GEN X CHARACTERISTICS
Generation X is a hugely profitable demographic that some businesses are largely ignoring. Sparks and Honey examined the characteristics of these 35-50-year old consumers in an attempt to understand their value as customers and how best to target them. Not only did almost a third of the Gen Xers surveyed say they have to help their aging parents with daily living tasks, 32% indicated that they still have Millennial-aged children living at home. What’s more, 27% said they are the primary means of financial support for at least one millennial child.
So, not only does Generation X face its own financial burdens but it also faces those of its family as well. The positive point is that Gen Xers are currently at the peak of their earning power. This allows them to cover financial needs and gives them more spending power for themselves and others. Thus, it is important for brands to take note of the influence that Generation X has over the spending habits of their Baby Boomer parents and Millennial and Generation Z children.
Gen Xers are more digital-savvy than Baby Boomers but, as the only generation to have been adults both prior to and after the digital revolution, they also retain some pre-Internet habits. This puts them in a unique position as consumers. They can still be reached via traditional media marketing channels such as newspapers, radio, and television. They can also be effectively marketed to on digital channels. Nearly all Gen Xers are Internet users and large majorities are users of smartphones and social media platforms.
The adaptability of Generation X in multiple worlds of marketing makes them a relatively easy audience to target. They will connect with almost any type of advertising, both digital and traditional. As an added bonus, their connection to other generations means that any message targeting Generation X is very likely to influence to other generations as well.
STATISTICS TO HELP BRANDS MARKET TO GEN X
As we mentioned, Gen Xers have significant purchasing power. Their income is not only higher than the national average but also higher than the averages for other generations, accounting for 31 percent of the total U.S. income. Here are some other statistics to help you better understand how to market to this generation and which channels you might use to best reach them:
Regardless of Gen Xers’ affinity for traditional means of marketing such as television and research, 72% of them use the Internet to research businesses. This habit means it is imperative that your brand maintains a strong online presence. From your website to your brand’s presence in online directories to consumer reviews, make sure your organization looks professional and you offer a high level of user experience.
Claim your business listings on Google, Bing, Yelp, and other search engines and popular online directories. Ensure that your brand information is consistent across all of these platforms and matches the information on your website. Optimize your website for mobile usage, local search, and voice search.
Mobile Device Usage
85% of Gen Xers own a smartphone and 64% own a tablet. This generation spends over 100 minutes per day on some sort of mobile device whether they are checking Facebook, watching YouTube videos, or performing research of some sort. One of the best tips for marketing to Generation X is to make sure your website is optimized for mobile.
Many website platforms such as Squarespace, offer fully responsive websites and you don’t have to give a second thought to how your site will appear on a mobile device. If you don’t have a responsive site, you can take steps to ensure a positive mobile experience. For more information, see our article:
Gen X Is quite active on social media platforms with almost 80% indicating daily usage. Facebook is the social hub of choice for this generation making it an effective platform to use to market to them. As you work on targeting this age group with your Facebook ads, remember the critical nature of a Gen Xer. Be sure your brand profile is complete with a description, contact information, and hours of operation if that is relevant, and that all information is correct and kept up to date.
Include a persuasive call to action and be sure the link to your brand website is clearly available. Post regularly and be sure to stay on top of comments and questions that come in from Facebook users. Engage with your Gen X followers to help build brand loyalty and drive traffic to your website.
We mentioned brand loyalty just above because Generation X, of all the generations, tends to have the highest brand loyalty. Given that, on average, return customers generate 40% of store revenue, fostering your relationship with Gen X customers is time and effort well spent. Providing excellent service time and again is key to solidifying a positive brand memory in your customers’ collective minds. 68 % of people are willing to spend more on businesses with good service. And be sure to reward customer loyalty in some way. Establish a program that offers a discount after a certain level of purchasing and include email communications that thank consumers for their business.
Feeling Left Out and Overlooked
54% of Generation Xers feel they are overlooked by brands and marketers. Understanding the goals and interests of this group of brand loyalists can help you advantage their significant purchasing power. Tailor messages that speak directly to the pain points of the generation. Target their work hard, play hard mentality. Leverage their desire for a work/life balance and acknowledge that this is a technologically adept group of people that are independent, resourceful, and self-sufficient.
DOS AND DON’TS WHEN MARKETING TO GENERATION X
Like all generations, Gen X is influenced by major events that have occurred during their lifetime. A definite influence is that the consumers in Gen X bridge the pre- and post-digital worlds. So how do you market to this powerful group of decision makers and how do you accomplish that without insulting or frustrating them?
DON’T Skimp on the Details
Gen Xers want information and, more so than other generations, context. They are comfortable writing online reviews and also seek them out before making a purchasing decision. Straddling the line between digital and traditional media, Gen Xers look both online and offline for available resources. Give this brand loyal generation plenty of information to keep their perception of your customer service high and to encourage repeat business.
DO Be Concise and Direct
We realize some may feel this statement contrasts the one above but one must remember that Generation X consumers grew up in the angst-filled 90s. As a group, they have an excellent ability to sniff out insincerity and manipulation. Provide the information they need to make a purchasing decision, but be authentic and stick to the facts. Gen Xers want to understand the value your products or services will provide and whether or not they are making a solid investment.
DON’T be Generic
According to Nielsen insights, that both men and women of Generation X are drawn to TV Advertisements that showcase everyday life and real-world situations. They also state that Gen X women specifically enjoy sentimental ads with a family life focus. How does that translate to marketing? Keep it personal with creating messaging that reflects real-world possibilities. Use story-telling techniques to communicate how your products or services will improve their lives or the lives of their family members.
DO Utilize Social Media Channels
While many first think of Millennials when the topic of social media comes up, Gen Xers are just as likely to use social media platforms to engage with brands. Over half of this group follow brands just for the deals and promotions available through various social platforms. On average, this generation spends more time on mobile devices using Facebook than Millennials. In addition, Gen Xers are 75% more likely to talk about tech news and products/apps than Millennials when using social media. So, if social media isn’t part of your Gen X marketing strategy, it needs to be.
DON’T Ignore Video
It has long been understood that video content is more engaging than text-based content or even stagnate images. Just like Millennials and Gen Z, Gen Xers are shifting their viewing from traditional television to digital video. eMarketer predicts that over 52 million US Gen Xers will view digital video at least one time a month in 2019. Brands can integrate video to show consumers interacting with their products or services, to launch new products, or to show behind the scenes action.
DO Send Them to a Modern, Responsive Website
Gen Xers are second only to Gen Z regarding their predilection to browsing the web. If you provide a link to your website, and you should, make sure you are sending these tech-savvy consumers to an incredibly modern and responsive site. Generation X has shown it is more than willing to make online purchases but is also willing to stop shopping a brand that offers a slow or outdated website.
The team at Strategy Driven Marketing understands the importance of meeting segments of your target audience on the platforms they love, speaking directly to them, and helping them understand how your products or services will meet their challenges and fulfill their needs. Whether you want to talk social media marketing strategy, need assistance with content creation, social analytics, or whatever your needs may be, SDM can help. Contact us today to get started!