Generation X may be small, but we are a mighty generation that marketers often overlook. Gen X is sandwiched between the much larger segments of babyboomers and millennials and crafting your campaigns with this market in mind has its advantages.
First, let’s identify the people who are part of what many call “the forgotten generation.” Born between 1965 and 1980, many of us Gen Xers are in our prime spending years, having settled into a career, home and family. We spent our formative years without technology, only to embrace it slowly as teenagers or in our 20s or 30s. In some ways, we are a little bit boomer and a little bit millennial.
Here are three things to keep in mind when marketing to Gen X:
1. Find Gen X Where We Live Online
Marketing to Gen X should include social media, but while most Gen Xers aren’t creating or consuming content on TikTok, you can find many of us on Facebook and YouTube. We may use Facebook to engage with friends, family and even brands. As with many generations, many Gen Xers rely on YouTube for entertainment, staying in the know and even learning how to tackle DIY home and family projects. As a Gen Xer myself, you will find me more on YouTube than Facebook, looking for assistance on myriad projects, because why pay someone else to do what you can learn to do yourself? It must be the latchkey kid in all of us.
Using Facebook and YouTube for marketing to Generation X means more than just paid advertising. Create and maintain active pages that offer how-tos, educational content or even a little nostalgia (who doesn’t love a throwback to the days of The Smurfs, snap bracelets and doing the running man?).
2. Don’t Neglect Traditional Advertising
Remember when I said that Gen X is sandwiched between babyboomers (a traditionally, well, traditional generation) and millennials (a more tech-savvy generation)? This creates an exciting opportunity for omnichannel marketing. It provides marketers the convenience of a full-fledged campaign that can start anywhere from a Facebook ad to a billboard on a popular highway and end with sales on an e-commerce website or with foot traffic in a store.
Consider all of the channels that Gen X may use, both digital and traditional, from e-mail to direct mailers. Reaching this consumer segment with authentic messaging is important (as it should be for everyone), because many of us grew up independent and self-sufficient. Taking care of ourselves and perhaps even our siblings after school, making our own snacks, and doing our homework on our own (Google, we could have used you so much sooner) fostered a generation of consumers who tend to want authenticity and clear-headed marketing without any fuzzy logic or lack of clarity. We don’t have time for it.
3. Offer Rewards and Loyalty Programs
Rewards and loyalty programs are popular with this generation. Who doesn’t love a good deal? Offering rewards points for purchases, as many brands—including PetSmart and Moe’s Southwest Grill—do, provides an incentive for customers to come back often to be rewarded for their loyalty to the brand. Taking into consideration consumers’ actual spending in return for redemption for other products or services also provides consumers with flexibility.
Because many of us Gen Xers are in our prime spending years, don’t forget us in your advertising efforts—particularly if this age group has a place in your target market. Customizing your strategy, messaging and approach for each generation within your market individually is critical. Meeting Gen Xers where we are online, utilizing traditional advertising, and offering rewards and loyalty programs can help strike a balance between the two poles of Gen X/boomer and Gen X/millennial that seem to define the range of character in this unique generation.