In case you missed Part One last week here are four important points you need to know about Gen Xers:

  • The oldest Gen Xers turn 51 this year.
  • They are “The most influential generation”—according to Yahoo’s Gen X study released in February.
  • Entering middle age, they are a generation poised to create a high demand for health services.
  • Hailey Sault’s recent study on the drivers of consumer choice in health care in the U.S. provides a quantitative analysis and insight into what Gen Xers (and Boomers and Millennials too) really think and feel about their health and their health choices.

So how do you market healthcare to this skeptical, independent, middle generation that seems to have been passed over in favor of the younger, more populous Millennial generation?

  • Gen Xers value family, discovery and learning. They are well connected and work longer hours. They commute more and yet strive for a work/life balance. In spite of these competing demands, Gen Xers report they are happy overall and satisfied with their jobs.

9 ways to win the hearts of Gen X:

1. Be real.

Refine the marketing and communications approach to be honest—even brutally honest. They will love you for it. Or at least like you a little more.

2. Let them see themselves in you.

It’s the oldest of adages in our industry, but worthy of repeating. Know your audience. Don’t assume a one-message-fits-all. Calibrate messaging to the true feelings, motivators and raw life experience Gen X is living in the now. Reach back too—nostalgia is also a good thing. Consider taking them back to a time when they were only starting to be the adult’s adult. Bring levity to their intensely productive lives. Let them see their best self in your organization. And if that was just too touchy-feely a statement, then let the numbers validate: 38 percent said they were more likely to click on an ad specifically aimed at their generation. In addition, 54 percent of Gen X parents said they “noticed online ads that targeted them specifically as parents.”

3. Live where they live.

They surround themselves with multiple platforms for communication, information and entertainment. Use microtargeting opportunities in digital and tailor messages to them. It’s cost efficient. Measurable. The growth opportunities are worth it. TV, social media and other media are still consumed by Gen X. So be careful to not reduce communication vehicles too narrowly.

4. Show some street cred.

Be vigilant about your online ratings and depth and quality of online content. It isn’t enough for “MD” to appear after a name. Gen X skepticism rules and they are voracious searchers for reviews and ratings, as well as credible information. They question, evaluate. Don’t forget that. And let them hear it from the source. Videos are powerful. Let them hear what your experts believe, think and how they approach their professional responsibility. Let Gen Xers judge for themselves who is the best fit for them, because they will do it anyway.

5. Be practical, not complicated.

Gen Xers are sensible. Pragmatic. And appreciate timeliness and convenience. Respect their time and attention. Not only were many raised in single-parent homes, but they also lived through the economic decline of the 1980s and Great Recession. As a result, they can be suspicious of authority and the real intent of a message. They’re less likely to splurge on extravagant purchases and more likely to invest in practical items with quantifiable value, such as fitness trackers, wellness, preventive medicine.

6. Help them “do good”—for themselves, their families and their future.

The Yahoo report that called Gen X the most influential generation in America, also reported that Gen X has the most spending power of any generation, and accounts for 31 percent of the country’s total income dollars.

Generation Xers make up just a quarter of adults, but they account for 29% of estimated net-worth dollars in the U.S., according to a 2014 Shullman Research Center report.

 Harness their spending power to help them do long-term good for themselves and their families. While they are in a good place financially, they have some serious catching up to do. Inspire them to fight the good fight—they want a long healthy life. Help them get ready for the future. Help them save. Money. Time.

Remember families are of central importance to them. They work hard to provide for those closest to them. Connect them with your services that help improve the lives of their family members as well. The demands of caregiving, career, wealth building and change will inevitably take a toll on Gen X health.

Although Gen Xers are worried about paying for long-term health care in older age, they have not made strides in saving for those expenses. They characterize their lives as frenetic, busy, tiring and blessed. 
Although they think they’ll need $1 million in retirement savings and most participate in 401(k) or other retirement plans, they don’t feel like they’re doing enough to meet their financial retirement needs.

Gen Xers are caring for their health now with diet and exercise so they can build a foundation for their elder years.

7. Load this sandwich (generation) with lots of veggies.

Since they are in the midst of caregiving for their children, parents, and in some cases siblings, they need all of the health and wellness support they can get. This is the tech loving, smart phone living, fitness wearable wearing group. And for all of the insight, time saving and diligence, they are blessed and stressed, which leads me to the next point.

8. Give X some Zen.

Simplicity. Design that is easy on the eyes. Communication with calming appeal to the senses. Or a humorous interlude. Beautiful design. Easy to navigate online experiences. Refined communication pathways and touch points. Pretend Steve Jobs is with you in this process.

9. Look here for more insights on Gen X.

What to know more?—check out the National Geographic Channel’s “Generation X” series, currently running. Or the Gen X study just released by Yahoo. Or for some Gen X nostalgia, catch some John Hughes films on Netflix.


Hailey Sault and Frank N. Magid Associates 2015 online quantitative survey with 1,233 U.S. consumers ages 25–64.


Simmons Summer 2015 NHCS Adult Survey / Shullman Pulse study 2014 / Audience Theory / Yahoo Qualitative November 2015 4.