"Primary age group: 35-64... Median household income: $80,600... Median home value: $247,000... Predominant ideology: moderate Republican... Preferences: car phones, domestic wine, Land Rovers."
If this sounds like you, then you're a part of what's known as the "Winner's Circle" cluster. If not, then you probably fall into one of 61 other lifestyle clusters with names such as "Urban Gold Coast," "Pools & Patios," "God's Country," "Golden Ponds," and "Shotguns & Pickups." In The Clustered World, demographic detective Michael Weiss draws on the work of market research firm Claritas and its PRIZM cluster system to render a richly detailed view of the many neighborhoods and demographic segments that make up the United States. According to Weiss, the image of America as a melting pot is simply inaccurate--think salad bar, instead. He writes, "For a nation that's always valued community, this breakup of the mass market into balkanized population segments is as momentous as the collapse of Communism.... Today, the country's new motto should be 'E pluribus pluriba': 'Out of many, many.'"
In addition to explaining the cluster concept, Weiss shows how marketers can put clusters to work to understand consumers better and sell everything from college educations to Dodge Caravans. Weiss also looks beyond the U.S. population to lifestyle clusters in Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, South Africa, and Spain. Marketers and social observers will find this pointillist view incredibly useful and perhaps a little disturbing. The overriding truth behind The Clustered World is that, like it or not, "You are like your neighbors." And in case you're wondering what cluster you belong to, Weiss includes the URL for the Claritas Web site (yawyl.claritas.com), where you can enter your ZIP code to find out more about you and your neighbors. --Harry C. Edwards
From Publishers Weekly
It's a brave new world for marketers, thanks to the data-gathering efforts of computers. With their number-crunching ability, it's now possible to identify many characteristics shared by residents of specific neighborhoods, including age, income level, education, buying habits, favorite forms of entertainment and consumption of brand-name products. Weiss is one of the pioneers in developing this form of demographic profile, first introduced in 1988 in his book, The Clustering of America. A decade later, as his new book relates, much more is known and some things have changed. From the established urban areas of the U.S. to the emerging consumer nations of Eastern Europe, clustering analysis provides a practical snapshot of attitudes and behaviors. Among the 62 distinct American clusters described here are unique groups such as "bohemian mix" (they prefer jogging to golfing and like foreign videos), "old Yankee rows" (stamp collecting is out, lottery tickets are in) and "blue blood estates" (country clubs, housekeepers and tennis are popular) . Readers unfamiliar with the modern world of marketing may find this off-putting, but the cutesy labels and standardized profiles have turned out to represent a bonanza--for advertisers, product developers, politicians and TV producers, among others--because they produce results. As Weiss states, "Forget race, national origin, age, household composition, and wealth. The characteristic that defines and separates Americans more than any other is the cluster." A minor complaint is the promotional nature of the contents, which focuses on the work of a single market research company. Maps and illus. (Jan.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.