Generation X is the generation after the baby boomers.  They were born between the early 1960s and the early 1980s and are sometimes called the MTV generation.

Although not as big as Boomers and millennials, generation x consist of people who appreciate individual freedom, stability, activity and education. There are about 88.5 million Gen Xers in America. That’s a lot of people.

So How Do You Market to Generation X?

If you are a marketer hoping to reach Generation X with your advertisement then there is a report by Nielsen that looks at gender nuances of Gen Xers that might be of interest to you. Of particular importance to marketers are men and women between 35 and 54. According to Nielsen’s research men and women “… connect with everyday household and family activities.” And that ‘’real-world situations and authenticity appeal most to consumers between 35-54.”

Gender nuances within Generation X are subtler than in other demographics. When it comes to advertising, Gen X takes a calm and safe approach. Women’s tonality is more sentimental, focusing on milestone events, while men are on the simple side, being dialogue driven, calm and cool. Themes that appeal to women are usually real-life situations, like everyday family activities; men identify with the all-American theme, preferring football, cars, and projects around the house.

Generation X women are family friendly, preferring safe, in no way “inappropriate” situations, while men are low-key and subtle. In terms of characters, women aged 34-54 are given to real world settings and reliable situations, and men’s characters are masculine.

In marketing to Gen X’s women, marketers can create an emotional connection by showing women engaging in family activities or important events such as a daughter’s marriage, or a daughter getting her driver’s license.

By using cars and sports marketers can reach men by appealing to their masculine sensibility.

I think it’s important that marketers are sensitive to how they advertise to people, especially Gen X’s women, who tend to be educated, suave, and with a lot of money to spend. You don’t want to reinforce unhealthy stereotypical images of any segment. There is no shortage of books or magazines that cater to gender issues.

Since real-world situations and authenticity appeal to most people between 35 and 54, the bottom line cannot be your only concern. You need to be imaginative in your marketing approach – your priority being to build trust and extend your reach.

Which medium to use to advertise to Generation X

Men and Women of Generation XGeneration X is a diverse segment and their media consumption is not limited to any particular medium.  So, to reach Gen Xers you too must use a diversity of media — print, emails, social media, and mobile devices.

Print.  Many people think direct mail is dead, but that’s far from the truth.  While Internet ads disappear, a print piece can stay in reach and be visible for years.  Although many magazines are moving to the web, many have physical copies on newsstand.  And Gen Xers are avid readers.  Plus, if you place QR codes on printed materials people can scan them on smartphones, which then take them to a specific page on the web.

Further, direct mail has already proven its effectiveness in gaining people’s attention, and maximizing response rate.  Done right, direct mail can get a prospect engaged with your company. In fact, research shows that direct mail has a higher response rate than emails.  The Direct Marketing Associate (DMA) found direct mail having a 4.4% rate compared to 0.12% response rate to email.

Here is research by the United States Postal Service. It shows that 86% of Generation X bring in the mail the day it’s delivered.  70% of Gen Xers are more likely to read credit card offers received in the mail than through emails.  Gen Xers pay more attention to retail mail than another type of ad mail.

Social Media.  Use social media as another means of marketing to Generation X, not as a tool for replacing direct mail or email.  Lots of Gen Xers follow brands on Facebook, Twitter, or other social sites.  And they talk.  Marketers can integrate emails with social media by directing customers to social sites where they can share offer, build relationships and create trust.

Emails.  The rise of social media causes some people to believe falsely that email is dead.  You would be hard-pressed to find an adult, especially a Gen Xer, who doesn’t have an email.  Email is easy to use and it’s a low-cost way of marketing to Generation Xers.  The trick is to not inundate them with irrelevant content.  But an email campaign that delivers customized content that provides relevant information can have positive results.  And to really get Gen X’s attention, use videos in your emails.  Research shows that emails with video in them can increase conversion rate by as much as 50%.

Referring to Generation X, Joe Stagaman, EVP, Advertising Effectiveness Analytics for Nielsen said “They know what they want and what they like and most importantly who they are.  Recognizing this creates an opportunity for marketers to appeal to this population with a genuine and realistic campaign that Gen Xers can identify with.”

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