What do you think of when you think of diversity? Go ahead. Try and think of diversity. I bet you can't do it. How many kinds of diversity do you think there are? And when did 'variety' become 'diversity'? Are you upset that I'm talking about race? No you should be upset that you're *thinking* about race. But that's what 'diversity' was invented to do, add racial consciousness to your thinking about variety.
So if you think about a demographic survey, you probably would put some 'diversity' questions on there, and you wouldn't end up with much that works in the real world of markets. You would just place yourself into the shallow but powerful world of identity politics, and naturally you would be angry. Now do you understand? So let's think a minute about markets and proper marketing.
When I started looking at demographics and psychographics in the 80s, I was supremely impressed by the work of Claritas, which has since been acquired by Nielsen. Claritas clustered demographic information, primarily by observing buying patterns by zipcode, into 54 clusters. They have extended the original PRIZM into two new clustering systems called P$YCLE and ConneXions.
The guy behind this Michael Weiss has probably made a couple fortunes. Here's a review of a book he wrote in 2000:
"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
So whereas far too many Americans have only learned to relate to each other in terms of race and gender and politics, things that really don't describe the actual choices we make in our lives, Weiss and others see how looking at what you actually purchase (thousands of times in you life) when you shop, are more accurate measures of your behavior.
This is why people who always try to identify others by these old static terms are poor beggars, but retailers get all the money. Retailers are really too smart to let race and gender be determining factors.
Here's my cluster: