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Marketing Tactics for Financial Professionals to Connect with Generation X

Valerie Rivera September 28, 2021

Two people as part of Gen X looking at a laptop

The media (and culture at large) often forgets about Generation X—born between 1965 and 1980—in favor of the larger Baby Boomer or Millennial generations.

But that doesn’t mean they’re any less important to financial professionals. In fact, Gen X is uniquely positioned to benefit from financial advice.

As the new sandwich generation, Gen X is saddled with the responsibility of caring for both their children and at least one parent. They face numerous pressures that affect their financial lives, leading them to seek guidance on how to achieve their goals.

You just need to reach them first.

Who Is Generation X?

Gen X is defined by their independence, resourcefulness, and tendency to question social norms.

They were raised in a time of great cultural change, including rising divorce rates, increasing cold war tensions, and the growing presence of technology in daily life. They’ve even witnessed some of the most impactful events in American history—including Watergate, the AIDS crisis, and the Challenger explosion.

From an economic standpoint, Gen X has endured extreme financial market conditions: the Crash of 1987, the dot-com bubble burst of 2000, 2008’s Great Recession, and now, the short 2020 recession spurred by COVID-19. This economic volatility has led many Gen Xers to struggle with large debts and job insecurity.1

With all these forces at work, it’s not surprising that they’re often labeled a deeply skeptical and self-reliant cohort. This can make them tricky targets for marketing.

But when you leverage the right tactics and earn their trust, you may land a planning client for life.

Marketing Tactics That Resonate with Gen X

Create a Well-Defined Brand

Developing a distinct brand identity attracts more Gen X clients.

Once you capture a Gen X client with a brand that meets their needs, they’re unlikely to move on. According to one study, more than four in 10 of Gen Xers stick to brands they like—a trait that this study identified as “extreme brand loyalty” compared to other generations.2

Finding your value proposition and communicating it effectively across your marketing channels is the first step of creating a strong brand. Shape all communications around your brand story and your target audience, and clearly communicate how your value proposition meets that audience’s needs.

Utilize Content Marketing

Gen X may be known for their skepticism and independence, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t need (or want) help from a financial professional. In fact, one study found that the majority of Gen Xers wanted some level of financial advice.3

Leveraging content marketing tactics will help you meet the Gen X desire to do their own research while also building a relationship with them and cultivating trust.

One of the biggest predictors of success for any content marketing strategy is ensuring that your content is interesting and helpful to your target audience.

Luckily, Gen X’s financial concerns give you a wide range of topics to explore, such as:

  • Saving for retirement: 44 percent of Gen Xers aren’t confident they can save enough for retirement.1
  • Paying down debt: Gen X carries higher balances on average in all major debt categories than any other generation.1
  • Caregiving: Many Gen Xers currently support their parents, which can be both emotionally and financially draining.
  • Saving for college: Gen X wants to see their children receive a high-quality education and succeed, but struggles with the financial challenges this can present.
  • Financial wellness: Being a member of the sandwich generation is stressful, so it’s important to emphasize the role that mental health plays in overall financial wellness.

Consider Your Mobile Experience

Gen X may not have grown up with a smartphone in hand, but they’ve fully embraced technology and spend an average of three hours per day on mobile devices.4

Mobile usage will only increase as Millennials and Gen Z age, so if you haven’t considered how your firm’s website and other digital marketing materials translate on mobile, then it’s time to start. Ensure that your website and emails are accessible on phones and tablets.

Don’t Ignore Social

Gen Xers may not be digital natives, but they’re still active on social media—especially Facebook and YouTube.5

Incorporating Gen X into your generational social media strategy is a must. In fact, the vast majority of Gen Xers (88 percent) report using Facebook.6 They also identify Facebook as the social media platform where brands are best at creating the kind of content that they wanted to see.7

Investing in these platforms should go beyond paid ads. Make sure you have an active presence on these platforms by:

Use Old Media, Too

One of the most distinctive characteristics of Gen X is their affinity for both old and new media. Gen X still reads print newspapers, listens to the radio, and watches TV, but also spends a significant amount of time on digital channels.8

Leverage a diverse mix of marketing tactics to reflect this demographic’s hybrid approach to media consumption. For example, building a robust presence on social and reaching out through email should be paired with more traditional marketing approaches like live events or direct mailers.

Learn more about how you can evaluate and shape your firm’s marketing strategy by watching our webinar “Assessing Your Digital Marketing Strategy” below.

Sources:

1. Stolba, Stefan L. “Generation X: Caught in the Middle of Heavy-Debt Years.” Experian, 2019. April 17. https://www.experian.com/blogs/ask-experian/gen-xers-have-the-highest-average-total-debt-balances/.

2. Lamb, Rachel. “Brand Loyalty Highest in Gen X Consumers: eMarketer.” Retail Dive, 2021. January 27. https://www.retaildive.com/ex/mobilecommercedaily/brand-loyalty-highest-in-gen-x-consumers-emarketer.

3. Collinson, Catherine. “Generation X Workers: Retirement Reality Bites Unless Answers Are Implemented.” Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, 2014. August. https://www.transamericacenter.org/docs/default-source/resources/center-research/tcrs2014_sr_generation_x.pdf.

4. Holmes, Chris. “5 Ways to Limit Screentime At Bedtime.” WhistleOut, 2020. November 5. https://www.whistleout.com/CellPhones/Guides/5-ways-to-limit-screentime-at-bedtime#screentime.

5. “Leading Social Networks of U.S. Generation X 2020.” Statista, 2021. January 27. https://www.statista.com/statistics/304856/leading-social-networks-gen-x-usa/.\

6. Koch, Lucy. “The Three Ps of Gen X Tech Use: Plugged In, (Social) Platforms and Privacy.” eMarketer, 2019. August 20. https://www.emarketer.com/content/the-three-p-s-of-gen-x-penetration-social-platforms-and-privacy.

7. “2017 Consumer Content Report: Influence In The Digital Age.” Stackla, 2017. https://stackla.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/Stackla-Data-Report-FINAL.compressed.pdf.

8. “Boomers, Gen X, Gen Y, Gen Z, and Gen A Explained.” Kasasa, 2021. July 6. https://www.kasasa.com/exchange/articles/generations/gen-x-gen-y-gen-z.

DISCLAIMER: The eMoney Advisor Blog is meant as an educational and informative resource for financial professionals and individuals alike. It is not meant to be, and should not be taken as financial, legal, tax or other professional advice. Those seeking professional advice may do so by consulting with a professional advisor. eMoney Advisor will not be liable for any actions you may take based on the content of this blog.

About the Author

Valerie Rivera, Senior Product Marketing Manager at eMoney Advisor, leads the go-to-market strategy for eMoney’s suite of business development solutions. Valerie began her career at eMoney in 2012 as an Account Executive and then a Live Trainer where she trained over 1,000 advisors on the eMoney platform – helping them drive success in their firms. In her spare time you can find Valerie outdoors--snowboarding, hiking, and mountain biking in her home in Colorado.

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Welcome to
Heart of Advice

a new source of expert insights for
financial professionals.

Get Started

Tips specific to the eMoney platform can be found in
the eMoney
application, under Help, eMoney Advisor Blog.