Sandwiched between two huge generations — the baby boomers and the millennials — gen Xers have long been comfortable with carving out their own way. Sometimes perceived in their younger days as cynical slackers, it’s their spirit of entrepreneurship (they brought us everything from the tech start-up to the indie film) that has truly defined them. Now, as they work alongside the millennial masses and parent the up-and-coming “iGen,” the group can proudly own their influence as a conduit to today’s new frontiers.
What’s remarkable is that this generation — raised on The Jetsons, there when video first claimed to kill the radio star — knows first-hand what life was like prior to pocket-sized mobile phones and the ubiquitous World Wide Web. Simple communication between two people (or entities) could take days. Even weeks. It was a far cry from today’s fast-paced culture, where it’s all about instant everything. Instant access. Instant answers. Instant service. Instant gratification.
Advances in technology have shifted the landscape and influenced customer behaviors, changing the world gen Xers were raised in and forever changing their expectations. (Wait in line for coffee? Who’s got time for that?) And once a customer experiences a solution to a problem they didn’t realize they had, it becomes the benchmark.
There are big implications for brands that want to connect with gen Xers.
Alliance Data’s 2017 trends report: Now, New, Next looks at the evolving needs of today’s customers, and how brands are reacting and responding accordingly. To dive a little deeper, we talked to a few resident Alliance Data gen Xers to get their take on trends. Here’s a closer look at a few of those trends that particularly resonated with them.
Clearing the path.
Aimee Koontz, Director, Marketing Loyalty & Advancement
Advancements in mobile and digital mean I can seek out experiences that “clear the path” to purchase and get me the products I need ASAP. Infusing innovative technology into my shopping experience creates more access and better brand-to-customer interactions. For me, that means hassle-free, frictionless moments that take the work out of shopping. I’m a mom of four so a lot of times a “shopping trip” means scrolling on my phone while I’m sitting at gymnastics practice.
Up close and personal.
Ashley Spangenberg, Senior Strategist, Marketing
In an era where Amazon has shifted customer behaviors, brands need to deliver more than just a good product at a decent price. I’m willing to pay more, but I also expect to get more. I want brands to be “up close and personal,” using the information they know about me in a way that is effective and meaningful. For example, if you can pair a fantastic cashmere wrap with my favorite black heels — because you already know my closet — to help me pull together a killer holiday party look? I’m hooked.
Jessica Loughman, Manager, Creative Communications
Life with two raucous boys, a full-time job, and a social calendar is beyond busy. Honestly, sometimes I just want someone to do my thinking for me. “Limitless commerce” means brands are stepping out of the traditional in-store experience and offering shopping experiences from some really unexpected places — I can shop from my TV! More and more brands are meeting their customers in their daily lives; it’s a welcome approach. And it means I might actually find time for a manicure. Or a nap.
Trends mean different things to different people, regardless of age, lifestyle, or life stage. For the gen Xers around here, it’s all about those trends, technologies, innovations, and experiences they believe will impact and improve their lives. And they can’t wait to see how the millennials and the iGeneration will take it from here.
Curious about the millennial perspective? We’ve got it here.