DEMOGRAPHICS SERIES: PAYING ATTENTION TO THE FORGOTTEN GENERATION

THOUGHT LEADERSHIP

Following on from Generation Z and Millennials, the next blog in our demographics series looks at how brands can engage with what is often described as the ‘forgotten generation’: Generation X.

Born between 1965 and 1980 this generation straddles the pre-digital and digital age, being as comfortable with traditional media and communications as they are with technology. It is perhaps this high comfort with both forms of media that has led many brands to show little concern for how they specifically engage with the demographic.

Until relatively recently this demographic was associated with having high levels of debt and limited purchasing power. However, this is starting to change as it is now beginning to acquire the spending power previously associated with the baby boomers, and is set to double its share of wealth by 2030. With the ‘forgotten generation’ poised to become unignorable for brands, read on for our top tips on developing relationships with Generation X.

 

1. Keep it personal

The value of a personal touch cannot be underestimated when it comes to Generation X. They grew up at a time where they played out on the street and ‘talking to friends’ meant meeting them in person – or at a push making a phone call with parental permission begrudgingly granted. As such, while they have played a critical role in developing technology (and quickly adopted it), they respond well to personal touches.

When trying to form and maintain relationships with Gen X, brands should therefore seek to develop an in-depth understanding of the individual. This can be achieved through gathering data via customer engagement metrics such as open and response rates, sales conversions and reward or communication preferences. Brands can then capitalise on this by refining and personalising interactions accordingly.

Be it a personalised email, recognising a birthday, suggesting a complimentary product based on a previous purchase, or even offering relevant rewards based on their behaviours, a personal touch will foster stronger relationships with this demographic.

This level of personalisation should be tempered with a word of caution: Generation X tend to be more cynical than other demographics. This means that it is essential your interactions are upfront and sincere, providing genuinely useful, truthful and informative content which lives and breathes your brand’s core values at every point of customer contact.

 

2. Answer their call to know ‘what’s in it for me?’

Generation X’s scepticism is accompanied by a strong desire to always know what’s in it for them. This means that when it comes to developing a relationship with them, it’s critical they can see that they stand to benefit from it as much as the brand they are interacting with. As a result, being overly promotional or using sales speak is unlikely to yield results.

This means that interactions, as well as being personal, must always add value to Gen X, whatever form they are delivered in. We’ve already touched on this generation being equally comfortable with traditional and digital media, meaning there are plenty of ways in which this can be achieved, spanning from written content through to videos.

This should be supplemented by establishing what value-adds you can provide or offer them. By analysing brand interactions and consumer habits, you will be able to recognise opportunities to both meet their requirements of knowing what’s in it for them, but also add extra levels of personalisation that will help your brand stand out from the crowd.
 

3. Tap-into their loyalty

While Generation X might be more sceptical when it comes to brand interactions, they are also the most loyal demographic, with 40% staying loyal to brands. This means that your investment in building trust is likely to deliver a solid return.

However, it’s important that this loyalty is not taken for granted; rewarding their loyalty is likely to further nurture the relationship and improve engagement with your brand. Again, personalising loyalty rewards is likely to help your brand resonate with this demographic.

Considering that Generation X leaves more online reviews than any other demographic you may also want to consider tapping-into this behaviour by offering additional incentives or rewards for those customers that frequently leave reviews. This will not only foster greater loyalty but help further enhance your brand’s online reputation.
 

Paying due attention to Generation X

With many brands often neglecting Generation X, adopting an approach which directly targets this demographic can help set you apart from competitors. And with Generation X’s spending power only set to grow, and them being more likely to remain loyal, taking steps to fully engage this demographic now could have long-lasting benefits for your brand.

For more information or advice on how to target Generation X, or if you’re interested in developing a loyalty and customer experience offering in line with the demands of your customers, get in touch today.

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