Much is being written in the media about generational decision-making when it comes to healthcare. Boomers are closing the digital divide, millennials are driving a streamlined end-to-end experience, and Gen Z is pushing that experience to include more transactional services such as voice search. But where is Gen X in all of this?
The generation that grew up with land-line phones and John Hughes movies before graduating to flannel and Nirvana spans 1965 to 1980. This ”invisible generation” is a forgotten one, sandwiched between two larger cohorts. While they may be small, they are mighty and influence healthcare decisions far beyond their own. If your marketing isn’t speaking to the Gen Xers in your community, let’s look at the many reasons this generation is pretty rad.
Gen X’s healthcare needs span the ecosystem.
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Gen X’s fingerprints are all over healthcare right now. Their kids are growing up, so they are supporting healthy habits, organizing doctor visits, and preparing their children to make their own healthcare decisions as they look ahead to college and beyond. Their parents are aging as well, and Gen Xers are helping to manage ever increasing care needs, supportive living arrangements, and even end-of-life care.
Their own care needs are picking up as well. Additional screenings are required as even the youngest members of this cohort are in their 40s. Metabolisms are slowing, and the risk of diabetes starts to spike, along with heart disease and high blood pressure. This can also be a high-stress time with kids, parents, and careers in full swing. Gen Xers are in a critical stage of preventive care and they need their health system to provide proactive support.
How do we connect with the Gen X audience? Anyone? Anyone?
Now far removed from the disillusioned slacker persona they once had, Gen X has become a hard-working, giving, and loyal generation. If you are Gen X (or hang with them regularly), you may recognize:
- They are pretty tech-savvy for digital immigrants but appreciate an old-school approach as well. Using a mix of social, email, and even snail-mail approaches work for this group.
- They are loyal. Research finds that Gen Xers are more loyal than millennial or baby boomer generations and show high affinity for brands they trust. Once you’ve built up that Gen X loyalty, advocacy is not far behind. In fact, many studies list Gen X as the biggest brand advocates of any generation, so it is very possible for them to bring family and friends to providers and hospitals that they trust.
- They are authentic and want you to be too. Known to be a skeptical group, Gen X can sniff out a fake a mile away. They are looking for real stories, real people, and real talk. In fact, 85% of Gen Xers say that authenticity is important when deciding what brands to throw their support behind.
- They love a good deal and will shop around for the best value. But this is a generation known to do their research, and price is not the only deciding factor. They are after information, context, and an understanding of expertise and long-term value, so make sure all these elements are available on your website and in marketing materials.
- Finally, they are nostalgic and surprisingly sentimental. You’ve probably noticed familiar songs popping up in commercials, and a new generation of Pound Puppies, Pac-Man, and film cameras making the scene. The ’80s and ’90s are now vintage cool, but your Gen X patients know the real thing when they see it. Don’t be afraid to inject some throwback fun into your Gen X marketing. Their nostalgic side will sit up and pay attention.
Now that you know how to get Gen X’s attention, I’ll give you one more reason to make sure that they appear in your marketing communications plans: While they may feel like a small generation now, their numbers are expected to surpass the baby boomer generation by 2028. So don’t you forget about them!
Our Digital Healthcare Strategy team helps healthcare and life sciences organizations better understand their audiences and create memorable digital experiences. Contact us today for more information.