Sunday, December 14, 2008
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
This got me to thinking that preferences and attitudes towards sensuality in romances, particularly historical romances, may be highly influenced by the reader's generation. That thought reminded me of Generational Marketing. So what is Generational Marketing and what does that mean to writers of romance?
GEN Marketing targets consumers based on the era in which they were born and grew up. Messages are crafted to appeal to particular generations based upon shared values, attitudes, and beliefs. These values, attitudes, and beliefs are thought to derive from the collective experiences of a particular era (e.g., 9/11 is a collective experience). Below are brief descriptions of the modern generations. What generation do you belong to? Do you think that it influences your preferences and expectations for sensuality in a romance novel? Is my analysis spot on or am I missing something?
- Mature or Silent Generation - born prior to 1946. Formative influences include the Great Depression and WWII. Values: Believe in established institutions, hard work, and self-discipline. Buying behavior: Conservative, frugal , and brand loyal. Self-sacrifice is a hallmark of this generation. Slow to adopt new products because they grew up in a time of economic hardship. Many, however, are rewarding themselves in retirement for their years of hard work. They prefer tradition in their entertainment and are turned off by controversy. My Analysis: Readers of the Mature Generation are more likely to identify with heroines who are virtuous and embrace traditional values.
- Boomers - born between 1946-1964. Formative influences: Early boomers (1st decade) - Vietnam War, the Pill, Free Love. Later boomers (2nd decade) - Watergate, the Women's Movement, Disco, More Free Love. Values: Self-expression not self-sacrifice, Personal Identity - the Me Generation. Think L'Oreal's original slogan: "I'm worth it." Sense of entitlement comes from growing up during prosperous times. They question the "establishment." Buying behavior: Prefer products and services that appeal to their individuality and need for self-fulfillment. Unlike the Mature Generation, they are nontraditional and are probably more likely to embrace new products or product categories. My Analysis: Boomer readers are more likely to think the heroine is entitled to sexual experimentation and think she should question established mores, particularly if it leads to greater self-fulfillment.
- GEN X - born between 1965 - 1978. Formative influences: Cold War (Reagan Era), divorce (latch-key kids), AIDs, tumultuous economic times. The PC Generation. Values: Savvy Entrepreneurs. Hard workers. Seek balance not stability. Close-knit family is a high priority (as a result of divorced parents). Technology is a given. Buying behavior: They are skeptical and cynical towards slick marketing pitches (the savvy thing). Prefer marketing messages that are frank, fun, and practical. Their preference is for interactive entertainment. My Analysis: GEN X readers' pragmatism, perhaps even their cynicism (e.g, sex sells), might lead them to expect sensuality in the books. However, focus on family and marriage is likely to have great appeal to them.
- GEN Y (Echo Boomers) - born between 1979 and 1991. Formative influences: Electronic everything - iPOD, Blackberry, Cell Phone, Instant Messaging, Text Messaging -- these are all hallmarks of the multi-tasking Millennium Generation. Other influences include presidential scandals, 9/11, and school shootings. There are an estimated 70 million of them, of which 34% are minorities. They are the creation of their boomer parents. Pampered, Over-scheduled with activities, gregarious, high-maintenance, and have a high degree of self-worth. They value creativity and independent thinking, and they search for meaningfulness. Buying behavior: To reach them, you must go where they go (e.g., My Space/Facebook). They are thought to like promotions and contests with free prizes. They are concerned with social issues. In a survey conducted in 2000, Cone/Roper found that 91% of GEN Y youth are attracted to companies and products that support "good causes." Viral marketing (a fancy term for word of mouth recommendations, primarily via the web) appeals to them. Conclusion: Hmmm ... It must be odd for this generation to envision a world without electronics, but as a 2nd decade Boomer teen , I adored Victoria Holt along with TV, my Mustang, and my pink princess phone (no, I'm not joking!). Since GEN Y has been exposed to far more sexuality than other generations, they probably wouldn't object to the proverbial romp in the hay. But it might have more impact if it was a) recommended by a friend, b) all for a good cause, and/or c) meaningful. ;-)
Thoughts? I'd love to hear from you.
J. Walker Smith/Ann S. Clurman, "Rocking the Ages: The Yankelovich Report on Generational Marketing," 1997
Nadira A. Hira, "GEN Y at Work: Attracting the Twentysomething Worker," Fortune, May 2007
Zell Center for Risk Research, "The Risk of Misreading Generation Y: The Need for New Marketing Strategies," 2002
Joanna L. Krotz, "Tough Customers: How to Reach GEN Y," Microsoft Small Business Center online (No date published)
Stephanie Armour, "Generation Y: They've arrived at work with a new attitude," USA Today, 2005
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Monday, March 17, 2008
I forgot it was St. Patrick's day when I mailed THE DUCHESS COMPETITION to one of the requesting literary agents this morning. In my defense, I am somewhat fuzzy headed due to sleep deprivation. But this morning, the fog in my head was especially thick, a result of no Coke Zero, my caffeinated bev of choice. My brain was not firing on all cylinders. Actually, it was in idle - a scary thought considering I drove to the post office.
What really frightens me, however, is that I forgot a talisman. Some kind of lucky charm. Something that would bring me the luck of the Irish! I wasn't even wearing green. Sure, I have no green clothes, but I could have cut out a four-leaf clover out of construction paper & pinned it on my shirt. Granted, the other postal patrons might think me a bit odd, but this is My dream. My book. My writing career! I didn't even bother to choose a lucky song. Why, I could have stuck my pet rabbit in the cat carrier and stroked her foot as I drove.
Smacking my head. With my first book, I played Pachelbel's Canon in D over and over (you know, the song played at all the weddings) as I drove contest entries and agent/editor submissions to the post office. I would not allow myself to get out of the car until the song finished. On one memorable occasion, my friend Kristi and I drove our submissions to the post office together & I made her sit in the car until the song finished. Oops, that reminds me, both those submissions got rejected. Not long afterwards, Kristi gave me a CD with about 20 different versions of the Canon. I think she was hinting I needed a little variety.
OK, so maybe superstitious charms and songs don't work. But at the very least, I should have commemorated this glorious day, so I would always recall it fondly after I: a) sold the book in the fiercest bidding war in publishing history, b) made the NYT list, c) rode in a parade in Times Square, waving to all my adoring fans. Hey, it's my fantasy, I can be outrageous if I want to. ;-)
Happy St. Patrick's Day. May your day be charmed and your beer green. And the luck of the Irish be with you!