Reprinted from Strategies newsletter, 4th Quarter © November 2002 by First Marketing, 3300 Gateway Drive, Pompano Beach, FL 33069.

Marketing to Generations X and Y; Going beyond the stereotypes (11/02)

Look beyond the stereotypes of Generations X and Y. . .
Is your company doing anything to reach these demographic groups?

If your answer is “no,” it’s probably because senior citizens and baby boomers have more money than the younger generations. But it won’t be long before Generations X and Y surpass the older crowd. Based on this, and other surprising facts about the “next generations,” you may want to rethink your marketing strategy.

Gen-Xers have grown up

The old perception of Generation X is that it is comprised of cynical, apathetic slackers. They’re not interested in status, money and social climbing, so they have low-paying jobs and little net worth. But the reality is that Gen-Xers work hard and save their money. They’re pragmatic, independent, self-reliant and serious. In one survey, 68 percent of high net worth Gen-Xers said that family is their most important priority.

Right now, there are 2 million Gen-X professionals with household incomes of $75,000 a year or more. Individuals under age 40 head one-third of U.S. households with $1 million or more in investable assets. Many describe themselves as traditional investors. Seven of 10 expect their standard of living in retirement to be greater than their parents’.

But many marketing initiatives aren’t aimed at this affluent group. Financial advisors, for example, have largely ignored Gen-Xers — even though they have billions of dollars to invest.

Gen-Yers are your future

Generation Y kids are perceived as pampered, ill-mannered, self-centered brats who waste their time surfing the Net, talking on cell phones and getting various body parts pierced.

It’s true that these kids do favor play over work. They also tend to demand instant gratification and, yes, own cell phones before they learn to drive. But that doesn’t tell the whole story. They volunteer in record numbers, from working at local food banks to raising money for cancer research. After the terrorist attacks last year, almost half of these kids gave money to the national relief effort.

Compared to the previous generation, Gen-Yers look awfully good. Teen arrests are down. So are drug use, drunken-driving accidents, pregnancies and high school dropout rates. Ninety percent of high school seniors expect to attend college. Almost half — 45 percent — who are old enough, have full- or part-time jobs. So they have money now, and will have more in the future.

In 15 years, Generation Y will outnumber baby boomers two to one as baby boomers age. And, because Generation Y are the children of boomers, they will be the ones inheriting the assets.

Generation Y
When were they born? 1981-1996
How old are they now? 6-21
How many are there? 70 million

Generation X
When were they born? 1965-1980
How old are they now? 22-37
How many are there? 50 million

Baby Boomers
When were they born? 1946-1964
How old are they now? 38-56
How many are there? 80 million

Find out more about Y

To put more sophistication into your marketing efforts to these youngsters, contact us to request The ABCs of Generation Y: 8 Things Marketers Should Know, a First Marketing publication.

To read more Strategies articles, click here to view the table of contents.

 
 
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