Marketing to the Forgotten Generation

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Wedged between baby boomers and millennials, Gen Xers are in their prime move-up home buying years, yet they are often ignored. Here are the secrets to understanding them—and earning their trust.

All of these characteristics make Generation Xers a unique when it comes to marketing new homes. You have to connect with them, build their trust, and offer them just the right mix of financial certainty and livable features. Here’s how:

  1. Recognize  they are cautious: Gen X move-up buyers are still trying to accumulate wealth, and they are extra cautious due to their experiences during the recession. Offer reassurance by sharing your buying and building process with them up front. Let them know that building with you will be nothing like their past experience, and that you are there to be their partner. Take it a step further and use imagery that represents family game night–the exact type of “home” experience these latchkey kids are hoping to provide for their families.
  2. Be straightforward: Along with being skeptical, Gen Xers are also highly educated and want to make smart decisions for themselves and their families. Don’t sell to them; rather, earn their trust by giving them all the information they need in order to make an educated decision. The right marketing pieces will position you as their partner in the home buying process while empowering this buyer to gather all the information they yearn for.
  3. Focus on home: As children of broken families, many Gen Xers want the opposite for their own kids; they’re focused on the idea of coming home to family, love, and memories. By showing that you understand their wants, you can connect with Gen Xers through every step of the home building process. Emphasize a happy, balanced lifestyle in your marketing materials, and show how building with you helps their family and children.
  4.  Emphasize investment: Builders have gotten away from the message of the home as a financial investment, but it’s something Generation X craves. This group is educated; good information about potential returns will help earn their trust. In addition, acknowledge that they have earned the home they desire. They had to compromise and rent longer than any other generation, and they have a strong yearning to move up to a home that is more reflective of their growing needs.
  5. Go online: Like Millennials, most Gen Xers are tech-savvy and prefer to start their shopping online. In fact, they shop for about 11 weeks, on average, beginning with three weeks online. Be sure to optimize your website for mobile viewing, or you can forget about capturing their attention.
  6.  Go visual: Gen Xers want to see photos and videos—and lots of them. This trait isn’t due to laziness, but rather that they trust what they can see, not fluffy copy. Artistic renderings are not right for this demographic. Think 3D floorplans and Virtual Reality home tours.
  7. Go social: Gen Xers are on social media just as much as their younger counterparts, and they have come to expect the two-way communication it provides. Ensure your company is not only active on major social platforms, but is engaging with potential buyers regularly and responding to inquiries quickly.

Like boomers and millennials, Generation Xers have their own unique set of likes and dislikes, motivations and turn-offs. By taking the time to understand the traits that set them apart, builders can expand their customer pool to a lucrative new base of potential—and very willing—home buyers.

Original article, written by Mollie Elkman, was featured in the 2016 Summer Issue of Best in American Living.

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