Ask Me Anything: The Xennials

October 31, 2017

“Why aren’t my efforts to reach Millennials working?”


Already this year, we’ve spoken a few times about marketing to Millennials with tips on product/time/price influences and using data to guide marketing decisions. I want to take this conversation a little further as a self-identifying “Xennial”—someone who was born in an analog era but grew up in a digital world. We were born between 1977 and 1983—during the time of the original “Star Wars” releases—and we aren’t quite ready to fall gently into either the Generation X or Millennial category. We’re 34-40 years old.

All too often, people in this age group are overlooked by organizations who assume we behave like Millennials who are being blamed for killing everything from brunch to the Scion. Or that we are like Generation X-ers who technically include individuals born as early as the 1960s. There’s a chance this presents at least part of the gap between your student rush ticket buyer and your subscriber. With the changing trends in ticket buying behavior over the last decade, organizations have gone beyond their traditional student rush programs with expanded under-30 initiatives; what happens to your communication after this? The period of time you have this demographic-non-conforming audience is so vital to your future single ticket buyer or subscription base. Don’t forget about them when they’re in generation limbo!

You absolutely should be looking at your data to make marketing decisions on how to reach Millennials/Xennials/Generation X-ers—just don’t get caught up in assumptions about what this audience wants and risk missing the mark. A side effect of assuming what reaches a generation could end up having adverse results with an entire audience group or groups who don’t feel like you are speaking to them. Whatever you do, keep the conversation going with your ticket buyers (whatever age group they fit into). After all, Millennials/Xennials/Generation X-ers are growing up and changing and your perceptions of who they are should evolve as well.


JCA Arts Marketing collaborates with cultural organizations to increase revenue, boost attendance and membership, and grow patron loyalty. We provide consulting and software services to hundreds of cultural institutions across multiple genres, including dance, museums, opera, performing arts centers, symphony, and theatre. We can help you achieve your marketing goals.