lots of slap-your-forhead, "well, DUH!" moments. With real-life applications like blue-jean and motorcycle sales, stories about leftovers at the dinner table, and discussion of current events like immigration and China, Gronbach makes what some consider a dry topic into something you'll talk about at cocktail parties, with your spouse as you plan your future together, and, perhaps most importantly, at the conference table with your business associates.

After reading this book, you will start to see every issue that attracts or confounds you differently. You will analyze every business challenge, measure every political argument, and make every investment decision from a new perspective. And whenever you run into some executive making a lame excuse about not being able to predict the future and how it might affect stockholders, you will want to slap them with a copy of this book.

This book is a 250-page "a-ha moment.
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Format: Hardcover
Have you ever gone to a movie because it had a really funny trailer - but been disappointed after viewing the entire film? You feel ripped off because all the good parts were shown in that three minute preview and now you'll never get that two hours of your life back. That's how I felt after reading The Age Curve.

I visited Kenneth Gronbach's website before purchasing his book. He had some interesting things to say so I bought the book. Don't make the same mistake I did: all the worthwhile info is on his website / blog.

Out of 241 pages he has only a few dozen pages worth of good material (evidenced by the larger-than-average font size IMHO). The book is also very repetitive - something I could forgive if it weren't for other glaring problems.

Okay, here is his thesis in a nutshell: the US population we call Gen X doesn't consume as much because there are fewer of them (roughly 9 Xers for every 10 Boomers). This causes beer sales, motorcycle sales, home sales, etc to decline. Things will stay in decline until Gen Y is old enough to start buying homes, cars, etc.

So what does Gronbach suggest? Retailers should write off the Gen Xers entirely. Ignore 69 million people approaching their prime spending years and prepare for the Gen Y gravy train. What idiocy. Besides, what's a struggling retailer to do for the next five to ten years while Gen Y slugs through college and their 20-something poverty years? Gronbach has been consulting with big corporations for too long.

To make matters worse: Gronbach doesn't give any worthwhile suggestions for how to market to Gen Y. He spends page after page hammering into the readers head that we must market to Gen Y and then has little "how to" advice.
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Format: Perfect Paperback
I'm astounded by all the positive reviews on this book. While the author's premise has validity as ONE ASPECT of a number of things that affect our economy (among other things), he completely leaves out many other prominent factors. You wouldn't think it would be possible to generalize and present single-minded opinions unsubstantiated by facts as much as this author does without his readers screaming "enough already."

The inconsistencies and inaccuracies throughout the book are rampant. In one chapter, he reports that Generation Y-ers will be the most "green conscious" in history--with environmentalism being first and foremost in their minds. In another, he proclaims that direct snail mail is the best way to get around Generation Y's preoccupation with the Internet and lack of interest (and therefore lack of exposure to commercials) in traditional television.

His research on this seems to stem from what his two Generation Y daughters gravitate towards. Which is it? Are they green, or are they junk mail junkies? I don't know one Generation Y person who gives a hoot about junk mail or paper advertisements of any kind.

And then there are the generalizations. My favorite was that the "Internet is not the way to market to Baby Boomers." Apparently we ARE willing to suffer through the commercialism of traditional radio and TV ads. Are you serious? Every Boomer I know is as Internet savvy as their kids (how else would we be able to know what our kids and grandkids are up to? LOL)

Then there is the repetition of adjectives and the sloppy grammar. If I read the phrase "diminutive Generation X" one more time, I was going to hurl! There are many other options for the word "small." Use a Thesaurus, Buddy!
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