Generation X: the generation of boat sellers


Frequently nicknamed the The “neglected middle child,” Gen X is widely seen as the bridge between millennials and baby boomers. And while this is decidedly the smallest generation, Gen X is where boat dealers should be seriously looking for sales these days.

While millennials are the hot new market and baby boomers are the established audience, Gen Xers are where the money is. Indeed, Gen Xers now have the greatest spending power with 31% of all income dollars, according to reports from American Express. Members of Generation X, the third largest generation, make up 25% of all adults. And Generation X has more spending power than any other generation, with 29% of estimated net worth.

For many years, boating has had success targeting its heaviest marketing at baby boomers while putting more recent efforts into trying to find a key to the huge millennial segment. But we have to recognize that the number of baby boomers is rapidly declining and millennials are still too young for most, so Gen Xers are moving to places that baby boomers are leaving behind. Additionally, baby boomer wealth is now mostly passed on to Gen Xers and their families, making them the wealthiest target.

While Gen X is smaller than the rest, there are still over 60 million. Moreover, studies show that they spend on themselves and their children.

So how do dealerships best target Gen Xers?

For starters, we have to recognize that Gen X is on par with Millennials when it comes to technology. Remember that Gen X has come of age along with the internet, and virtually all of them are online using social media which dealerships can use as well.

Although email marketing may seem like yesterday’s mashed potatoes, it is still considered by experts to be the best way to communicate with Gen X. They are constantly checking their emails at work, at home, on tablets, iPhones and desktop computers.

A great use of email is to offer coupons because this generation is truly a hybrid when it comes to marketing. Generation X grew up without a real online shopping experience. They relished in-store experiences and coupons were a major tool for marketers to reach them. They always respond to coupons.

Additionally, this generation makes the most unplanned purchases when shopping, often triggered by coupons. For dealerships, creating and sending out coupons that offer discounts on accessories, special offers on services, and similar buy-now incentives can attract customers.

It’s important to understand that Generation X, more than any other generation, craves context. For example, they are significant in terms of people writing reviews online. Before making a purchasing decision, they are known to check all available resources. But unlike other generations, Gen Xers cross the line between digital and traditional media and will spend time watching both online and offline to make informed decisions. Ultimately, they are certain to be in-person buyers, in the showroom, for virtually all major purchases, especially boats and related equipment.

Nearly 50% of Gen Xers are considered brand loyal. Give them plenty of regular informative and entertaining contacts and information, and they’ll likely be repeat customers.

Consider these points:

• Members of Generation X show the strongest desire to provide for their families. Selling boats as offering valuable life experiences and memories to pass on will resonate with Gen X prospects.

• Members of Generation X have a strong penchant for taking care of themselves. The benefits of boating are perfectly targeted for this health-conscious group.

• Most Gen Xers are parents and consume media that reflects their values. According to reports from Nielsen, Gen X men and women are drawn to ads and videos that feature everyday life and real-life situations. Perfect material for boating.

Generation X grew up in the 1990s and knows how to recognize BS. Giving them the information they want is number 1, but being authentic is just as essential. They understand value, and they’re the generation that most likely wants to know what you can do for them. But skip the sales talk; they opt for the franchise.

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