MARKETING TO GEN X
Marketers have been able to identify the most appropriate channels and campaigns to attract their target audience. There is social media for Gen Z and Millennials, to more traditional media and direct mail for Baby Boomers—but what about the in-between generation, the Gen Xers? Oftentimes, Gen X is the most ignored generation, but with Gen X making up more than 30% of the American population, they have substantial purchasing power.
Since Gen X has familiarity with both online and in-store purchasing, you must be calculated with how and where you market to this audience. Given that part of this generation is close to the Baby Boomer age, traditional media should not be ignored as a method to reach this audience. Studies show that in the Gen X population, 48% of them listen to the radio, 62% still read the newspaper and 85% watch traditional television.
So, who is Gen X, you ask? They are one of the smallest generations in the US, born between the years of 1965-1980. This generation is a branch between the Baby Boomers and Millennials. Because of this, Gen X can understand the points of view from both generations. There are two types of Gen Xers—those born earlier in the generation who have some Baby Boomer characteristics, and the younger members who have Millennial-type buying habits. As a marketer, you must understand the difference between the two types of Gen Xers. Regardless of their differences, there are still some common characteristics across this diverse generation.
WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT GEN X
The first thing marketers should know about Gen X is that they are financially stable. Since the oldest Gen Xers are 54 and the youngest are 39, they are in their highest-earning years and are on their way to reaching the top of their profession. Ignoring this group of people means ignoring an entire demographic that has an impressive influence over both household and company decisions.
Another key fact to know about Gen Xers is that they use the internet to research businesses. Even after seeing a commercial on TV, this generation is known to do their homework on the brand before buying. Since this is a habit of Gen X, when marketing to them, you want to be sure your company information and messaging are consistent across all directories, social platforms, and, most importantly, your website. This means everything from your logo to your brand colors, to the tone of your messaging should be consistent everywhere your brand posts content.
As a marketer marketing to Gen X, one last thing to know about them is that they prefer marketing that is more personal and authentic. Most Gen Xers are now parents and therefore prefer to consume media that reflects their beliefs and values. Because of these beliefs, they also prefer brands that are authentic. When marketing to this generation, it is important to be transparent and not hide any agenda or values because they will see right through it—and not have any appreciation for it. With Gen Xers, it is best to be forward with your intentions.
HOW TO REACH GEN X
With over 58 million Gen Xers using the internet every day, they are the trickiest generation in the U.S. to pin down. Generation X is the closest generation to retirement and is at the pinnacle of their buying power. However, they are not as wealthy as Baby Boomers and oftentimes have more debt. Even though this generation remembers the world before the takeover of the internet, they are well-versed in technological advances. These are some of the key channels to include in your marketing strategies to capture the attention of Gen Xers.
As mentioned before, Gen Xers like to do their research on a brand before committing to their purchase. When attempting to market to this group of people, ensure that your listing is included on directory sites such as Google, Yelp, TripAdvisor, social media, and other popular online directories. Their tendency to research a brand before buying from them means they will seek out sites that will give other consumers feedback on your product or service.
Millennials are regularly seen as the social media-obsessed generation, but Gen Xers are just as prone to engage with brands using social media. With this knowledge, it is also important to know that Facebook is the most popular social media site used by Gen Xers. As a marketer, you want to be sure that you are providing relevant information and have a Facebook-specific marketing plan to encourage engagement and online purchases. An action plan to ensure that your Facebook page is ready-to-use for Gen X is step 1) add a description to your “About” section; step 2) ensure your company details are correct (address, website, phone number, and hours; step 3) use the “Shop Now” call-to-action button; step 4) manage and respond to reviews as timely as possible; step 5) post regularly; step 6) use Facebook advertising to attract your target audience, and step 7) utilize discount codes to drive online purchases.
While Gen X uses the internet and social media, they still have an appreciation for traditional marketing, such as direct mail. Many Gen Xers still send out handwritten cards for both personal and professional matters. When sending out direct mail marketing, try to include a discount code to entice them to purchase. By doing this, you will also be able to track your ROI from the direct mailers. It is also important to point out that this method can be expensive. To save on costs, try using a postcard-sized mailer and ensure your mailing list is as accurate as possible so that you can be sure that you are reaching your intended audience. Lastly, do not forget to include your website URL and phone number on your marketing mailer.
Generation X has a lot of spending power and should not be an afterthought when you are developing an efficient marketing strategy. If you meet this well-educated age group where they search and purchase, you will build a loyal customer base for the years to come.
This in-between generation incorporates characteristics from Baby Boomers and Millennials, so be sure to include a mixture of different channels in your strategy, such as the internet, social media, and direct mail.