The Xennial Effect: How this Micro-Generation Affects your Marketing Strategy

People born in the 1980’s are typically lumped into the controversial millennial generation. But that’s not really an accurate assessment for all 80’s babies. Lingering in between the generation X kids of the 1970’s and the buzzworthy millennials of the late 80’s and early 90’s is a micro-generation now appropriately dubbed the “Xennials.” 

Xennials, born between 1977 and 1985, and are kind of a perfect blend of generation X and millennials. Like the baby boomer-raised generation before them, Xennials grew up without modern technologies like home internet access, cell phones, and social media. They still remember the days of landlines and pagers and meeting kids on the playground instead of Snapchat. They also remember what it was like to live life without posting every moment on Instagram and Facebook. 


However, by their late adolescence and teen years, tech like home internet access was commonality and most Xennials owned a cell phone by their early 20’s. Xennials were also in their twenties when early social media hubs like MySpace burst on the scene, thus changing the way the world made contact. 


Another big difference experts claim lies between Xennials and the generations that follow? Xennials were the last to be raised among more relaxed parents who were okay with their kids riding their bikes down the road to their best friend’s house.

Most Xennials were likely already in the workforce by the time the 2008 recession hit, and some argue that this sub-generation was hit the hardest by that period, which makes them a bit more cautious buyers than the generations older or younger, especially when it comes to major purchases.

Your Xennial Marketing Strategy

Now that you know what makes a Xennial a Xennial, let’s talk about how their differences from their succeeding and preceding generations change the way you market to them. As part of my research, I asked my favorite Xennial–my husband–for his thoughts. 

One of the first questions I asked him was, “What type of advertising do you respond to–social media or a traditional outlet like television?” To my surprise, he chose television. His reason? “Because that’s what I’m used to, what I grew up with. I don’t pay attention to social media ads.” 

“Because that’s what I’m used to, what I grew up with,” was his reason behind every question I asked after that. He indicated he would rather reach out to a business via phone call or an in-store visit than send a direct message or email and that he would rather get a phone call over an email for a follow-up. 

Basically, Xennials yearn for the good old days of face-to-face, or at least voice-to-voice, interaction. But, just because my husband is a stickler for tradition doesn’t mean that all Xennials hate technology. Actually, it’s just the opposite. They prefer a solid blend of today’s technology and yesterday’s favorites. And that’s exactly how your Xennial marketing strategy should be. Want to learn more about how to market to Xennials? Stay tuned for part two of this series.

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