Direct Hit

New Ages

Imagine an 18-year-old standing next to a 49-year-old. Now show me a marketer who can draw similarities between the two, and I'll show you the laughingstock of his industry. "The [18- to 49-year-old] market doesn't make any sense," says Cheryl Russell, editor of The Boomer Report and editor in chief of New Strategist Publications in Ithaca, New York. "That's just sloppy marketing. Now they've tried to move it up to 25- to 54-year-olds, which is equally silly."

"We're living in a world in which the numbers don't mean what they used to," says Goldstein. "People used to go from one stage to the next, and there was fairly good agreement about the ages at which you do certain things. But what we're seeing now is no longer linear--it's circular. People repeat stages and recycle their lives, so you have people raising a family, getting divorced, and then raising another family. You can have two men who are 64 years old, and one is retired and driving around the country in his Winnebago, while the other one is just remarried with a toddler in the house."

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This article was originally published in the October 1996 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Direct Hit.

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