The Tidy Boxes Data Brokers Stick Us In: Are You A Timeless Elder Or Truckin’ & Stylin’?

By now we’re well aware that there are data brokering companies out there, collecting personal data from shoppers including what we buy and where we buy it, using simple tools like our zip codes, for example. But it isn’t just that they know all about us, it’s that often companies then stick consumers into little boxes, complete with fun names like “Truckin’ & Stylin’ ” or “Apple Pie Families” So which are you?

CNNMoney’s Melanie Hicken has been delving into the world of Acxiom, one of the giants in the consumer information industry we posted about yesterday. Those companies use their sprawling databases of information, often collected just by using your zip code and name, to divide shoppers up into distinct categories. Those subsets of shoppers then allow marketers to “better know — and anticipate — their customer’s demographics and buying behaviors.”

As critics point out, it’s well, like being put in a box. Perhaps not physically, but it could lead to biases against different kinds of shoppers.

While it’s still somewhat off-putting to know we’re being pigeonholed, it’s interesting to learn the names of these categories Acxiom decided on. Someone with a bit of humor had to come up with Truckin’ & Stylin’, right?

We’ve chosen a few examples of how Acxiom describes consumers just to get the ball rolling. Check out CNNMoney for the full list.

Married Sophisticates: In your late 20s or early 30s, of course you’ve just gotten married and you and the spouse make a total of $50,000-$100,000. It’s likely you own a home, probably in a nice neighborhood in the ‘burbs, and you like green cars or other trendy environmental stuff, shop at The Gap and love Netflix.

Truckin’ & Stylin’: This is our favorite, just because of the dropped “G” in both words. If this is you, you’re in your 30s or 40s, live in a rural town and hey, probably own a truck. Your income is moderate, you might be married but don’t have kids, and shop at Walmart, AutoZone and yes, like watching NASCAR. Generalize much, Axciom?

Apple Pie Families: Ah, yes, the most wholesome of stereotypes: You’re upper-middle class, live in a small city or a nearby surburb and have a soccer mom van. Home Depot and Target are your mainstays and you read Sports Illustrated and listen to NPR.


Timeless Elders: This group sounds so wise! But it doesn’t mean you’re a shaman — you’re retired, probably living alone on a modest income. You clip coupons to shop at discount stores like Kmart, and enjoy watching The Price Is Right. But who doesn’t, eh?

What type of consumer are you? [CNNMoney]

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