In the 1980's, an outstanding trade magazine called American Demographics was published to help businesses and organizations target their customers or clients. Editors Peter Francese and Cheryl Russell, identified key market segments and named them. Some included Baby Boomers, Gen X and Gen Y. Members in these cohorts represented opportunities to sell products and services, capture donors or volunteers, or accomplish whatever strategic goal your company or organization set for itself.
In the 1960's Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964) were eager customers for VW bugs and VW wagons. Now, you might try to sell them a Subaru, Volvo or Lexus as they enter retirement years. Gen X (born between 1965 and 1976) was a smaller cohort than the Boomers. These kids were the reasons towns and cities closed neighborhood schools. Now, they are a market for deals on family vacations and college savings accounts.
Gen Y (born from 1977 to1994) is largely the group that makes up the Millennials. These are the babies of the Baby Boomers and so very large. When the schools were closed due to Gen X, they were overcrowded with Gen Y - and hence portable classrooms. This cohort is optimal for first time home purchases and baby strollers.
If you think like a marketer, demographics becomes an essential element. Counting the customers in the key market segments that American Demographics highlighted has provided and continues to provide the crystal ball. You can predict needs and wants as cohorts pass through life stages. It all comes down to when you born.