Marketing Across the Generations
Born from the mid-1960’s through 1979-81. Unlike the Baby Boomers, Gen X is not categorized with hard and fast dates. They are sometimes referred to as the MTV Generation. They are generally between the ages of 32-46. There are approximately 60 million Gen X Americans.
Gen X’ers are more diverse than previous generations in race, class, religion, ethnicity and sexual orientation. They are more likely to be the children of divorced parents than previous generations. Statistically, they have highest education levels. Gen X’ers nake less money individually in real dollars than their parents did, but have higher household income because of more women in the workforce.
What They Like
Mobile Technology – They have embraced smart phones, BlackBerries, e-mail and text messaging. They are sometimes called “The Connected Generation.”
Flexibility and Freedom – They like casual, friendly work environments, and dislike cubicle nation.
Independence – Give them a goal and let them figure out how to accomplish it.
Risk Aversion – They lived through their parents’ recessions and saw a lot of people lose money in the stock market.
What They Dislike
Brand Labeling – They are cynical because they have been inundated with so much advertising during their lives.
Traditional Notions – Such as careers and feminism. They prefer to forge their own path. They are more likely to make lateral career moves than climb the corporate ladder.
The Marketing Spot
The best way to market to Generation X
– Be very clear about your offer. Don’t give them reasons to be skeptical. Give lots of details so it doesn’t look like you are trying to hide anything. Offer a money-back guarantee.
– Give suggestions not rules. Show them some things they might like and let them figure out which works best for them.
– Celebrate their diversity. Avoid references to heritage and tradition.
Where to Market to Generation X
This is difficult to determine because Gen X media consumption is fragmented: mobile devices, online surfing, gaming, satellite radio, iPods other digital music channels. But there are a couple of options.
Direct Mail: Gen X seems to have a greater appreciation for direct mail than the older Baby Boomers. According to a study conducted for the U.S. Postal Service, 86% of Gen X bring in the mail the day it’s delivered. Gen X rate 75% of the mail they receive as valuable. 74% of Gen X Direct Mail readers read retail advertising mail.
Online: Gen X online habits are so fractured that it’s hard to pin down. However, more than any other generation, Gen X likes to research while shopping online. They read more reviews, and visit more opinion sites. This would suggest a couple of tactics, ramping up your presence on Yelp and other opinion websites, also using Keyword Search Engine Advertising.