Marketeers, listen up. If you want to do business with me and my majority generation, you should consider thinking in terms of the Jones.
The prized demographic used to be the Baby Boomers typically defined as those born post World War II to 1964. I was born in 1962 and never felt any kinship to my elders born in the late ‘40s. Yet because of the similar spike in births, we were mistakenly lumped in with the older boomers, instead of grouped separately based upon shared cultural experiences.
Now, the late boomers have been broken out into a new generation. Those of us born between 1954 and 1965 are now called Generation Jones best described as those too young for Howdy Doody and too old for Sesame Street.
Generation Jones is actually a reference to “jonesing.” A term made popular in drug culture to describe an intense need. The example sentence could be, “I’m jonesing for a dozen White Castle sliders.” This is followed within 45 minutes by, “I’m jonesing for an antacid, man.”
Boomers got to share in the promise and a lot of free sex. Generation X, which follows Generation Jones, was born cynical and never grew out of it. But Generation Jones – the generation of President Obama – was soured after we were promised a great future that never was delivered. We shared Watergate and the oil crisis of the early 1970s. We came of age when Reagan broke the air traffic controllers union and suffered a lack of any stability in careers or social relationships.
This coveted 44-55 demographic makes up a more than a quarter of the U.S. population. And history shows that we are suckers for a fad. We went gaga over pet rocks and pong. We are proving to be early adopters making up one-third of FaceBook users and iTunes customers. Generation Jones is notably represented by the nerds. Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Steve Case (AOL founder) are all jonesers. We let corporate America screw us over BetaMax, minivans, and vinyl LPs. (No one from the record companies has offered to replace by collection of vintage albums.)
We were moved to action by the tear of an old Indian chief. We were the first generation to realize all the implications of the 1960s including feminine rights and advertisements for feminine hygiene. (Super embarrassing to watch in front of mom!)
We’re the only humans who still like “St. Elmo’s Fire.” We’re the last generation that identifies with the same music. We ushered in MTV. Think of us as your Steely Dan demographic.
Because of this fading idealism, we intensely crave our turn to change the world. Now it is here. We are the ultimate pragmatists, but always searching for the dream of Utopia. If you can deliver, you may be sitting on a goldmine. Generation Jones is definitely one of the emerging trends of 2009.
It may require some special attention, but the effort of marketing directly to Generation Jones may pay off handsomely. You can learn earn more at www.GenerationJones.com.
*Originally appeared in the March edition of the Hendricks County Business Leader