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Are marketers missing out on Gen X?


A recent Boston Globe headline on the front page was almost comical: “As baby boomers and millennials grab headlines, the lost Generation X asks, ‘What about us?’”

“With a seemingly endless stream of attention being showered these days upon millennials and the aging baby boomers, Gen X — that cadre of (roughly) 39- to 54-year-olds — has been feeling forgotten, unappreciated, and, frankly, a bit left out,” the article states.

“We’re just ignored across the board,” lamented Scott Latham, a 48-year-old strategy professor at University of Massachusetts, Lowell.

A Nexis search of U.S. newspapers from the past month turns up 1,372 references to millennials, 486 to boomers — and 79 for Xers.

Driving home that point, a 2017 report by Nielsen is titled: “Nielsen Takes A Look At Generations — In Particular, Millennials.”

Now there’s even more competition, with a Marketing Land article telling millennials to “move over,” because Gen Z is now the largest single population segment.

However, despite making up only a quarter of the population, the demographic controls 31 percent of the country’s wealth, Forbes reported in 2016. That number is bound to have grown as the Gen Xers presumably move up career ladders.

Gen Xers have become influencers of both boomers and millennials, making them a smarter marketing target, the Forbes article points out.

More than half of Gen Xers are aware that marketers are not targeting them directly, according to Entrepreneur, and are frustrated at being treated like an afterthought.

“Gen Xers are entrepreneurial, highly educated and have lofty job expectations, yet we seek work-life balance in ways other generations do not,” wrote Jarrod Walpert in the article. “In the end, we Gen Xers hold fast to our belief that we’re the original work hard, play hard generation, and we never stop looking at ways to connect the communication skills we learned growing up with what we know we need to embrace for the future.”

That might be a perfect marriage for the marine industry, which is synonymous with fun, gives the perfect antidote to the work-life balance and is currently exploding with technology.

But as the Entrepreneur article cautions: “Yes, I’m a Gen Xer. Come knock on my door; I’ll be waiting for you. If you continue to ignore me, I’ll just find somewhere else to invest my attention, time and money. It’s what I was taught to do.”


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