The Clustered World: How We Live, What We Buy, and What It All Means about Who We Are

Michael J. Weiss, Author Little Brown and Company $29.95 (336p) ISBN 978-0-316-92920-2
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.)
Reviewed on: 01/03/2000
Release date: 01/01/2000
Genre: Nonfiction
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