Marketing to Generation X: How Gen Xers Behave and Buy Online

marketing to generation x

I’ve written more than 140 articles for THE DRIVE, but this one will be a first of sorts.

Usually, I’m wearing my marketer’s hat and sharing tips on how to identify, nurture, and ultimately sell to your customers. We are the hunters. Our prospects are the hunted.

Today, we’re talking about marketing to Generation X.

I was born in 1979 which puts me right at the tail end of Generation X. So, for the first time on THE DRIVE, I’m both marketing predator and customer prey.

Please excuse me if I slip into the first person a bit. Let’s go!

Insights! How Other Brands Are Marketing to Generation X.

Handmade Writings, an agency that ghostwrites academic content, recently released a sweet infographic breaking down content consumption data in each of the four relevant generations to online sellers – baby boomers, Gen Xers, millennials, and boomlets.

(We covered marketing to baby boomers last month.)

The smallest generation of the four, Generation X (folks born between 1965 and 1980) is defined by MTV, John Hughes movies, and the introduction of hip-hop and grunge music.

Unlike baby boomers, members of Generation X were mostly introduced to computers before reaching the workforce. As a result, we’re far more technologically-savvy and far more reachable via online marketing.

Here are some quick hits on Generation X’s online habits.

  • Generation X is most active online between 8 p.m. and midnight.
  • Although we’re not averse to tablets, we prefer to use our desktops or laptops.
  • Generation X is most attracted to entertainment and lifestyle content online.
  • More than 80% of Generation X uses social media with a preference toward Facebook.
  • Generation X feels an especially strong bond with Jeep, BMW, Whole Foods, and Olay.*

Action Items! 5 Tips for Marketing to Generation X.

1. Find Us on Facebook.

Back in the day, you had to have a .EDU email address to join Facebook. Generation X was mostly out of college by then, so that kept us on the sidelines – or on Myspace – for the first few years of Facebook’s growth.

Eventually, we were allowed in and today we out-number the far larger baby boom generation on the platform.

2. Open a Mailchimp Account.

My personal pet peeve: Millennials sending me work stuff via text message or IM. Grrr. Get off my lawn. If there’s one generation that’s especially addressable via email, it’s Generation X. So get to work on those newsletters and don’t forget email automation.

3. Oh, a Twitter Account Too.

Approximately 8.5 million Gen Xers regularly use Twitter. If you’re selling to Generation X, you should probably consider this platform. Hell, if you’re selling to anyone you should consider Twitter… and these Twitter usage stats prove it.

4. Tell Your Story on a Blog.

The last two tips have driven you to open Mailchimp and Twitter accounts, but what are you going to put in all those emails and tweets? Blog posts, of course. Generation X is probably the last generation that’s willing to really sit and digest the written word.

5. And with Digital Videos.

Nearly four-in-five Gen Xers download or watch online videos every month. Maybe it was all the MTV we watched growing up. So don’t worry about the videos you’re creating for younger generations being lost on us. We’re definitely down to watch.

* The MBLM Brand Intimacy Rankings attempt to quantify the emotional bond between consumers and brands. Some brands (like Amazon, Apple, and Disney) rank highly no matter the age. Jeep, BMW, Whole Foods, and Olay rank highly among Generation X but not necessarily among other generations.

How are you marketing to generation X?

About the Author

Matt Simpson

Matt is a freelance writer for The DRIVE blog with expertise in digital marketing, social media, and copywriting. He's active in the #yesphx startup movement and has been recognized by AdWeek, Mashable, and more for digital innovation. Visit Matt's website or follow Matt on Twitter.


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