Posted in on April 11, 2016

X Marks the Opportunity

Happy new week!

Each Monday, our team collects a few “top links” related to marketing to older adults and shares them on the Mature Marketing Matters blog. What makes something a “top link”? 

People engaged with it on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook or Google+.

Shares, comments, re-tweets, likes (ah, the ubiquitous thumbs up …) all give us an idea of what’s grabbing the attention of professionals who want to improve their 50+ marketing results. We then present just the top two or three in this (typically emailed) digest.

If you’re not engaging with us on any other platforms, please consider following the links above — then following Creating Results. You’ll get a wider range of relevant resources to make your work more powerful or effective. Thanks!

Now, on with the show …

Profile of Generation X - Gen X birth years and size

c2016 Creating Results, LLC – from a presentation on the “new consumer.”

MOST CLICKED: Give a shout if you’re a member of Generation X. A little louder? A little louder? Hmmm. I still can’t hear you.

The problem isn’t with your voice.

It’s with advertisers’ ears.

The Gen X cohort (disclosure: my cohort) has been largely ignored by marketers of all ages. Born between 1968 and 1979, we’re not as rowdy or large as the cohort that came before us, the Baby Boomers. We’re high-tech, low-maintenance and we’re entering our peak earning years (or should be).

And yet, as Robert Klara wrote in AdWeek:

“Just as middle children often feel neglected by their parents, Generation X has been disproportionately overlooked by brands and marketers, it would appear. A piece last year by the consulting firm Centro noted that ‘few marketers seem to be focusing on the demands and needs of this generation.’ Dan Schawbel, partner and research director at the consulting firm Future Workplace, has written that Generation X is ‘typically forgotten by the media.’ And a recent white paper from NAS Recruitment concluded that Gen Xers ‘have been overlooked and underestimated for a long time.'”

Klara presented five reasons why Gen X is not grabbing the mindshare or marketshare it should:

Gen X reputation - AdWeek

Source: AdWeek

    1. The Reputation: Terrible. That slacker label given to us by the folks who came before us … It’s not typically true but it stuck.
    2. The Size: Small. Estimates range between 46 and 65 million, depending on how you count birth years. (Creating Results uses the US Census dates.) Compare that approximately 77 million Baby Boomers and 83 million Millennials …
    3. Those Marketing Habits: They say “confusing;” I say “flexible.” Most marketers believe they know just the right ways to reach people over 50 or those under 34 — offline for the former, online for the latter. Gen Xers straddle both worlds.

“According to Forrester Research, traditional media is still important to Gen X (48 percent listen to the radio, 62 percent still read newspapers and 85 percent have favorite TV shows). But at the same time, Gen X is plenty savvy when it comes to digital media. A survey by Millward Brown Digital found that 60 percent of Xers use a smartphone daily and 75 percent are routinely on social networks. Gen Xers are quite active online as well when it comes to banking, shopping and researching products they want to buy. That leaves brands having to figure out just the right mix of old and new media.”

    1. The Name: Stinky. Klara actually wrote that it “spooks” marketers, but let’s call a stinker a stinker.
    2. That Special Feeling: What makes a Gen Xer special? Apparently most of us don’t feel we are unique. In this American family, our light is hidden under a bushel basket. Hard for marketers to spot us with our glittery older and younger siblings nearby.

Here are three reasons Creating Results feels Gen X should not be ignored:

  1. We’re entering our 50s. The time of greatest transition, with frequent and extreme life changes. Kids off to college, divorce, aging events … And with each, opportunities for marketers to sell products and services.
  2. We’re entering our 50s. Time in which our pay growth will slow, along with our bodies. Get us while we’re hot!
  3. We’re shifting from caring for our children to caring for our parents. We’ll have influence on medical and housing decisions and more.


What can you do? Fight the madness and give Gen X another look!

Read the article in AdWeek —

Vibrant Nation also had a nice infographic on this cohort, with a refreshingly positive slant:

Infographic on Generation X - Gen X - Vibrant Nation

MOST SHARED: Perhaps proving the above point, the most shared article of the week was one that looked at how Baby Boomers and Millennials prefer to receive marketing messages when they’re on the go.

How Millennials, Boomers prefer companies communicate when away from computer - MarketingSherpa

No Gen X. (Sigh.)

Read more at MarketingSherpa:


What do YOU think? Does today’s post strike a chord? Please share your comments below.

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