When it comes to generational marketing, we talk a lot about Baby Boomers, Millennials, and Gen Zers. Like a forgotten middle sibling, Gen X is often skipped right over.
You might not know a lot about them. They are the smallest generation after all. So why even focus on them? Well, interestingly enough, they are actually the group that owns the most promotional products overall. That’s a pretty powerful statement from the group with the least amount of people.
There’s a lot of potential to reach Generation X with promotional products. But it’s essential to understand this forgotten middle generation. By understanding their characteristics, values, and priorities, you’ll pack a more powerful punch with your promotional giveaways and gifts.
That’s why we’re starting off our generational marketing promotional products series focusing on Gen X. So before we get into the nitty-gritty, let’s make sure we understand who exactly Gen X is and what makes them tick.
Who is Generation X?
Gen Xers are born between 1965 and 1980, and are the generation sandwiched between Millennials and Baby Boomers. Currently, they are between the ages of 41-56.
What’s perhaps the most interesting thing about Gen X, is their relationship with technology. They’ve spent equal amounts of their life with and without the digital devices we have today. This makes them responsive to both modern and traditional types of marketing. Interestingly enough, this makes the message behind the marketing more important to Gen X than the platform or method you're using to reach them.
Generation X is the most brand-loyal generation. According to eMarketer, Gen X has a tendency to remain committed to brands they trust and feel connected with.
It’s also helpful to think about the day-to-day life of a Gen Xer. Approaching middle age, this population is busy raising children, paying mortgages and college tuition, plus dedicated to their careers.
How do you stand out to such a busy generation as authentic and trustworthy? Strategically chosen and targeted promotional gifts and giveaways can create strong brand connections. So let’s get into how to reach Gen X with promotional products.
Choose Promotional Products Centered around Work-Life Balance
Gen X’ers are known for their ability to separate work life and family life. Taking cues from their parents, the work-focused Silent Generation and workaholic Baby Boomers, Gen X has chosen to incorporate balance into their lives as much as possible.
Though they remain career-focused and work hard when on the job, they take their family time seriously and draw firm lines between the two. In fact, some social experts even say that gen-Xers were the first generation in America to coin the term “work-life balance”.
So if you're considering gifts to your employees or clients, consider promotional products that encourage this divide. Things like padfolios and calendars can help keep work at work, and schedules on track. Also, consider items that can be used both in the office and at the home.
The key here is to not just choose office-type promotional products primarily focused on promoting productivity at the workplace. Gen X will appreciate and connect with your brand more if your promotional products align with their work-life balance.
Nostalgia Goes a Long Way
Family values contribute to a strong feeling of nostalgia among Gen Xers. Promotional products that take your prospects or clients down memory lane will resonate well with this generation. Specifically, Gen Xers enjoy things that remind them of the following:
- Past events
- Childhood games
- Old fashion trends
- Music from when they were growing up (60’s-80’s)
Think about products that will remind them of their experiences while growing up. The goal of evoking nostalgia is to bring about sentimental memories that they’re fond of. It makes your brand and promotional products seem more like a personal gift, rather than a marketing tool.
Remember the timeline for Gen Xer’s. They grew up between 1965-1980. Childhood games, styles, and 60’s-80’s merchandise are all good options to help activate these fond memories.
Give Family-Focused Gifts
With a strong work-life balance comes an emphasis on family. The majority of Gen Xers either have school-aged kids at home or are helping their children navigate through college. According to a study done by NAS, 56% of Gen Xers are married, and 80% of these households have children.
Gen Xers remember what it was like growing up with workaholic parents. Because of this, they place special emphasis on home life, and family-focused activities. Keep in mind, that Gen X, though the smallest generation, is in charge of taking care of two of the largest generations - their kids (Millennials) and their parents (Baby Boomers). This means that you can almost guarantee that the Gen Xer that you’re marketing to has a family member they value and place a priority on spending time with.
So consider promotional product gifts that are family-focused, and can be enjoyed together. Food gift sets are a great option, as these bundles come all-in-one, and are easy to ship to the home. Other ideas include barbeque sets, items that get families out of the house like picnic baskets or blankets, or items that get people together in the house, like cookware sets or glassware sets.
Focus on Personal and Authentic Promo Gifts
Finally, a big part of appearing authentic and trustworthy to Gen X is getting personal. Remember, they’re more likely than any other generation to stay loyal to your brand if they feel you appeal to their values. So if you really want to reach Gen X with your promotional products, it’s important to get to know your customers or prospects on a personal level and consider investing in items inspired by this knowledge.
Gift boxes sent straight to the home are a great way to make a client feel valued on a personal level. The great part about gift boxes is there are quite a few ways you can get personal. Consider including a handwritten note for your prospect or client and an explanation on why you chose the gift targeted for them.
Gift sets are often categorized by theme, which can make it easy when trying to select a gift based on personal preferences. From cocktail gift sets to premium drinkware sets, you can usually find something for everyone.
Another way to make these gifts personal is to send them on special occasions. Consider the following occasions to send gift boxes to Gen Xers to connect and personalize your brand.
- Client or prospect birthday gifts
- Employee welcome gifts
- Holiday gifts
- Employee appreciation gifts
- Customer loyalty gifts
- Employee anniversary gifts
Here are some fun gift set ideas to get you started:
The Key to Marketing to Gen X is to Understand Your Audience
The biggest advice we can give you when marketing to Gen X, is to understand your audience. The takeaway is Gen Xers value authenticity. And the only way to be authentic as a brand is to really get to know your customers, prospects, or employees on a personal level.
We’ve hand-picked a collection of Generational Marketing products with the hope you’ll find a product that’s perfect for your target persona. And remember don’t just give promotional products just to give. If you have a strategy and value authenticity, you’ll be one step closer to delighting and converting Gen Xers.