How to Reach 'Generation Jones' Online
With names like Eons, Rezoom, Multiply, Maya's Mom, Boomj and Boomertown, a host of new social-networking sites is seeking to capitalize on the growing spending power and computer savvy of aging baby boomers.
Many, in particular, are trying to reach a relatively newly identified demographic group called Generation Jones. This group includes people born between the mid-1950s and mid-1960s. U.S. social commentator Jonathan Pontell identified this generation and coined the term "Generation Jones."
Prior to the popularization of Pontell's theory, members of Generation Jones were included with either the boomers or Generation Xers. As a result, the demographic has been referred to as a lost generation. In fact, the connotations of the name "Generation Jones" include a large, anonymous generation; and the slang term "jonesin,'" refers here to the unrequited craving felt by this generation of unfulfilled expectations.
Online marketers also are beginning to understand the important distinctions between the two groups.
"There is major danger associated with targeting the boomer generation in general terms," says Jim Welch, CEO and president of The Growth Leader and an advisory board member of Las Vegas, Nev.-based Boomj.com, which has positioned itself as a social-networking site targeting both boomers and Generation Jones. "A baby boomer born in 1946 had a very different life experience than someone born in 1962."
Generation Jones also is a large group with some serious spending power. For example, according to Pontell, its members represent 26 percent of all adults in the U.S. that are 18 years or older, versus 16 percent of all adults aged 18 plus who were born prior to 1954, who are considered true baby boomers. The group also represents 42 percent of all adults making more than $100,000 per year.
One thing is for sure: This group is very comfortable online - whether buying products or communicating in a social-network setting.
Generation Jones also spends more dollars online than any other generation. In fact, approximately 41 percent of all consumers who spend $2,500 or more on the Internet per year are Jonesers, according to Pontell. Jonesers also are considered persuadable and receptive to marketing messaging.
"Jonesers are currently taking stock of their lives, leaving them much more open to experimentation, and to trying out new product and services," Pontell says. "As a result, marketers and major brands are starting to focus on Generation Jonesers, and a big part of their focus is reaching them online." We asked Welch for some advice on how online marketers should go about reaching this lucrative market. Here are two tips:
1) Target them appropriately. "Boomers tend to be more idealistic, and Generation Jones folks tend to be a little more realistic; boomers tend to vote a little more liberal, and Generation Jonesers vote a little more conservatively," Welch says. "As you can see, there are some important distinctions in these groups. Brands - specifically newer brands that may be trying to reach a new audience - should keep these kinds of things in mind when creating messaging for e-mail marketing or target marketing campaigns targeting these groups."
2) Make them feel like part of the community. "When you are marketing to Generation Jonesers, make them feel like they are part of a group or part of something bigger than an individual marketing campaign," he says. "Social-media techniques are a perfect vehicle for reaching this group. They will help Generation Jonesers connect from a community standpoint."