A lot has been written about marketing to millennial music fans. But what about their predecessors, Generation X music fans? After all, Generation X, now in their late 30s to early 50s, is the group that came of age with post-punk, grunge, hip-hop, and MTV.

While Generation X has largely been left out of the broader marketing conversation, music venues and festivals who ignore 40-ish and over fans may be missing out on a key audience. There are 65 million Gen Xers, which is nothing to sneeze at — especially when you consider that members of Generation X are at their peak earning power.

As a group, Generation X makes up 25% of all adults, but earns 31% of all income dollars — more than either boomers or millennials. Though they have the most financial responsibilities, such as paying for college and caring for elderly parents, they also have the disposable income for live entertainment.

How can your music venue or festival reach this generation of music fans? Here are four key strategies.

1. Target Generation X on social media

Forget millennials — it’s Generation X that spends more time on social media than other generations, according to a Neilsen study. 95% of Gen Xers use Facebook, so that should be your go-to platform when promoting shows and festivals to fortysomethings.

What you can do:

  • Use Facebook ad targeting to zero in on the exact audience you want
  • Increasing numbers of older adults are on Instagram, too, so use that platform to post photos of artists that would appeal to this generation

2. Focus on the family

Gen Xers have an average of 2.5 kids, and the biggest group of them is over 12 years old. They take their kids to concerts, whether to play chaperone at a show with youth appeal, or to expose the kids to their favorite classics from the MTV’s golden age.

What you can do:

  • Parents want to include kids, so be sure to make it clear on your calendar and in your ads whether shows are all ages
  • For the big stars and emerging artists that appeal to teens, consider targeting a segment of your advertising to the likely ticket buyers — the parents

3. Appeal to nostalgia

Lots of bands who peaked in the ’80s and ’90s still have sizable followings — even classic metal and punk bands can fill mid-sized rooms. Tribute bands can ride on popular bands’ coattails for surprisingly strong ticket sales. Consider broadening your calendar to include artists that appeal to Gen Xers’ sense of nostalgia.

What you can do:

  • Book artists with decades-old followings stemming from the ’80s and ’90s
  • Consider booking nights with two or three regional or touring tribute bands

4. Foster loyalty

Gen Xers exhibit more brand loyalty than either millennials or baby boomers. Once you get them in the door, you’ve got a good chance at having a repeat customer. They’ll associate the good time they had with the artist who performed, but you have an opportunity to make sure they know the venue or promoter who brought them that experience.

What you can do:

  • Use email marketing to stir up excitement before the show and recap the show afterward, using audience-perspective photos that will remind fans of the good time they had
  • Target promotions of similar shows to your customer list using email or a Facebook Saved Audience

For more marketing ideas and stories of marketing successes across generations, check out the 2018 Music Marketing Handbook: The Five Essential Elements.

 

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