Previously we discussed why your company should be marketing to Millennials, and in this blog, we’ll talk about the group of people aging into that favorable demographic with real buying potential: Generation X, as well as how to target your marketing to them.
While the focus of the media for years was the Baby Boomer generation, and currently it’s obsessed with the Millennials, Generation X, sandwiched between these two important demographics, has 61 million members and makes up 27% of the adult population. They also head up 30% of U.S. households - which means any business that ignores them does so at its peril.
From a marketing perspective, it’s important to note how Generation X is unique. This is a skeptical and pragmatic group of people. They grew up under the influence of a sophisticated and ubiquitous advertising system, and they do not necessarily trust it. They are looking for the real, for the authentic, and they are not interested in getting suckered. If any current generation could be called cynical, it’s X. This is not the group of people you want to pitch anything too slick to; they won’t have it.
In terms of technology, Generation X straddles the gap between the Boomers and Millennials, handling media and technology with competence, and nearly as much familiarity as Generation Y, but without fully incorporating the digital into their regular lives as Millennials are prone to do. Gen X households are most likely to contain digital devices like DVRs, MP3 players, and digital cameras, so they’re not Luddites or technophobic. But rather than constantly text on their mobile devices, they are more prone to be checking, news, sports, and weather. This means a specifically tailored online strategy is necessary. You will not reach them with the same mobile strategies that work on Millennials. And, remember, while it may be easier to reach Millennials, they do not have as many resources or the same established authority as Generation X does at this moment in their lives.
Of all of these groups, Generation X shops most online, but its members do not spend the most money. As could be predicted by the generally skeptical nature of this group, they like to research online before buying, and they are active review readers. A proper online marketing strategy would be for businesses to actively monitor their Yelp and other review listings and to target search engine advertising. Generation Xers can also be influenced by that old standby, the money back guarantee. Interestingly enough, Gen Xers are more open to direct mail marketing than other generations, reporting higher numbers for opening their mail on the same day, as well as reading it.
There are, of course, hundreds or thousands of other observations and extrapolations that could be made about this group of people, and none of them would apply to the group as a whole. But if your business draws from Generation X or would benefit from engaging them, it’s worth it to take the time to understand how and when and where to do so and market accordingly.