Although Millennials and Baby Boomers dominate headlines and many marketers’ strategies, there is another significant generation that is constantly being overlooked when it comes to marketing. Generation X (currently ages 38-53), often referred to as “the forgotten generation,” may be smaller in size than Millennials and Boomers, but that does not make them less important. In fact, according to Forbes, this generation of 66 million individuals is outspending both of these more populous generations—to the tune of one-third more annually, to be exact. Gen Xers also have purchasing power over other generations, as nearly half of Generation X is currently supporting a parent while also still raising a child, and, according to Business Insider, are making more than their millennial counterparts, too.
The Professional Pest Management Alliance (PPMA) conducted a generational survey across Millennial, Gen X and Baby Boomer generations with the goal of understanding similarities and differences related to pest control needs and perceptions. The findings of this survey offer insights into how marketers can best reach Generation X to ensure their efforts are effectively attracting this powerful generation. Read on for three ways to guarantee your business’ marketing program isn’t overlooking Generation X.
THE POWER OF THE WEB
It’s no secret the internet is one of the strongest mediums in marketing, and this is especially true for reaching Generation X. They are extremely tech savvy and are on smartphones and laptop computers just as much, if not more, than Millennials. According to PPMA’s survey, 31 percent of Gen Xers reported they would rely on internet searches to find a pest control company, and 80 percent conduct online searches for local pest control companies specifically, so it’s crucial that your website is fully optimized for both desktop and mobile users.
Because Gen Xers rely heavily on web searches to find goods and services, it’s imperative to employ search engine optimization (SEO) efforts to help increase visibility of your website among this target demographic. To help increase your website’s search engine ranking, develop a list of keywords and search terms related to your target audience, market segment and location, and be sure to use those keywords throughout your entire website. You can register your site with Google Search Console and Google Analytics to receive insights into how to boost your SEO.
Another insight gleaned from PPMA’s survey is that 70 percent of Gen Xers also want to be able to book their appointments online, so having a visible and user-friendly booking option on your site would be attractive to this generation.
According to research conducted by Nielsen, Gen Xers spend more time than Millennials on every type of device—smart phone, computer or tablet. This may be surprising to some, but between caring for their children, dealing with employees at work and becoming the primary caretaker of their parents, Gen Xers are constantly communicating all day. They are also always on the go, so it’s important to have your company’s contact info clearly visible to make contacting your business a breeze while they’re on the move.
SOCIAL IS KEY
When researching a pest control service, Gen Xers are highly influenced by online sources, such as social media platforms and review sites, and they spend a good amount of time analyzing reviews, looking at both quantity and quality of the feedback. The survey also found 60 percent of Gen Xers cite Facebook as their go-to social platform, and they make up the highest concentration of Facebook users out of any other generation at around 45 million users. Creating a Facebook business page for your company is a great marketing tool to ensure you remain visible to Gen Xers. There, you can link to your company website and provide contact information, and users are able to see customer reviews and comments about your services. You can also pay to boost content through Facebook Ads Manager to further guarantee it is reaching your target audience.
During the PPMA survey, when asked to rank the relative importance of a review site on a final purchase, Gen Xers averaged 89 out of 100, putting review sites at the top of the list. The popular review site and app, Yelp, also outranked other review sites Gen Xers are using to find a pest control professional. A fully optimized Yelp profile allows customers to quickly look up your services, read reviews and find contact information, all in one place.
STAYING IN TOUCH
When it comes to appointment confirmations and reminders, Gen Xers find mobile alerts and email reminders most appealing. In fact, 72 percent said they prefer a mobile alert prior to the technician arriving, and 71 percent said they like email reminders as well. Once their appointment is booked, 65 percent of Gen Xers prefer to be contacted over the phone regarding upcoming pest control services, but they are still more receptive to communication through email and text leading up to the appointment than their older counterparts in the Boomer generation.
Email marketing campaigns are an effective tool to reach this group, as they are on their devices more than other generations and are constantly checking their email at home, work and on the go. Email marketing can be in the form of a monthly or quarterly newsletter with business updates and exciting news, timely pest announcements related to the season, and any other important information you want to get out to your customer base. There are numerous email marketing services you can sign up for, such as Constant Contact, that allow you to easily create templates, upload recipient lists and send out emails in mass to help make your email marketing campaign as cohesive and effective as possible.
Although Generation X is sometimes lost in the shuffle, stuck between the ever popular Millennial and Baby Boomer populations, they are a key demographic your business should not overlook. Between their income, spending habits and involvement in the lives of both generations they are sandwiched between, Generation X should be at the forefront of every marketing program’s list of target audiences. By having a strong web presence and optimized website, a highly visible and curated social presence and review site profiles, and reaching out through this group’s preferred means of contact, you can ensure your business is successfully marketing its services to the no longer forgotten Generation X.
Cindy Mannes is the executive director of the Professional Pest Management Alliance. Visit www.npmapestworld.org/ppma for more information on how you can become involved.