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    By: J. Walker Smith, J. Walker Smith

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    For almost forty years, Yankelovich Partners has helped America's biggest companies understand and reach their customers. Their breakthrough MONITOR studies-annual surveys that analyze the values, beliefs, attitudes, and expectations that shape consumer decisions-not only pinpoint current trends, but predict where the market will be in the future.Rocking the Ages: The Yankelovich Report on Generational Marketing (HarperBusiness; May 21, 1997) by J. Walker Smith and Ann Clurman turns the spotlight on America's "generation gap" and transforms what was born as a political and social rallying cry into a sound foundation for profitable marketing. Defining the essence of three generations-the Matures (born between 1909-1945), the Baby Boomers (1946-1964), and the Generation-Xers (1965-1978)-it explores in telling detail the experiences, life skills, values, personal and professional aspirations, likes and dislikes, and hopes and fears that distinguish each generation. Drawing on this unprecedented data, it elucidates how and why each generation reacts to a vast range of marketplace issues-including technology and cyberspace, healthcare and fitness, media and entertainment, retailing and financial services.From highlighting generational differences regarding such basic concepts as work itself-Matures regard it as an inevitable obligation, Boomers as an opportunity for self-fulfillment, and Xers as simply a paycheck-and gratification-delayed by Matures, demanded instantaneously by Boomers, "virtual" in the case of most Xers-to describing the widely differing versions of the American Dream each generation harbors, Rocking the Ages offers invaluable insights into how to market a product or service to reach one, two, or all three generations.

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