According to Marketing Dive, the generation between the ages of 45 and 60 is poised to become the wealthiest generation in history. Gen X will soon inherit $70 trillion from their baby boomer parents on top of earned income and a current net worth that far surpasses younger generations. Despite all that, only 13% of the generation feels seen by advertisers, and if you’re among those who have allowed Generation X to fall off your marketing radar, you may be leaving big bucks on the table.
The Flaws in Keeping Up with the Youngsters
It happens every 10-15 years – a new generation of consumers emerges, and every industry spends valuable research dollars learning how to adapt to their expectations. A decade ago, headlines from across the internet accused millennials of being killers of everything from Cheerios and American cheese to cars and cable TV. Over time, an understanding of the generation’s lack of disposable income changed this narrative to one of frugal, conscious consumption, and brands adapted to their spending habits.
Currently, marketing experts are calling Gen Z the future of consumer behavior, which, of course, they are. But that future is still several years away, and America’s sub-26-year-olds still only account for 5% of consumer spending. So, if millennials have fewer discretionary funds than their predecessors, and Gen Z hasn’t reached the peak of their earning potential yet, why are companies spending a disproportionate amount of marketing dollars on these demographics?
Marketing changes fast, and staying ahead of the curve is essential for success. It’s easy to view the next cohort of shoppers as the demographic to watch, with the logic being that winning their loyalty now will result in future profits. However, younger shoppers are less likely to maintain loyalty to a brand. In fact, brand loyalty is more a characteristic of the very generation that’s being left out of marketing decisions.
Gen X has more money, is more likely to be loyal to a brand, and with 92% of them using social media every day, they’re just as reachable through current marketing tactics as younger consumers. With those things in mind, it becomes apparent that keeping up with the youngsters isn’t the same as keeping up with consumer trends. Any brand would be remiss in neglecting these emerging consumers, but leaving valuable Gen X buyers out of your marketing strategy can hurt your bottom line just as much, if not more.
Where Can You Reach Gen X? Everywhere!
At 27%, Gen X accounts for more than a quarter of global spending, and their TikTok usage matches. While millennials have been touted as digital pioneers, Gen X has proven to be highly adaptable, and that makes them one of the most accessible generations of today. Unlike the plummeting percentages in younger generations, you can still find Gen Xers flipping through the channels of cable TV. But they’re streamers, too, logging 1.5 billion YouTube views every day. They still read newspapers and listen to the radio, but they also stream podcasts, browse the internet, check their email daily, and log two-plus hours on social media a day.
If the Gen X demographic is your target audience, you can reach them through print advertising, radio and television commercials, direct mail, email marketing, Google advertising, SEO, social media ads, and social influencers.
How to Appeal to Gen X Consumers
Getting your product in front of Gen X shoppers isn’t a problem. Keeping them engaged is a different story. If you want to keep their attention, there are two primary ways to do so.
1) Increase Gen X Representation in Your Marketing
There are several Gen X influencers across social media (especially TikTok), but they only account for 5% of influencer campaigns. Despite making up 31% of the global population, only 24% of the characters portrayed in television ads are over 45. Just like everyone else, Gen X wants to see themselves represented in brand marketing. Adjusting the imagery in ads, web pages, and mail-outs will increase their engagement with your brand.
2) Tailor Your Marketing Language to Gen X’s Needs
Thirty-five percent of Gen Xers are college-educated, which makes them a nuanced set of consumers. For them, information and pragmatism are key. While millennials crave a product that promises them the experience they want, Gen X wants to know why they need a product, and they’re extremely averse to sales language, preferring straightforward communication.
When you’re marketing a vehicle, it’s the difference between saying, “Take your hands off the wheel and enjoy the ride with cutting-edge semi-autonomous driving,” versus saying, “Semi-autonomous driving prevents driver fatigue, decreasing the risk of accidents.” Both are key selling points, but if you’re sending a direct mail campaign to a community populated by Gen X consumers, the latter will resonate more.
Partner with Strong Automotive
The team at Strong Automotive specializes in tailored messaging. If you’re ready to reach out to the Gen X car shoppers in your area, we’re ready to help you win over this valuable demographic. Contact us today to get started.
John Paul Strong
John Paul Strong combines his two decades of automotive marketing experience with a team of more than 140 professionals as owner and CEO of Strong Automotive.