It is difficult for marketers to gain customers. They use content marketing to attract customers and then send emails to try to persuade them to buy their product. It is even more difficult when trying to market a product to people of different ages because they will all respond differently to marketing techniques. For example, an older person who is not familiar with digital marketing will react differently to a Facebook ad than a younger person who understands digital marketing will.
I can tell when brands are targeting me online because of their cute branding and slightly-sarcastic lingo.
How can brands make sure they are targeting all the demographics effectively? The most effective way to target all demographics is to use a mix of marketing channels including online, offline, and word-of-mouth channels. This will ensure that you are reaching your target audience through the channels that they are most likely to use.
Don’t worry. I’ve done my research.
What Is Generational Marketing?
Generational marketing is a marketing approach that uses different marketing strategies for different age groups. According to Wikipedia, a generation is defined as a group of people born within a 15 year time period who share similar ages and life stages, and who were influenced by the same events, trends, and developments.
Marketing to Generation X
Although often ignored, there is a generation called Gen X. Even the Gen Xers themselves don’t claim the name very often, with less than half of them (41 percent) calling themselves that.
The people born between 1964 and 1981 are called ‘Gen Xers’. They broadly fall between baby boomers and millennials in terms of racial makeup, education levels, marriage rates, political opinions, tech adoption, etc. and have long been overshadowed by these influential generations.
While there are a total of 75 million boomers and 89 million millennials in the United States, marketers oftenignore Gen Xers (those aged between approximately 39-54 years old) citing that there are only about 49 million of them. However, this ignores the fact that this generation, who used to be “latchkey kids” often left home alone after school, have now grown up, traded in their skateboards and flannel shirts for smartphones and expensive jeans, and are often entrepreneurial. Consequently, they have a surprisingly large amount of buying power.
Who are Generation Xers?
Gen X is the smallest generation, born between 1965 and 1980 and often referred to as the bridge between Millennials and Baby Boomers. Gen Xers are now juggling child care, homeownership, and reaching the peak of their careers. The 40-year-old who went to high school in the 80s and hated the first Bush era, and is now working in green energy and has little kids to contend with is an example of this generation. This generation remembers how video killed the radio star and is more pessimistic about having enough money to retire.
The vast majority of Gen Xers are on social media sites like Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter. They are similar to millennials in their adoption and use of technology, and are more likely to stick with their political beliefs than either of the other generations. Gen Xers are the most likely to make lists before shopping, but they also admit to making the most unplanned purchases while shopping. They are a true hybrid when it comes to marketing, as they grew up without the online shopping experience but have fully embraced it now.
Although they make up only a fifth of the population, Gen Xers have almost a fifteenth of the nation’s wealth. And by 2030, they will have three tenths of it, twice the projected share of millennials. Many Gen Xers live in inter-generational homes, and whether they embrace a modern family lifestyle or not, three fourths of them help their parents financially, more than half support their adult children, and over half hold the purse strings for their materialistic Gen Z tweens and teens.
gen x’ers make up a large majority of parents, but have less kids than older generations. they are also very hands on with their parenting, due to things such as the war on drugs, public service announcements, etc. they make up for their parenting by giving out trophies, being understanding, and driving their kids to events. They also use technology to help them keep track of their children.
However, not all of them chose that path. Forty-three percent of white-collar women who have gone to college don’t have any children, which is less than the 25 percent of the previous generation. Some people from Generation X celebrate the DINK lifestyle (where both partners in a relationship have a job and no children).
As this generation enters their late thirties and moves towards their fifties, they are experiencing many life changes. They want to further their careers. If they cannot find what they are looking for, they start their own companies; this entrepreneurial generation has launched over half of all U.S. startups.
As parents plan for their children’s college education or their retirement, they focus on investments and savings. They are a major force in the market for homes, cars, appliances, and children’s products, and because life hasn’t always gone as planned, they also like safety nets such as auto club memberships and life insurance.
No matter what they’re purchasing, Gen Xers are busy individuals who require a straightforward purchasing process. With Jeff Bezos – who is just barely a Gen Xer – as the head, Amazon captured this generation’s attention and as a result has seen great success. The company offers discounts, a variety of options, honest reviews, and convenience, which has led to Amazon becoming the world’s third largest retailer, starting out as just an online book store.
Subscription-style ordering, tech-infused ease, shows on-demand, unlimited music, and personalized recommendations are exactly what Gen Xers want as they get older. They can introduce their kids to the rebellious lyrics of Pearl Jam and the Red Hot Chili Peppers and stream the newest edgy dramedy, all while ordering more dishwashing liquid with a tap of a Wi-Fi-enabled Dash Button.
Gen X and Tech
Generation X loves both old and new media. They still listen to the radio and watch TV, but they also use smartphones and computers. This group of people propelled the growth of an e-commerce giant.
They use loyalty programs but also enjoy retailer coupons. This text is discussing how the Oregon Trail survivors are the original cross-channel consumers. They research online and shop in stores. They use the web regularly, but prefer to watch their favorite shows on TV. They check their social media accounts several times per day, but also run to the mailbox daily. The majority use the internet for banking, but still get paper copies of their bills. They wish their friends happy birthday online, but also send paper birthday cards. They use loyalty programs, but also enjoy retailer coupons.
To successfully market to Generation X, marketers need to use a variety of channels and create a message that resonates with them. This generation values consultation and collaboration, so marketers should avoid an authoritarian approach. Unfortunately, marketers have done less research on Generation X than on millennials and baby boomers, making it more difficult to identify an effective marketing message.
Solving for X
The oldest members of Gen X attended high school in the 1980s, graduated college in the early 1990s, and started their careers during an economic upswing. They have experienced the same economic stability as the boomers before them and are now preparing for retirement and sending their children to college.
A smaller group within the generation known as ‘xennials’ had a different experience than their peers. They grew up in the 1990s, graduated college during the 2002-2003 economic downturn, and have changed careers multiple times. They also got on the housing ladder during the peak of the housing market bubble. Now, they are juggling young children, running green energy companies or food trucks, and re-establishing themselves after the Great Recession of 2008.
Every generation has common threads, and to appeal to this group, you need to find the strands that tie them all together. For clues, watch the Breakfast Club. This movie came out in 1985, and the oldest Gen Xers were in high school or just starting college.
5 Tips for Marketing to Generation X
It’s time to market to Gen X in a way that appeals to them, rather than just adapting your marketing for baby boomers or millennials. This generation grew up with the Loreal slogan “because I’m worth it,” and they live up to that slogan.
Everyone Loves Coupons
The text is discussing how Gen Xers are unlikely to rely on Social Security after retirement and how they are instead saving up for other things. The text then goes on to say that companies like Blue Apron and Plated offer a product that would make Gen Xers’ lives easier.
Email marketing is still an effective way to communicate with Generation X. This generation is already used to being constantly plugged into Outlook for work and updates from family, so they would react positively to retail emails. They check email on a variety of devices, both at work and at home.
Be a Goody-Two-Shoes
Erin’s mention of the upsurge in do-good brands catering to millennials can also be applied to marketing to Generation X. This generation is more likely to purchase a product that benefits society or the environment, rather than following trends. Toms is a good example of a company that has found success with this type of messaging. Using platforms like Facebook and Pinterest is a good way to reach this demographic.
Lifestyle Nurture Programs
Because Generation Xers are so engaged with social media, marketers have a lot of opportunities to reach them. Thanks to Facebook’s extensive targeting options, ads can be sent to new mothers, for anniversaries, birthdays, and more. Some companies, like Petco, offer recurring home delivery of disposable items, which is a great way to never forget to stock up on kitty litter or dog food. Babies R Us and Toys R Us have a great email program that will send updates to pregnant women month-to-month, and then after birth with age-appropriate toys. This is a great way to establish and build customer loyalty—and make their busy lives a bit easier.
Give Gen Xer’s a Break
Even though this generation says they’re good at saving money, most of them have plans to take a vacation in the next year. This could be a great marketing opportunity for companies related to vacations, security, or family planning.
Plot Twist: Try Direct Mail
It may seem counterintuitive, but direct mail is actually still quite effective with millennials. A study from InnoMedia, NuStats, and Vertis found that 86% of millennials check their physical mailboxes every day, and 68% have used coupons they received in the mail. This generation is also more likely to receive paper bills than electronic ones, and they send birthday cards via USPS instead of email. So those old-school Chinese take-out menus and newspaper circulars aren’t going anywhere just yet.
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