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Generational marketing: How to connect with Generation X

We're continuing the series on generational segmentation with Generation X, or individuals born between 1965-1976.

min. read

Baby Boomers, Gen X, Y, Z, Alpha. 

We hear these terms all around, but often we aren't entirely sure which generation is which, let alone how real people behind these infamous one-letter generations think, behave, and communicate.  

Segmenting and targeting your markets by age rather than other demographics such as gender, location, or income is called generational marketing. By understanding their underlying generational motivations, challenges, and habits, you can tailor your corporate strategy, products and content accordingly so it "speaks" to a specific generation.  

Every consumer segmentation is an extensive task for the marketing department. On top of many methods and possible sub-groups, COVID has just made segmentation more complicated. It impacted every consumer generation, but with the right knowledge, you can customize your marketing efforts to ensure you're capturing the attention and hitting the right chord of the generation in focus, whether it's Baby Boomers, Millennials, Gen Z, or Alpha.  

To help you gain relevant knowledge of generational marketing, we'll describe and analyze four key generations that are active consumers at this point:  

  1. Baby Boomers 
  2. Generation X 
  3. Generation Y (Millennials) 
  4. Generation Z  

We're continuing the series on generational segmentation with Generation X, or individuals born between 1965-1976. 

What you need to know about marketing to  Generation X

Characteristics: Gen X grew up in a recession period. They are cautious with money and are more sceptical of brands. This generation is hesitant about change and innovation, preferring to stick with what they know. Gen Xers respond well to nostalgia, word of mouth and reviews from other users. Gen Xers tend to be suspicious of corporations and institutions, which stems from political and economic events throughout their lives (the Watergate scandal and large-scale lay-offs in the 80s, for example).  

Digital savviness: They have also had modern technology for most of their lives. Independent and critical, this generation is more digitally engaged than the Baby boomers, paving the way for the first digital natives, the Millennials. Even though they grew up without the online shopping experience and enjoy in-store shopping, they have fully embraced online shopping.  

Financial status: Gen X is relatively small, however, that doesn't mean their economic influence and buying potential should be ignored. Gen X tops the list in the housing, clothing, eating out, and entertainment spending categories and has a global annual buying power of $2.4 trillion. Their economic significance will continue to increase, too, especially as baby boomers begin spending less after retirement.   

Most responsive to:  Gen X respond best to honest and transparent messaging through traditional advertising, but also loyalty programs, word of mouth, email and social marketing. They are fans of incentives, such as discounts, freebies and coupons. They use Facebook primarily for research and recommendations from their network before making a final purchase in-store. Even though businesses need to work extra hard to earn their trust, they are the most loyal generation once they put their faith in a brand.   

Gen X

Strategies to help you appeal to Generation X consumers: 

  • Leverage positive reviews to earn loyalty. Building a positive reputation on popular review sites shows Gen X that your brand is trustworthy.  
  • Email is the best way to communicate with Generation X. When it comes to social media platforms; they mostly use Facebook.  
  • Make them feel acknowledged and tailor your messages to their aspirations and challenges to resonate better with this small-size generation.  

Coming up: Insights on other generations

As we continue our generational marketing series, we'll discuss other generations in the following weeks. 

We'd like to emphasize that, like everything in marketing, it's all about the context. Each generation is different, and their mindset defines who they are as individuals and consumers. Some groups respond well to technology and innovation. Others prefer their comfort zone with products and services they desire to remain the same. Whatever the strategy, brands should focus on a similar approach. For example, honesty and integrity are essential aspects that consumers from all generations look for from brands. Being straightforward with messaging and offers results in a stronger relationship with the market. 

In any case, a generational marketing strategy should not be a company's sole approach to segmenting an audience. At boobook, we believe in a segmentation approach beyond customers' age and the associated - somewhat stigmatizing - generational stamp. Additional customer segmentation factors, such as geography, income, interests, behaviours, personal values, attitudes, etc., are crucial to successful persona-based targeting. Marketing to different generations requires thoughtful implementation, so avoid stereotypes and assumptions about certain ages.  

Instead, learn who your customers are and develop products and communication strategies that resonate with your audience. Reach out to our team, and we'll help you!  

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