Generation X – Society’s Forgotten Generation?
Not a day goes by where I don’t hear, read or see something about millennials, and how all segments of industry, marketing and business must adapt to their unique needs. Whether it’s the latest social media tools to keep them entertained and engaged, businesses fawning over ways to attract and retain them, to finding good, dedicated employees and brand ambassadors; it’s a story playing out every day.
As a proud member of Generation X, I truly can’t recall our generation ever being analyzed to this degree, or being the focus of so much effort and attention, aside from wearing too much plaid or listening to Nirvana. The Boomer generation had its time in the spotlight, and people probably talked about Gen X in much the same way, but I simply don’t recall it being this profound.
Millennials have already overtaken baby boomers as American’s largest generation, totaling an estimated 75.4 million, versus 74.9 million Boomers, with Gen Xers trailing behind and peaking at 65.8 million.
With millennials being the “Digital Generation,” the wealth of instant information tools like social media, the proliferation of the Internet and other emerging technologies play a large part in elevating the conversation today in ways not experienced by my generation.
Despite the persistent focus on millennials, there are many who believe that businesses are overlooking an entire generation when it comes to marketing. While Gen X is now generally more financially secure and has the ability and interest to spend money on a variety of products and services, we are simply not as targeted.
In April, ADWEEK ran a story on the 5 Reasons Marketers Have Largely Overlooked Generation X. They site our reputation as slackers, the small population, and the fact that brands aren’t sure how best to reach us as a few of the reasons identified.
Additionally, Bulldog Reporter recently highlighted a survey by the integrated communications firm Makovsky and conducted by Russell Research, which found that Gen X’s 65 million members (between 36-51 years of age in 2016) have disproportionately more spending power than any other generation. They also shared several key research findings, such as:
- For Gen X it’s family first – We focus on ensuring the success of our family and saving money for college, while also worrying about our aging parents.
- Gen X struggles between saving and indulging.
- Gen X seeks brands that offer value, convenience and trust.
- Email and Facebook are the best ways to reach us.
So to all fellow members of Gen X, what do you think? Do you believe that marketers are effectively targeting us? Are there particular ads, campaigns or brands that you believe speak most effectively to our generation? Do you feel left out? Do you care?
Don’t get me wrong, millennials are an important part of our society, as are my Boomer parents and friends, I just want to be sure our generation doesn’t lose its voice and helps exert some quiet influence in the future.