Marketing to Generation X

Welcome back to another Generational Marketing post.

So we’ve talked about generational marketing and what it is, shown you some reasons you may need to pay more attention to the generational demographic like a difference between your generation and your target market’s or a changing consumer base.  And we’ve shown you the baby boomers and how to work with them..

Today we’re here to give you the lowdown on Generation X.

Meet Generation X

Generation X, born sometime between the years of 1965 and 1980. They love the new tech of the century, their families, freedom and independence. Generation X has seen heavy events, civil rights movements, several wars across the Atlantic not to mention the grunge fashion movement. A stereotypical X-er will be family oriented, financially responsible and self-reliant.

The Tech Division of Generation X

Generation X can be the hardest generation to pin down. You’ve got two types of Xers;

Those born earlier in the generation tend to hold some of the values of the Baby Boomers.  While those born later in the generation have some Millennial style traits.

It’s surprising how different each end of the generation can be.  Across the generation ideals and ability with today’s tech vary quite a bit. Earlier members of the generation may still have trouble with technology such as computers and phones, while the later members have no trouble at all and actually be enthusiastic early adopters.  So more tech dependant marketing techniques may appeal more to the younger X-ers and miss the older sect all together. Even with their differences, some types of marketing works universally well across the generation and the need for proper tonality and an authentic message apply throughout.

So how do we market to this Generation?

They’re not as conservative as their parents, but not as liberal as their kids. By now Gen X-ers are typically between 35 and 50, so you can actually get away with some older-fashioned marketing tactics, as well as incorporating new ones.

Authenticity

First and foremost, be authentic. Don’t hide agendas or values from these folks. It means a lot to them if your company is transparent. Be forward with your intentions, no “smoke and mirrors.” Many Gen X members hold strong family values along with their desire for safety and security. If your message reflects these, you’ll have an easier time connecting. Show them you can be trusted and you can provide them a reliable service to build a relationship and referrals.

Tonality

Generation X has some issues with authority. Quite a few of them were “Latch-Key” kids, left to their own devices until the streetlights came on. Gen Xers grew up in a time when the economy was either rising or falling, when politicians were at the forefront of tabloid for scandals and their parents were losing their jobs.

They believe respect is to be earned through time and experience. You can’t just show up and tell them what’s up.  So when you’re talking to them, writing to them, marketing to them, don’t be bossy. Don’t tell them to do something like they have to. Gen Xers work best when you give them what “could be”, and then leave them to figure it out on their own.

But at the same time, don’t be wishy-washy. Keep yourself confident in your work, don’t give them a reason to doubt your experience. Be forward, be sure of yourself, but don’t get cocky. We’ve already talked about authenticity. Stay true and you’ll be fine.

Snail Mail

Back on the topic of the two types of Xers, mailing preference can have a decent impact. Snail mail or email, both work well.

Generation X still holds an appreciation for standard mail, as long as it isn’t bills that is! Many  members of the generation still send out hand-written cards for both personal and professional means.  Direct mail may reach Gen X at home more effectively than in their place of work.  Many of this generation have moved to management and may have their mail sorted before it’s delivered to their desk.

Email Marketing

Email is an instant gratification of sorts for personal and business matters, and the later members of the generation are pretty tech savy. Gen X-ers check their email on a fairly regular basis, in fact 58.2 billion Gen X-ers use the internet regularly, so they’ll usually see your message. A mailing list, either paper or digital, is a great way to market to Generation X. If you’ve got something to communicate, send it to them!

Video Marketing

Videos work too. Digital media, such as a personalized video for your business, can make a huge difference in how your current and potential clients see you. Made right, your new video can add a more human flair to your company. Which makes you seem more approachable and trustworthy.

Videos are also more likely to be shared over social media than links and articles. About 81% of Generation X has a FaceBook account, 48% of that using them pretty regularly. It’s predicted that, by 2017, 45.7 million members of the X generation will have a social media account. Video sharing over media accounts like Facebook and twitter are at an all time high so it’s a good avenue to consider while making your marketing plan.

Social Media

If you haven’t figured it out by now, the internet is kind of important. Almost everyone is connected to a social media account of some sort nowadays. And with the invention of smartphones, that’s a  24/7 availability through the web. And again, 45.7 million members of the X generation will have a social media account.

So having some sort of social media presence is probably in your best interests, or at least something to consider, no matter which generation you’re dealing with. If you really had to pick just one, FaceBook is probably your best bet for Generation X as it’s the most widely used platform for Gen Xers.

Have a Website!

It’s fairly straight forward. You want to reach your clientele, and in this day and age, a website is a really safe bet. Again, 58.2 Billion members of generation X use the internet regularly.  A clean, well designed  website  can do wonders for your business. Generational marketing aside.

Get out there!

Generation X is an incredibly independent and practical segment in the generational market.They have some issues with institutions and authority, but really appreciate transparency in a company. This generation is self-reliant and likes to work things out for themselves. They love their family, freedom and technology.

Make it personal, communicate with your consumers and be authentic. Incorporate these ideas when targeting this generation in your marketing plan, and you’ll have a much easier time garnering the desired effect.   

Which generation are you targeting?

If Generation X-ers aren’t the only generation in your target market, be on the lookout for other posts in this 4-part generational marketing series for additional tips to reach your target audience.

We’ve already covered:

We’ll soon be covering:

  • Generation Y/Millennials
  • Generation Z

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