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Generation X marks the spot

When it comes to looking at your options for a target audience, we’ve run the full gamut here in our blog. We’ve gone from Moms to Dads, Millennials to Boomers and now it’s time to talk about my generation. This is for those of us in the middle.

For the first time ever, adults defined as Generation X (those between the age of 35 – 46)  are spending more of their paychecks on luxury items than their Baby Boomer counterparts. Yes, I said more. It appears the MTV generation are outspending their parents by 18% in multiple high-end product categories. Gen Xers are reaching the top of their professional careers and due to the industries they have chosen, many are actually out-earning Boomers.

I’m a part of the only generation who regularly consume their marketing messages from all of the main media channels including social media networks and mobile (unlike Boomers) and TV/cable (unlike Gen Y). It’s like the trifecta for all the major brands marketing campaigns.

Alright folks, you know the drill. Let’s review some of the latest statistics out there to see how Gen X is using social media:

  • By 2013, eMarketer estimates that 48.1% of social network users will be ages 35 and over (eMarketer)
  • 72% of 35- to 44-year-olds use social networks which equals approximately 26 million of the internet users (eMarketer)
  • 36.7% of people ages 35 to 44 and 45 to 54 said they could live without their social networks (eMarketer)
  • 67% of those ages 30 to 49 use email daily, which means a Gen X inbox is still a very relevant place to
    connect with them (eMarketer)
  • 84% research products on their laptops and smartphones (Pew Research)
  • 80% of Gen Xers will make purchases online (Pew Research)
  • 70% of those of those ages 33 to 44 will make vacation or business trip reservations using a travel site (Pew Research)
  • The median age of the US social media user is 41 (Netpop)

When we look at the overall usage of social media for people ages 35 and over, we know it began it with the initial curiosity and the idea of reconnecting with old friends that brought us all out from behind our laptops. Between 2009 and 2010, Gen Xers were one of the fastest growing target markets to use social media networks. As most of the early adopters of social media, Gen X still have an active online lifestyle but our usage is directly connected to our social group of friends.

With everything else going on in our busy lives, the Gen X crowd find a way to incorporate our social media usage as a part of our daily schedule. If our friends and family were to stop using Facebook, our usage would drop instead of finding new online friends to connect with (as the Gen Y crowd would do).

Pew’s Generations 2011 reports that 86% of Gen X are online on almost a daily basis. We were the first group to experience the internet as a part of our daily lives. This led most of us to habitually research every purchase. As marketers, we understand the online opportunities available to us to connect with this generation about our products. Since we now know many Gen Xers are researching their potential purchases online, an integrated online and social media campaign would be the best option for your company if you want to target this age group.

Generation X is all about the three D’s: details, distinctive quality and the deals. Talking about your product’s features is not enough for us to hit the purchase button. Think about ways to offer discounts or coupons when you can but not so much that it takes away from the high quality of your product or service.

As Darryl Roberts from Wine X Magazine so eloquently puts it, ” … unlike the Boomers before us, we have a BS meter more sensitive than any seismograph. During the years we were watching Saturday-morning cartoons, we were assaulted by a barrage of advertising so intense it had to be addressed by federal legislation.”

When planning your strategy to target the Xers, it may seem to like you have to hit every marketing channel to reach them. Just know your hard work will pay off with a customer for life. Gen X are known for our extreme brand loyalty. Due to the world Mr. Roberts describes, Gen Xers tend to be skeptical about the big brands and their claims for greatness. But once we find a brand we approve of that can solve our problems, we turn into loyal customers who will sing your praises to anyone who will listen.

So, what should your company do to market to Generation X? Your brand should look at a multi-media strategy with engagement in all the marketing channels to reach the Gen Xers. A successful campaign could include a social TV promotion sending viewers to a Facebook fan page and then it connects that them to a link to download a mobile app. Now that my friends, would be the perfect trifecta to reach the Gen Xers.

What successful campaigns has your company used for engaging Gen X in your marketing campaigns?

Photo credit: X the spot



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