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The Lost Generation

Keeping up with the Jonesers

When social commentator and marketing consultant Jonathan Pontell coined the phrase Generation Jones for the "lost generation" between baby boomers and Generation X, middle-aged Americans were ecstatic that someone was finally acknowledging them. Until then, people born at the end of the boom were being fed the same products, marketing and ideas as those born nearly two decades earlier. "I didn't fit in either group," admits Pontell. "We came of age during dramatically different eras."

But now that Jonesers are being recognized on a greater scale, Pontell sees tremendous opportunity to represent and target this group, which makes up 26 percent of the number of U.S. adults. He points to the group's disposable income and the fact that they're receptive to marketing. "Nearly half the people in the U.S. who make $75,000 or more a year are Jonesers," he says. "And Jonesers are very open to persuasive messaging and trying new things."

However, working long hours and having school-aged kids leave them "starved for time," says Pontell, adding that Jonesers spend a lot of time and money online. "Appeal to their need for simplicity. Show them convenience."

This story appears in the April 2008 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »