With the media spotlight often hitting Millennials, marketing to Gen X may seem like a total mystery. How can businesses reach them?

Who is Generation X?

A pool of nearly 50 million, Generation X comprises 16 percent of our U.S. makeup and ranges in age from about 39 to 50-years old. Gen Xers are sandwiched between the post-World War II Baby Boomers and the younger Gen Yers (which are all overshadowed in the media by the creative, technology-driven Millennials): born roughly between 1965 and 1976. Birth rates dropped in 1964, curbing the baby boom and beginning the “Baby Bust” generation (which they’re known as.)

Gen X was born into the quake of the Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam and Cold Wars. Later in the ‘90s, the Internet became available commercially, O.J. Simpson was acquitted of murder, and Friends premiered. Many Gen Xers were raised in two-income households and to counter that experience, creating familial stability and having children both rank high amongst their priorities, according to the Demographic Profile of America’s Gen X released by MetLife Mature Market Institute.

For Gen X, homeownership is an important focus. The majority of the generation owns their own home, and the greatest percentages of homeowners are married couples and families. As a slice of the Gen Xers are raising Gen Z, 50 percent prioritize saving for their children’s college costs, compared to 20 percent of adults overall, according to Rieve Lesonsky, GrowBiz Media CEO & president and founder in 2014 American Express article.

Marketing to Generation X:

Family is a central piece to many lives in Gen X.

Rather than solely marketing for her or his x-product or x-service, consider establishing events and products that are all-inclusive for youngsters, teens and adults. (Of course, that will depend on the types of services and products that you provide.) Across all marketing channels, use language that resonates toward families such as kids, teens, young adults, kiddos, college students and adolescents. For reaching out with family-related services, make sure the marketing is authentic and that you’ll be able to deliver those offerings.

Consider snail mail.

Flyers, periodicals, postcards, letters. Among young consumers (including Generation X and Generation Y), 75 percent rate the mail that they receive as valuable, according to the study, Gen X, Gen Y, and the Mail, commissioned by the U.S. Postal Service and summarized on PR Newswire. Also, 74 percent of Generation X reads retail-advertising mail. (While the findings are interesting and noteworthy, the study was commissioned close to a decade ago. So, it may be necessary to issue a second study to gather any changes of perspective.) If you choose to reach out with direct mail marketing, consider supplemental online marketing, as well.

Be Authentic

When it comes to TV advertising, both men and women in Gen X connect the most with everyday household and family activities, real-world situations and authenticity, according to The Nielsen Company, an American global information and measurement company. Within advertising, the majority of Gen Xers prefer calm, realistic and safe scenarios rather than wishful, aspiring or extreme. For women, sentimental moments resonated the most, and for men, direct and sensible approaches were the most effective. Of course, not all women in Gen X will love sentimental messaging, just as not every man will be excited to see advertising for a Toyota. To help, make sure to define and understand the specific population that you would like to reach within Gen X.

Social Media Marketing

Of course, not all women in Gen X would love sentimental messaging, just as not every man would be excited to see advertising for a Toyota. It is important to define and understand the specific individuals that you would like to reach within Gen X, and likewise, to identify the demographic that is reaching out for your company services or products.

But how?

Here’s to Connectivity, an extremely helpful resource that will save you loads of time and get you on an efficient track with social media marketing: Connectivity provides the tools needed to discover your audience. The platform identifies your customer demographics, their preferred social media platforms, and the technical tools that they’ve used to interact with your business. Have you received 300 calls and 3 emails? Or, vica versa? How successful is the return-rate of the surveys that you issue? Knowing those digits can help you decide where to pool or withdraw funds and make the business decisions that are the best for your business.


Morgan Tilton is a contributor the the Connectivity blog.