Generation X: It’s a generation almost as old as the Baby Boomers and Millennials that came before and after. Yet, they’ve been overlooked by most marketers when identifying key traits of different generations.
What many marketers fail to realize is that Gen Xers are all grown up with jobs, mortgages, and kids. So, if companies want to focus their marketing efforts with Generation X in mind, they need to stop thinking of them as 20-somethings and start understanding the sharp parenting skills this group has developed over the last decade.
It’s not always easy for a generation that grew up with “latchkey” kids’ parents who were too busy for them to fully embrace what it means to be a parent—yet that is exactly what Generation X has done. Today, young parents are older, wiser, and better equipped than ever before to take care of the little ones in their lives.
The qualities that Generation X developed during their formative years enable them to do parenting well. Here are three of the most common traits that companies need to pay attention to when marketing to Generation X parents.
1) They have an entrepreneurial spirit
Generation Xers are used to being self-sufficient because they spent so many years watching their parents struggle financially, not knowing where the next paycheck would come from. Many older Gen Xers can remember times when their parents had to choose between paying the bills and buying groceries, and they know what it’s like to grow up on rice and pasta.
As a result, Generation X is fiercely independent and entrepreneurial in spirit, constantly looking for new ways to save money and make the most of their resources. They spent so many years struggling with financial uncertainty that they are now hyper-aware of their options and know-how to fight hard for themselves and their families.
Generation Xers are very motivated, goal-orientated people who have no problem being self-starters when it comes to finding ways to make life better for themselves and their loved ones.
2) They are hard workers with demanding schedules
Generation X grew up watching their parents work long hours away from home to put food on the table, so they also take work very seriously. This generation is used to working hard because that’s what it takes to succeed in this world.
Generation Xers are not always easy to work for, but they have many of the qualities companies look for when hiring employees because they exhibit so much responsibility and initiative from a young age. In their youth, they became the default babysitter, dog walker, house cleaner—and everything else that needed to be done.
Now as parents, they bring those same skills to their career and family life. Generation X is a hard-working group that knows what it’s like being on your own, so they have no problem taking care of themselves or trusting other people with responsibilities.
What companies need to remember about this generation is that they trust authority and respect it—and they’re driven to succeed. They want to work hard because working hard means security and prosperity for their families.
3) They have a “do-it-yourself” attitude
Before the Gig Economy hit the scene, Generation X watched as their parents struggled with outsourcing responsibilities and felt bad about not being able to do more for them.
As a result, Generation X grew up with a “do-it-yourself” attitude and learned to be resourceful without help from others because they never knew when help would be available. They spent their formative years watching their parents struggle with money and time, which made this generation hyper-aware of how precious each one of these resources is.
Generation X knows how to fix things, they know how to do repairs, and they have an eye for spotting potential problems with home maintenance—and solving them before something goes wrong. They are the generation that wants to protect their family from harm in every way possible, which means paying attention to small details.
Generation X learned early on to trust their instincts about potential problems and take care of them before they become major issues—and this attitude has followed them into parenthood.
The combination of these three traits, an entrepreneurial spirit, a hard-working personality, and a “do-it-yourself” attitude are the reasons that this generation of parents is so smart about money. They have spent their entire adult lives striving to give their children the best possible life—and that means keeping them safe, happy, and secure.