Gen X: The overlooked audience

Vice President, Audience Engagement

Financial Services Marketing to Gen X

No One Cares About Gen X (But They Should!)

Every marketer knows that companies have long been fascinated with attracting Gen Y consumers to their brands. It now seems that the newest trend is speaking to Gen Z the right way. Why? Because Gen Y and Gen Z are seen as representing the future—they are going to college, purchasing their first homes, getting married, buying cars, starting families, and taking on their first chunks of debt (hello, credit cards and student loans!). Acquiring these generational groups at a young age is a smart move for companies because it can potentially lead to them being lifelong customers. But what about marketing to Gen X?

It seems like Generation X is often overlooked, especially by financial services institutions. Ignoring them means missing out on a big opportunity with the group that is being coined as “The Sandwich Generation” because they are at a unique stage of life where they are caring for both their aging parents and their own children. They don’t need as much as Gen Y and don’t have as much as Boomers do, but speaking to Generation X correctly can help capture an audience that is often overlooked by marketers.

Gen X Media Consumption

Generation X was born between 1965 and 1980, which means they are between the ages of 40 and 55 years old. Interestingly enough, the media consumption behaviors of Gen X closely mirror that of Gen Z and Gen Y. 92% of Generation X owns a smartphone and they spend about 21 hours a week on their device. They are also the biggest users of Facebook, spending over 7 hours per week in engagement. What does this mean? Digital is not dead for Gen X and is arguably the most effective way to engage with them. That being said, Gen X continues to interact with traditional media, including radio and outdoor, because they are often on the road—commuting to and from work or traveling with their kids. It may be hardest to get their attention through TV. While they watch broadcast TV (about 40 hours per week), there are few interactions due to distractions at home, meaning you must have the right message to resonate with them and get their attention.

Marketing to Gen X

Marketers need to take a unique approach to attracting Gen X customers by speaking to them in a way that is relevant and focuses on the needs of their current life stage. They are carrying the highest amount of credit card debt, they continue to struggle with saving for retirement, and they lack financial education. They are looking for a partner who can help educate them and a solutions provider who can help them reduce their debt and save for the future.

FARM recently executed a marketing campaign for one of our financial services clients, Lake Shore Savings Bank, who was looking to target potential Gen X customers and promote their home equity line of credit (HELOC) product. Keeping in mind what we know about Generation X, including how they bank, how they consume media, and how to best connect with them, we developed a theme that was focused on educating this group about the HELOC product and its benefits. A HELOC can be used for many things outside of house improvements, such as a family vacation or caring for an aging loved one. This is often overlooked when a consumer is not familiar with the financial product. We also altered the media buying to focus on the channels that Gen X engages with most—i.e., digital, radio, and outdoor.

Does your brand need help with marketing to Gen X? Don’t miss out on opportunities to engage this group. FARM can help you target Generation X through the right channels with messaging that resonates. Drop us a line! We’re here to help.

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Jillian Cascarino
Vice President, Audience Engagement
As our vice president of audience engagement, Jillian puts her more than 20 years of experience connecting companies with their customers through targeted storytelling techniques to good use. Her expertise in customer engagement strategies and tactics extends to organic social media, content marketing, and public relations, as well as strategic planning and messaging, marketing persona development, and audience alignment. When she’s not working, Jillian’s baking sweet treats for family and friends, tending to her garden, or playing board games with her husband and son.

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