"the term Generation X . . . from a book written in 1991. . . By the same name.
is a fictional book about three strangers who decide to distance themselves from society to get a better sense of who they are. . . . [Douglas Coupland, author,] describes the characters as 'underemployed, overeducated, intensely private and unpredictable'"
(Jochim, 1997, ¶ 4).
Generation X Consumer Product
Generation X technically comprises the generation following the Baby Boom generation; born between 1965 and 1980. In the article, "Generation X defies definition," Jennifer Jochim (1997) asserts that the definition for Xers varies with different sources: "Generation X can technically be defined as the generation following the Baby Boomers. Xers were born between 1965 and 1980, 1961 and 1981, 1964 and 1979, 1963 and 1979, 1965 and 1975 or since the mid-1960s" (¶ 2). In 2011, Xers typically range from 31 to 46 years old.
Generation X Segment Report Description
Most Generation Xers grew up watching television (TV), playing Atari games on TV screens, and working as well as socializing on personal computers. As the media related elements of the characters in the novel, Generation X, noted earlier, many in society began to perceive Xers as "cynical, hopeless, frustrated and unmotivated slackers who wear grunge clothing, listen to alternative music and still live at home because they cannot get real jobs" (Jochim, 1997, ¶ 6). The stereotypical label stuck.
In the journal article, "Meet Mr. And Mrs. Gen X: A new parent generation strategies for school leaders when dealing with customer-service expectations, self-interest and stealth-fighter tactics," Neil Howe (2010), president and co-founder of LifeCourse Associates, assert that generally, contrary to the more ambitious, global, and idealistic perspective of Boomers, Genearation Xers possess a practical, bottom-line perspective. To best communicate with and market products and services to Xers, Howe recommends:
Gen Xers do not routinely remain loyal to a brand. Those marketing to Xers need to deliberately market to them; specifically spell out the rules, and initiate positive relationships early.
Unlike Boomers, Gen Xers do not trust good intentions or an ingenious institutional process. They prefer to trust bottom-line incentives and individual accountability. Xers do not want to view flow charts and guidelines. They prefer to see a real person -- one concretely accountable for the outcome.
Gen-Xers desire measurable standards in education and want to know how those particular standards link to career and life success. They want also demand transparency in critical deliberations about strategy.
In the realm of education, whether parents or teachers, Gen-X apply the "FedEx" test. They expect the services they subscribe to will be cheerful, efficient, and fast. Xers expect online information as well as alternative products to be delivered in real time; 24/7.
Xers compartmentalize components and view transactions series of discrete and modular choices. Generation X consumers frequently deal out the middleperson. They avoid product packages and demand items he customized to their preferences. They would choose purchasing on song on a site like iTunes over buying a CD (Howe, 2010)
III. Definition and History of Generation X
Robert Capa reportedly first referred to the Generation X," the unknown generation
during the early l950s, according to Christina Lee (2010) in the book, Screening Generation X: The politics Generation X growth statistics. Capa captured the life experiences of a group of 20-year-olds after the Second World War in a photo-essay project. Later, in 1964, Charles
Hamhlett and Jane Deverson coauthored the book, Generation X; documenting interviews with British youths. The majority of these youth characterized themselves to belong to a subculture like the Mods or Rockers.
Twelve years later, during l976, a punk band that Billy ldol fronted identified itself as "Generation X" Douglas Coupland's 1991 fictional account, Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture reportedly "put Generation X on the cultural map" (Lee, 2010, p. 17). The three 20 something year olds run away to a desert town on the fringes of Palm Springs, California. Here as they "escape a vacuous, middle-class mentality" (Ibid.), they ponder the meaning of life. The following portrays an excerpt from the novel; revealing the mindset of the characters considered members of Generation X:
We live small lives on the periphery; we are marginalized and there's a great deal in which we choose not to participate ... Our systems had stopped working, jammed with the odor of copy machines, Wite-Out, the smell of bond paper. And the endless stress of pointless jobs done grudgingly to little applause. We had compulsions that made us confuse shopping with creativity, to take downers and assume that merely renting a video on a Saturday night was enough. (Coupland, as cited in Lee, 2010, p. 17)
Another generation group, the millennials, born between 1977 to 1998, reportedly reflect the same "rebelliousness" of those individuals in Generation X Philip Atkinson (2008), a philosopher specializing in issues concerning the preservation of Western civilization, asserts in the article, "Millenials: Researching the application of demographics to build customer relationships and HR strategy," that while growing up, Generation Xers likely experienced more distrust and instability than generations before them. Generation Xers may have been a part of divorce, family break ups and mothers who worked outside of the home. The X generation has also been labeled "latch key kids" because after school, probably more than any generation before them, many of this generation's children/youth went home alone and watched TV. Some of these children/youth have also been labeled "goth" or "punks;" a practice that some parents and teachers challenged. The Xers have publicly witnessed a number of massive disasters in large corporations, huge layoffs, and major industrial changes. Some have "possibly suffered some personal employment loss through changes in the marketplace. Perhaps even their parents were the recipients of such disasters" (Atkinson, 2008, What are they . . . Section, ¶ 1). Generation Xers also witnessed pension funds going bad which caused great distrust in big corporations and government.
Definition of Generation X Consumer Segment Starting from the oldest to youngest, the three major marketing or consumer groups include the Baby Boomers, Generation X and Generation Y Kristine M. Newkirk (2008), Independent Banker's senior staff writer, explains in the journal article, "Generational banking," each of these generational groups likely have different interests a myriad of types of products. Individual consumers in these generational groups also have different motivations for desiring and using various products companies offer.
To develop a successful marketing plan for a product that will appeal to a particular generation, marketers need to research the targeted group and know the preferences, motivations and attitudes of that generational grouping. Newkirk (2008) explains that "coming-of-age consumers want to build financial identity and independence . . .. Members of Gen X are eager to stabilize their finances and are time-starved enough to prize managing all aspects of their financial lives at a single site" (Financial management Section, ¶ 2). Baby Boomers reportedly desire to preserve their wealth and plan for retirement. Values and attitudes Generation Xers possess; however, prove much harder to understand or pinpoint.
Research pinpoints, nevertheless, that Generation Xers desire local, available relationships to resolve issues or problems face-to-face with companies or organizations. Generation Xers grew up in with the "grunge" fashion and music, and "the downfall of corporate institutions like Enron and instability in the mortgage market, so they tend to see the world as an untrustworthy place. This skeptical mindset informs their attitudes about large institutions and standard marketing promotions" (Newkirk, 2008, Rewarding loyalty section, ¶ 8). Most companies understand and realize Generation Xers require more service or a higher level of service; compared to other generations.
Some consumer experts agree that Generation X teenage years developed or shaped their behaviors and personal values; particularly their buying behaviors. Catherine Amoroso Leslie, Ph.D. And Carole J. Makela, Ph.D., CFCS (2008), purport in the journal article, "Aging as a process: Interconnectedness of the generations," that the economic status of the generation X population as well as their race, education, and marital status influenced their activities. Numerous Generation Xers currently fill middle and senior level management positions in huge global corporations and earn high incomes. Because individuals frequently work past retirement age, albeit, Xers will likely continue to work past normal age of retirement.
Together, the three major generation groups, Baby Boomers, Generation X and Generation Y make up the majority of consumer spending in the United States. Beth Wuest, Sharon Welkey, Jack Mogab, and Kay Nicols (2008), all with Texas State University, assert in the journal article, "Exploring consumer shopping preferences: Three generations," that because individuals are shaped during their formative years, many consumer experts believe that generational mindsets play a major role in consumer decision making. "Likewise, generation theorists propose that as the macro environment changes, there are concomitant and distinctive changes in patterns of consumer behavior" (Wuest, Welkey, Mogab, & Nicols, ¶ 2). Individuals in a generation who "come of age" together also acquire specific extensive characteristics. Identifying differences and similarities in generational groups may give a…