As advertisers strive to discern the best advertising strategies to appeal to the generations of Millennials and Baby Boomers, they tend to forget about another generation: Generation X. Born between 1965 and 1980, this generation should be a key target for advertisers.
Research shows Generation Xers have more spending power over other generations, and are responsible for 31% of consumer spending. They have also the highest median income when compared to Boomers and Millennials, with 96% reporting an average of $1,341 disposable income after bills and other necessities are paid.
Yet despite being in a prime position income-wise, Xers find themselves being treated as the overlooked middle child by advertisers in favor of their older and younger siblings Boomers and Millennials, respectively. Why are businesses so seemingly averse to market to this generation? Perhaps there are some misconceptions that must be addressed.
How To Advertise To The Slacker Generation
A 2011 piece in the Journal of Behavioral Studies in Business paints Xers as “pessimistic, skeptical, disillusioned with almost everything and are very questioning of conventionality.” The advent of grunge music and movies such as “Singles” and “Reality Bites” further cemented this reputation. Even after these labels proved to be erroneous, they still remained, causing Generation X to become known as “The Slacker Generation”. Not exactly a demographic to which companies would be anxious to market.
Generation Xers are now in their 30s to 50s, and are more attractive to companies now than when they were in their teens or 20s. 82% of these so-called “cynical slackers” are currently homeowners, and 25% have started or are in the process of starting their own business. They are family-oriented, self-reliant, and fiscally responsible. And their so-called cynicism may be better described as pragmatism, giving them a higher appreciation of authenticity in advertising. They want to feel they can trust a business, so companies shouldn’t use advertising “tricks” – Xers can see right through them.
So, how should business advertise to this large segment of the population with disposable income spending power?
Using communication channels like TV, radio and outdoor ads, and response tools such as a vanity number in its advertising campaigns is a strong way for a business to appeal to Xers. Not only is it easy to remember, but its straightforwardness shows the company is genuine in its dealings with its customers. And, while communicating over digital channels is hot, let’s now forget that phone conversations and a personal connection is the best way to build a relationship and establish trust with customers.
Advertising Strategies – A Paradox
Another challenge faced by businesses when it comes to Generation X is they are often not entirely sure which advertising methods will be the most effective. Xers tend to fall on the spectrum between conservative and liberal when it comes to advertising, with those born earlier clinging to the more traditional advertising methods of Baby Boomers, and those born later identifying more with Millennials preferences. Many of them grew up with analog technology, but they were also there for the rise of the digital age. Xers seem to be caught between the past and the future, making them a “transitional” generation – a label which has less appeal for marketers.
But what advertisers may not realize is that this duality makes Generation X a fantastic target for marketing campaigns. Studies show the most effective campaigns use a mix of advertising methods – both traditional and digital. Traditional media still matters to Xers, with 48% listening to the radio, 62% still reading newspapers, and 85% having favorite television show. At the same time, 60% of Generation X uses smartphones, 75% are active on social media, and 84% use at least two devices during primetime hours. So rather than fret over choosing between traditional and digital media for Generation X advertising, businesses should utilize both for the best results. And with tools such as call tracking, businesses can obtain even more accurate data on which methods are the most effective.
When it comes right down to it, Generation X isn’t the indecipherable marketing mystery so many claim it to be. Companies that practice transparency and use a strong combination of advertising have the best chance of making an impact. Xers possess strong purchasing power, and they are ready to use it. Be sure your company doesn’t miss out!
Learn more about adding a vanity phone number to your advertising strategies here.
AdWeek – http://www.adweek.com/news/advertising-branding/5-reasons-marketers-have-largely-overlooked-generation-x-170539
Yahoo – https://advertising.yahoo.com/insights/overlooked-influence-gen-x
Target Marketing Magazine – http://www.targetmarketingmag.com/article/gen-x-ready-to-spend-but-snubbed-by-marketers/