BLOG- Xennials: The Hidden Generation You’re Not Marketing To
March 29, 2018
The majority of consumers fall into two generational categories: Generation X (the MTV generation) and Generation Y (A.K.A. ‘millennials’, A.K.A. the generation we all love to complain about). Millennials are still considered teenagers and twenty-somethings despite their oldest natives being nearly forty, while baby boomers are imagined as in their 50s and nearing retirement. These assumptions by marketers and the rest of society are polarizing and seem to exclude folks who are currently in their 30s and 40s. Are we missing something important and leaving out millions of people in our marketing strategies?
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Xennials have the best of both worlds
It could be that there is a micro generation sandwiched between Generation X and Millennials. This gap, a generation often referred to as “Xennials”, was most likely caused by the drastic technological transition that came with the rise and development of the internet and digital communications media. Xennials are the group of people born between 1977 and 1983 who grew up without the internet (okay, except maybe dial-up, but can we really count that?), but were young enough when it became prevalent to still learn the skills needed to be proficient on the web. These late-thirty and early-forty-somethings grew up spending lots of time outdoors, but are still comfortable navigating a smartphone today.
Xennials were the first generation to experience a lot of big-time cultural changes, and as such, they want different things from life! According to a survey of Xennials by J. Walter Thompson Intelligence, who call the generation “New Adults”, Xennials are the first generation choosing non-traditional ways of life. They are far less likely to marry than Generation X, and are “entrepreneurial, tech-savvy, and financially literate- yet still remain closely looped into culture.”
Xennials don’t feel represented
According to the same survey, 75% of Xennials don’t identify with the stereotypes of the generation they technically fall into. So why are we still categorizing them into Generation X and Generation Y? Xennials are carving the way for the adults of the future with their distinct perspective of the world, and hey, they’re older and have more money than student-debt-ridden millennials; maybe it’s time to tap into this unique market?
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How to approach Xennials in the marketplace
The most important thing to know about Xennials is that they have a foot in two different worlds: an analog, traditional world, and the world of digital technology. Since they understand both of these worlds, they may choose to favour either in certain situations. Because of this, Xennials are unpredictable, and don’t want you to make assumptions about them. To appeal to this market, avoid using stereotypes that have been previously used for men and women in their age group.
It’s time to stray from cliché
Xennials see right through the usual marketing tropes of cleaning products only for women and making “manly” packaging for men’s hygiene products. They want to see marketing that inspires them to break traditions and be different, because having in two different worlds, that’s what they’re prepared to do. If you’re looking to tap into the Xennial demographic, you need to know how your product can empower and support innovative and creative rule-breakers.