You can almost hear the closing scene of The Breakfast Club as the Simple Minds hit ,“Don’t You Forget About Me”, plays in the distant background. This scenario pretty much sums up the marketing attitude toward Generation X – the age group sandwiched between the marketing darlings of Baby Boomers and Millennials. As far as healthcare marketing is concerned, this is a major oversight.

Depending on the sources you consult, GenX is the group born between 1965 and 1980.  This makes them comparatively small to other generations and easily overlooked by marketers – in fact, 57% of them are really bummed about that. This presents an opportunity for healthcare marketers to tailor content to this generation that will make them feel embraced and heard.

As sophisticated healthcare marketers, we want to start targeting those experiencing major life events versus simply segmenting by age. So what are the major life events that would be impacting those in their late 30’s to early 50’s and how can that inform marketing healthcare to those groups?

As you see in the timeline above, GenX-ers are experiencing major life events that are vastly different at each end of the spectrum. There is some overlap with Boomers and Millennials but some characteristics of a typical GenX-er warrant a customized approach to content.

What are some of the psychological characteristics of this generation and what has helped shape them?

Significant environmental and social events have made them distrustful of marketing (and the government, but that’s a different post!)

Living through Three Mile Island and The Exxon Valdez disasters as well as witnessing “down-sizing” enter the American lexicon, GenX has a healthy skepticism of corporations and sometimes an utter contempt toward being “sold” to. As healthcare marketers, your content has to address practical needs and offer tangible solutions. Lofty branding campaigns that appeal to younger folks will turn these people off to your message.

They remember what it was like to live without the internet

Like their Baby Boomer predecessors, life without a smartphone or a personal computer is familiar to them, and sometimes welcome. They saw the rise of the internet and were young enough to embrace its permeation into everyday life. At the same time, the are less likely to rely on it as heavily as Millennials.

The “latchkey” kid generation

A household with two working parents and an expectation to take care of themselves really is central to the identity of many in this generation. Those formative years having to fend for themselves continues into adulthood and how they approach problem solving. Healthcare marketers need to understand that this generation will do a lot of research on their own but has little patience for lengthy articles that don’t precisely address the solution to a specific problem.

What works in content marketing for GenX?

It’s really very simple – don’t bury the lede. As mentioned above, they have very little patience for sifting through search results that are missing keywords or clearly identifiable solutions. Whether it’s lifestyle maintenance issues like how to get high quality sleep or ways to minimize back pain, don’t spend too much time storytelling. Listicles and short video from experts are the best ways to appeal to this age group. Having a seamless conversion campaign within your content will help attribute your efforts as well. Let them easily make an appointment online or schedule a fixed-price exam that addresses their problem. Marketers that understand this will come out ahead as this group ages in to a more robust use of the healthcare system.