The boom of technology and its impact on consumers have marketers focusing their research and strategies targeting the future of online marketing, “Millennials.” This group is by far, the most technology dependent demographic online. At the same time, brand marketers also continue to devote marketing that targets the disposable income of the aging Baby Boomer generation, which has grown more Internet savvy and is spending more of their time online.
Who Is Gen X and Why Market Should You Market To Them?
Unfortunately, the generation sandwiched between Baby Boomers and Millennials is the most overlooked population by marketers. At the same time, this generation has grown to be the most desirable demographic for many professional service marketers (healthcare and legal providers).
Generation X is made up of consumers who were born between 1965 and 1980 (ages 35- 50). They are a hard group to nail down in that older Gen Xers tend to hold many of the values of Baby Boomers and may still struggle with computers, apps, smartphones, etc., while younger Xers demonstrate more Millennial tendencies and embrace everything technology offers.
However, they typically all love their freedom and independence. Generation X is also characterized by the following:
- Stage of life where they are highly family-focused
- Financially self-sufficient
- A powerful group that earns 31 percent of the household income in the US, where 40 percent of them have incomes higher than $100,000
- 96 percent report that they have money left after paying bills ($1,341 monthly disposable income)
- 82 percent are homeowners
So what should you keep in mind when marketing to Gen X?
The good news with the above tendencies, is that you can effectively implement traditional marketing tactics, as well as incorporating new strategies and technology. Although there is a tendency for online marketers to concentrate and steer clients to engage in more cutting-edge or emerging marketing strategies and tactics, don’t dismiss all the traditional marketing approaches that have proven to deliver success.
Mail/Email - Generation X still has an appreciation for standard mail (as long as they are not bills) and personal, handwritten correspondence. At the same time, most of them use the Internet regularly and have become quite tech savvy. Campaign lists, whether mail or email (preferably both) need to be an important part of your Generation X marketing for building your repeat business and referrals.
Social Media –Although most business owners saw social media as primarily a forum for youths and Millennials, nearly 50 million Generation X members have an account on at least one social media platform. And without question, Facebook is hands down the platform you must leverage. More than 81 percent of Generation X has an account and nearly half (48 percent) are active users.
If Generation X is your market, your practice is not doing everything it can to leverage Facebook marketing and advertising.
Website – Unlike many Millennials who have become more engaged with smartphone apps and other platforms, Generation X still appreciates the usefulness, credibility and content of websites. Make sure you put the necessary thought, resources and investment into developing, maintaining and marketing a high-impact website. The tone and depth of your content, the selection of photos and imagery, and the nature of your calls-to-action and “next step” engagement elements must “connect” with this generation.
Content Marketing – According to researchers, Baby Boomers typically spend more time consuming online content than any other generation. Yet, all generations tend to favor articles in the 300-word range. However, for deeper, more substantive articles, it is Generation X that enjoys articles that contain more than 500 words. If you are marketing to Generation X, make an investment in content marketing and long-form blogs and pages.
Loyalty Marketing – In a 2015 survey, CrowdTwist found that Generation X is responsive to loyalty programs and engaging with brands on social media. The study indicated that 88 percent of Gen Xers join loyalty programs to save money, and 71 percent joined to receive rewards. The underlying message here is that effective Generation X marketing needs to incorporate loyalty and brand marketing.
Trust, Relationship and Referrals – Gen Xers also tend to be more skeptical than other generations, so it is even more important to be trustworthy to this audience. Transparency and authenticity are essential to form a relationship and connection with this target audience. Hidden agendas and deceptive tactics will undermine your efforts and goal to satisfy their desire for safety and security. Demonstrate that you can be trusted, provide a reliable and high-quality service, and you will be on your way to build a relationship and stimulate business and referrals from Generation X.
Of course, many of these same traits and strategies apply when marketing to other generations as well. However, the underlying message is to take the extra steps to identify a more targetable audience so you can invest the necessary resources to develop and implement strategies to market more effectively, develop a brand with the right audience, and generate a higher, long-term return on your marketing investments.
~ Bill Fukui, Director of Marketing