THE FORGOTTEN GENERATION
Undoubtedly, it can be really difficult to market to any given generation, with Generation X being no exception. With Gen Xers representing one fifth of the UK population, the question shortly arises, how do organisations reach this seemingly overlooked and poorly understood generation and convert them into loyal customers? To understand this forgotten Generation more, we must learn about their characteristics, how they shop and how they use digital media in order to establish the most effective ways to market them.
KNOWING YOUR CONSUMER
With the ever so stereotypical view of Generation X fitting the mould of busy professionals that have considerable spending power with family-oriented values, we’re here to tell you that there’s so much more to this generation, and where you’re going wrong in your attempts to market to them.
A healthy body, mind and bank balance are some of the top priorities for Gen Xers, according to a 2019 Mintel report. The intention of this focus on good physical health is likely to be driven by entering a new stage in life, where our bodies no longer have the bounce-back-ability of years passed. Here lies an opportunity for brands to encourage Gen Xers to take further control of their financial and physical attributes through products and services that help with day-to-day management.
Executing basic daily rituals is the key to living a happy healthy life, right? Well, with 30% of Gen Xers sharing that they no longer have time to get enough sleep and 28% not having time to either exercise or relax, brands can help Gen Xers to address this balance in the short and long-term by providing convenience and helping them plan more effectively.
With 37% of Gen Xers thinking the word ‘successful’ is that of which best reflects how people their age are portrayed within advertising materials, it’s interesting to note that only a mere 11% would use that word to describe their own self image. In this case, Generation X could be suffering from a lack of aspiration, with the combination of societal and media pressures causing them to feel like they are lagging behind. Here, the largest opportunity for marketers is to represent Gen Xers as fun and open-minded.
THEY’RE NO TECHNOPHOBES
Whether Gen Xers are using the internet to check social media, researching a business, skimming the news or binge watching YouTube videos, Generation X spends a lot of time on mobile each day, with female Gen Xers spending the longest amount of time on social media, averaging 2 hours 15 minutes, a quarter of an hour ahead of males.
Gen Xers haven’t shied away when it comes to digital development and the introduction of smartphones, which has disrupted PC and laptop usage for Gen X greatly. The fact that Gen X have so easily embraced mobile demonstrates that they are far from a traditional audience. It’s worth noting, however, that Gen Xers have yet to reach the mobile tipping point, therefore strategies and website optimisation should be in place for smartphones, PC and laptops.
There’s no question when it comes to whether Generation X are active on social media platforms. According to RevLocal, a whopping 95% of Gen Xers use Facebook, with 35% using LinkedIn and 25% posting regularly on Twitter. With such a large percentage of Gen Xers using Facebook, this is undoubtedly the best social media platform to market to them. Remember to tailor your posts to Generation X and target this age group when creating Facebook ads.
Generation X has been misunderstood for long enough. There are significant opportunities for marketers who can gear their products and services towards helping to alleviate the specific societal and media pressures that Generation X face. Brands can help Gen Xers to restore some balance in the short-term as a quick fix, using convenience products and services to help combat their limited time, whilst also helping them to pursue a better balance over the long-term by carving out ‘me-time’.
Advertising representation is out of step with how Gen Xers view themselves. With Generation X saying that they feel advertising represents them to be successful and traditional, many actually feel this way about themselves. Change must be made in how advertisers represent Gen X, so as not to alienate Gen Xers altogether and move toward a representation that feels more authentic for Gen Xers. Marketers should focus on representing Gen X in line with how they view themselves so that they connect more strongly with product or service offerings targeted to them.