We were the generation once labeled "slackers," detached and melancholic. Now that most of us are flirting with forty, reality doesn't bite nearly as much it seemed when we were younger. According to the "The Generation X Report," from the University of Michigan's Longitudinal Study of American Youth, there are a number of myths can be corrected with the latest data.
We were born from 1964 to 1981. (Some argue that 1961 is the year that X starts - but most experts indicate that we start at about 1964 and 1965)
As the cultural spotlight gradually shifts away from retiring Baby Boomers, the analysis bolsters findings in a recent marketing study from JWT Intellegence, "Gen X: Flirting With 40,"(embeded below) which stated that Gen X has matured into a group of "technologically savvy, adventurous pragmatists." Recent media coverage of rants and reflections from Gen Xers in Gizmodo and The Atlantic has also generated intense discussion, fueling debate over whether a passing of the torch from Boomers is under way. This debate is making the case for marketers to shift their budgets from traditional methods of marketing.
Myth #1: Gen Xers are slackers.
Reality: Generation X devotes more hours to work than average and pursues continuing education.
- Compared to a national sample of all U.S. adults, Gen Xers are more likely to be employed and are working significantly more hours above average, according to the study. In Generation X, 86% is employed and 70% devote 40 or more hours to work each week. For those holding a doctorate or professional degree, that number shoots up to 50 or more hours. Also, 79% Gen X women work.
- Kids from "The Breakfast Club" era weren't so strung out on emotional issues that they passed up learning: Half of Gen Xers have completed a post-secondary degree and 9% are enrolled in continuing education.
Myth #2: Generation X is hopelessly single and pessimistic about marriage.
Reality: A higher percentage of Gen Xers stay married than Boomers, and most want to be married.
- Having spent their formative years in the era of growing divorce rates (divorce peaked in 1980) might lead to speculation that Gen X would run away from marriage en masse. In reality, two-thirds of Generation X is married and 71% report having children in the home. Additionally, divorce has been declining since 1996, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
- 83% of Gen Xers said finding the right person to marry and having a happy family life is very important.
Myth #3: Generation Xers are disengaged, existential isolationists.
Reality: Gen X is social.
- There's a reason Gen X is called the "Friends" generation. The report states that Gen X has extensive social, occupational and community networks outside of the immediate family. Two-thirds of respondents entertain friends for dinner or participate in group cooking at least once a month.
- One in 3 Gen Xers is an active member of a church or religious organization, and 29% volunteer in their community.
- 95% of Gen Xers report talking with friends or family on the telephone at least once a week, and 29% say they do so at least once a day.
Myth #4: As former latch-key kids, Gen Xers are wimpy, neglectful parents.
Reality: About 84% of Gen X parents expect their children to earn at least a baccalaureate, and 39% expect their child to earn a graduate or professional degree.
- 72% of parents of preschool children read to them three or more hours a week, and 83% of parents of secondary school students help with homework.
Myth #5: Generation X is depressed.
Reality: Generation X is actually pretty happy.
- Two-thirds of Generation X are satisfied with their job; 24% of these workers rated their job at 9 or 10 on the satisfaction scale.
- On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 meaning very happy, the median happiness score was 8, with 29% of Gen Xers saying they were very happy scoring a 9 or 10.
As we, the 45 million strong, have been sandwhiched in between the Boomers and Millennials, we are the generation that can move from the shot gun position into the driver seat of the economy. (Shhhh... I think we may be the Job creators the politicians are taking about.) We have a much more balanced approach and we are pragmatic as hell.
Given that we are technologically savvy, adventurous pragmatists, How will marketers motivate us to consider using their products and services? Since we are NOT keeping up with Jones like the Boomers, what stories will you tell us to motivate new behaviors?
This report from JWT may give you a glimpse into the opportunities that you may have with Gex Xers:
this is a great report on today's youth. It is a view of the first truly global generation, fuelled and empowered by technology and motivated by the same three fundamental needs: Commune (the need for connection, relationships, and community), Justice (the need for social or personal justice, to do what’s right, to be an activist), and Authenticity (the need to see things as they are). These motivations drive behaviours that transcend borders.
[via McCann Worldgroup’s global survey of 16-30 year-olds]
This week's presentation was a ton of fun to research. Who doesn't like to shop...non-stop? The Future of Retail: A Post Digital Approach to Shopper Marketing was an exercise in innovation and imaging the future of shopping.
While we are well into a the third decade of eCommerce and a new thriving generation of mCommerce technology has emerged, a number of ideas have surfaced as a beta of a new economy of commerce and consumerism. It begins by realizing that the aging of the Baby Boom generation is giving way to the coming of age of Generation Y, which has caused seismic shifts in consumer demand and shopping habits. Retail stores that have adapted [i.e. Best Buy, Sephora, Levi's ] to the new consumer demographics have begun to thrive in spite of the great recession.
A Post Digital Approach to Shopper Marketing
Beyond a perpetually evolving, decentralized shopping experience, retailers must begin to contemplate the impact of digital and social medias on the path to purchase. In this presentation I pose a simple challenge to the audience; If the the entire world can be a store; how would your customers make instant purchases regardless of time and place?
During the holiday season I did some facinating reading. On my list was The Buying Brain. It was fanstatically facinating and informative. If you are a marketer of any type this is a must read!
The Buying Brain offers an in-depth exploration of how cutting-edge neuroscience is having an impact on how we make, buy, sell, and enjoy everything, and also probes deeper questions on how this new knowledge can enhance customers' lives. "The Buying Brain" gives you the key to- Brain-friendly product concepts, design, prototypes, and formulation- Highly effective packaging, pricing, advertising, and in-store marketing- Building stronger brands that attract deeper consumer loyalty
Dr. A.K. Pradeep discusses the marketing implications of the fundamental differences among the brains of different groups of people. The book looks to understand the human brain in biological terms. He used EEG brain wave studies, eye tracking, and other techniques to look at some of the fundamental differences among the brains of different groups of people and the marketing implications of those differences.
In conducting his research, not only did Pradeep find significant differences between the brains of men and women, but he also found that the brains of mothers are significantly different than those of other women.
This is a highly readable guide to some of today's most amazing scientific findings, "The Buying Brain" is your guide to the ultimate business frontier - the human brain.
Jay-Z has partnered with Bing! to create an interactive treasure hunt . When you discover places in the book, online and off, you can “decode” them.
Check out the Decoded site - http://bing.decodejay-z.com/?fbid=bx5X8b8DMcd&wom=false
Who says banner ads don't work? UNIQLO proves we may be doing it wrong! Uniqlo developed a banner ad campaign so compelling, unique and interesting that bloggers and viewers actually took ownership of the campaign and made it a viral success – in terms of both brand impressions and sales. The banners are actually blog badges or widgets, that work like instant-win lottery tickets. Clicking the ’switch’ turned the images on any site - including other retail sites - into Uniqlo instant win tickets, with losing tickets remaining as banner ads.
[ via Brandflakes for Breakfast ]
As many of you have been following in the mainstream and tech media, in late April, Facebook [FB] announced and launched a number of new and updated products for developers. This set of products is centered on the Open Graph platform that allows the sites, brands and apps to share information about users in order to tailor offers, features and services. FB’s approach will lead to a truly social semantic experience across the web.
Context. FB has amassed more than 400 million users, 100 million mobile Users, 100 million Facebook Connect users and 25 billion items shared each month on FB. While integrating with FB may not be right for all businesses and situations, it will likely be a valuable tool to create rich connections between marketers and their audiences.
What does that
mean for your brand today?
Lets start with the social plug ins. Imagine a person coming to your website and knowing what their friends thought about the content of your site. FB has developed a set of portable social plug-ins that will make it easy for users to see information from or about their FB friends, share things with their friends or even log in to FB all without leaving your site.
You may have recently noticed that the fan page you were a “fan” of has become more of a community, company or brand page that allows you to “like” it. When you “like” a brand or product page, their content will appear in your personal news feed. The FB feed is the femoral artery of the FB and social experience. If you are a brand who wants prime real estate on the social web, the “like” button is the permission you need to deilver your content into people’s daily lives. Under this new release the “like” button is much more powerful and now more portable. You now can implement the “like” button, with a line of code on to your website.
The Activity Feed exposes the actions your friends on any website. When you're logged into FB and visit CNN.com, you will instantly see articles & topics your friends’ sharing, recommending & commenting on via Activity Feed.
The Recommendations Social Plug In helps make sites more relevant to you by highlighting content based on top "Likes" across a site. Think of it as a people-powered "most popular" list. For e.g., if logged into FB, a user can visit your brand web page and instantly see articles, product summaries and features that people are liking & sharing with their friends most often, in real time.
The portable FB Log In now lets you increase sign up rates at your site. This feature has the potential to catapult the power of the social CRM space. The Log in with Faces plugin displays your friend’s profile pictures that have already signed up for your site in addition to a login button.
We cannot forget the FB Social Bar. This nifty toolbar can be added to the bottom of your site. The Social Bar includes a like button, friends who like the site, as well as Facebook chat. I expect to see chat addition groups pop up across the web.
What does this mean for consumers on sites in the FB ecosystem?
Tonight when I visited Pandora, using FB’s new open graph protocol, I was able to see that it picked up my FB music interests and recommended Bebel Gilberto’s latest and recommended that I create a Pandora station because of it. Now that what I call personalization.
The new FB platform has jump-started the semantic web so that a users experience is incredibly personal and social with easy and simplicity.
If you have not had a chance to check out this video of the f8 conference key note address, I highly recommend it for anyone who wants to connect their brands to consumers in a relevant way.
Tags: , Activity Feed, F8, f8 conference, facebook, Facebook Connect, facebook friends, FB, FB Log In, Instant social, Like Button, Log in with Faces, New feed, Open Graph, Recommendations Social Plug In
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