Gen X: America’s Most Skeptical Generation
While most marketers direct their attention towards baby boomers, millennials, and Generation Z, many forget about Gen X. As a result, they are often left out from most of the marketing and digital advertising campaigns.
Although small, it’s a pretty powerful generation. Gen Xers account for 31% of the total U.S. income and spending more on housing, clothing, eating out, and entertainment than any other generation, so it might be crucial for your business’s growth to include Gen Xers into your marketing campaigns.
Even when you decide to promote your products to the smallest and most forgotten generation, also known as the most skeptical generation of all, you may find it hard to find ways to reach them. Your attention so far was directed towards other generations, so you may wonder where to get started. If you are about to begin marketing to Gen Xers, here’s everything you should know.
Who Is Gen X?
Although most generations are credited with lasting for about two decades, Gen Xers are born from 1965-1980. Such a short period makes them the smallest generation with fewer people than Baby Boomers or Millenials, but it still consists of over 65 million people.
Gen Xers were born in a world with no internet, smartphones, or many technological advancements. However, they are quick to adapt to innovations and embrace technology faster than millennials.
They witnessed the digital revolution and the birth of the internet, the first computer, the rise in digital technology, and the evolution of social media channels. Most of Gen X grew up climbing trees and using pennies to dial phones and call families, but they soon adopted new electronic devices for playing games and watching MTV for 24 hours a day. Fast forward to today, Gen Xers now spend more time per week on all electronic devices than Millennials do. They spend 21 hours on smartphones, 9 hours on PC, and 4 hours on tablets, a week. More importantly, Generation X has a higher-than-average household income and wields considerable spending power totaling $2.4 trillion, so if Gen Xers aren’t in your target audience yet, maybe it’s time to rethink your marketing strategy.
Generation X is the closest generation to retirement and is at the peak of their buying power, so why do marketers miss them? Maybe because there are not as trendy as millennials, or perhaps because many mistakenly believe Gen Xers aren’t on the internet, while 58.2 million Gen Xers use the internet every day. If you want to target Gen Xers in your marketing campaigns, there are many marketing channels where you can reach them, and they want to be found.
54% of Gen Xers are frustrated that brands constantly ignore them. Promoting your product and brand to them will put you ahead of many brands that fail to do so. These are the channels you can use.
Where to Find Gen X Online
Regardless of common misconceptions that Gen Xers aren’t internet enthusiasts, they love social media — 95% use Facebook. 74% percent of Gen X also says that social media is an essential part of their life. Facebook is an excellent place to reach this generation, but as you most probably already have a social media page, you may wonder what content you’ll need to create for Gen X.
What Does Gen X Expect to See on Facebook
Gen Xers grew up independently as the divorce rates spiked when they were growing up, and more and more women joined the workforce, so they had to spend most of their time alone. They are also known as the latchkey generation as most Gen Xers returned from school to an empty home. Growing up independently changed the way they see and adapt to new things.
Gen Xers expect brands to educate and excite them. They love how-to guides, educational videos, and tutorials to help them do something on their own. That means then the most engaging content you can create for Xers on social media is educational content.
72% of Gen Xers use the internet to research businesses, and around 93 percent of online experiences begin with a search engine like Google. It’s essential to invest in SEO, your Google My Business Listing, website, and online directories to show up in Gen Xers search queries. You’ll need to optimize your website and online listings and increase search engine rankings. Moreover, like on your social media, you’ll need to create educational content on your website. ‘How-to’ searches are trending on Google, and as Xers love learning how to do things on their own, creating educational content relevant to your business will help you grab their attention.
Gen Xers, who spent a great deal of time watching MTV, account for over 1.5B views daily on YouTube. They love video content, and investing in video marketing is another excellent way to reach more Xers.
In 2017 Google conducted survey-based research in partnership with Ipsos Connect and Flamingo to understand better what Gen Xers’ like to see on Youtube, and here are some key findings.
- 75% of Gen Xers watch YouTube videos that relate to past events or people
- 68% of Gen Xers watch YouTube videos to stay on top of news and pop culture
- 73% of Gen Xers watch YouTube videos to learn how to do something
Top 5 ‘how-to’ content categories amongst Gen X include:
- Home repair/Improvement
- Technology use and repair
- Arts and Crafts
- Beauty and Personal Care
Almost 75% of Gen Xers watch YouTube at least monthly on any device. More than 64% of them bought a product or service they saw in a video on YouTube when they were learning how to do something, so creating ‘how-to’ videos is a powerful way to promote your brand to Gen Xers.
With 58.2 billion Gen Xers online every day, email marketing can be an effective channel to promote your brand and products. In addition, email brings one of the highest return-on-investment (ROI) and can be a powerful way to increase sales.
Three in five Gen Xers say that once they find a brand they like, they’ll stick to it; therefore, they will most likely be loyal to brands. Emails that offer incentives for loyalty like loyalty programs or rewards can be an effective tool for marketing to Xers. Nearly 60% of Gen X says free delivery would motivate them to complete an online purchase. So one way to boost your online sales is to provide free shipping coupons in your email campaigns. Gen Xers grew up with cut-out coupons and various newspapers, magazines, and TV discounts, so offering special discounts in your emails can effectively increase sales amongst Xers.
Additionally, you can use email to promote your ‘how-to’ videos and social media content to increase engagement with your brand.
Combine Traditional and Social Media Ads
Gen Xers have seen the world with and without the internet and lived in the pre-digital and digital era. However, 48% listen to the radio, 62% still read newspapers, and 85% watch traditional television. Combining traditional and social media ads will help you reach more Xers and build your brand awareness. However, you don’t have to limit yourself to newspapers or radio ads but use online ads such as Facebook ads or Google search ads that allow you to target particular demographics and age groups.
Generation X, often overlooked and forgotten amongst marketers, can significantly impact your business and sales. An effective marketing strategy should never ignore even the smallest generation in the country. Especially when that generation has a lot of spending power. Gen Xers can soon become your loyal customers and stick around for many years. We hope using the different channels listed above will help you reach more Xers and convert them to your customers.