The media loves to write about Baby Boomers and Millennials, and rightfully so. Huge in population and at the crest of two movements, these two generations are leading mass retirement and mass change.
But don’t let your business miss out on the power of the “middle child”- Gen X (1965-1981). Also known as the neglected and ignored latchkey kids, Gen X is the most educated, connected, powerful, tech savvy, student-loan free, and sitting in the C-suite.
Generation X Quirks:
- vividly remembers life without the internet, yet now, totally immersed in tech
- the recession hit them hard
- they remember privacy
- less likely to desire the spotlight
- they once bought McMansions, but know frugality
- 48% will be primary caretakers of their parents
As Pew Research puts it, “…they’re savvy, skeptical and self-reliant; they’re not into preening or pampering, and they just might not give much of a hoot what others think of them. Or whether others think of them at all.“
Remember, this is the generation that spent big bucks on status and propelled brands to exclusivity seemingly overnight. From the time they were kids with Jordache and Jams, to adults with Under Armour, Lexus, Coach, Tommy Hilfiger, and Apple. They are the most willing to spend money without philathropic ties.
So how do you sell to this independent group and convince them to open their wallets?
1. Don’t bullshit the bullshitters- this group will call you out, especially if you’re younger (they still follow “respect your elders” even though they’re thinking bs in their head). They don’t need you or your shiny object, so make them want to do business with you. “Like, know, and trust” definitely applies.
2. Building on #1, provide tremendous value. They may be harder to convert, but deep down, they know how to be loyal. They saw their parents and grandparents loyal to stores, brands, and employers for decades.
3. Pull them out from “lurking”. They are just as likely to be on social platforms, but are less than half as likely as Millennials to post or share on social. Tell stories, entertain with humor, and draw them out by emotionally connecting.
4. Use social proof from people that look, sound, and act like them.
5. Tell it to them straight and be specific. They are less “fluffy” than the generations before and after them.
6. Give them adventure. Gen X is fully entrenched in life and have-to’s, and needs to let loose sometimes.
7. The last generation to believe in winners and losers, competition excites them. Make it fun and decisive.
8. Help them with productive focus, benefits, and possibility. There is still a fire under that cool exterior.
9. Assist with new networking opportunities and established masterminds.
10, Connect the dots. They are willing to fork out big bucks to make business and life easier, more efficient, and productive. Take your pitch one step further than features/benefits and plainly explain what it will do for them specifically.
I understand the buying and transformative appeal of a massive Millennial generation, but only fools neglect the people with and willing to spend money. And for the next decade, that’s the Gen Xials- Gen X + older Millennials.
They may just make you work a little harder for it;)