What excites you about the Gen X creator economy?

Five marketers give us some frank advice and guidance

Gen X tends to get forgotten by the marketing industry, particularly in favour of focusing on Gen Z and millennials, and sometimes even boomers. Gen X just have to get on with it. We decided to ask our network what gets them fired up about this somewhat forgotten generation.

Hannah Hayes-Westall — Strategy Director at MullenLowe London

Hannah Hayes-Westall

You saw the great Australian Lamb ad right? The one with the generational divide where the Gen X couple get cut off every time they speak? Western Gen X being the ignored generation is a fun trope, so fun in fact that you might suspect these Gen Xers have something to hide. And you’d be right, because it turns out that Western Gen X are sneaky, low key mfs. Millennial influencers aren’t hard to spot. What was once a sea of pale pink, succulents, neon signs and latte art is now wine mum and doggo memes, with maybe a bit of peri-menopause content. But Gen X? Our biggest influencers are Gary Vee, Gwyneth, Brene Brown; BIG names with big, non-influencing businesses. The truth is that millennial influencers might have made Instagram their home and Gen Z might be owning TikTok, but the secret Gen X doesn’t want you to know is that they have influenced the culture by owning it, so if you aren’t hearing a lot from Gen X influencers, it’s on purpose. A generation who didn’t get a catchy generational name until their late 20s (we tried Gen MTV, and latchkey kids but they didn’t stick until Douglas Coupland’s book Generation X in 1991) are remarkably good at staying in the shadows by building stages for others and making bank off it.

You know who’s Gen X? Jeff Bezos. And Jay Z. And Larry Page and Sergey Brin. Rick Rubin is Gen X and so is Dr Dre. Pharell is, and so is Heidi Slimane. Virgil was. Ava DuVernay and Sophia Coppola, and Jason Blum, Reese Witherspoon and Dana Brunetti all are. Even Zuck comes in as a late joining, on-the-cusp X-ennial. The tastes, behaviours, tools and codes of the world continue to be shaped by a generation happy to tell the world that no-one listens to them. You know who made that Australian Lamb ad? A wildly talented creative director called Scott Dettrick. And yes, he’s Gen X.

Toby Beresford — author and Director of Digital Strategy at Bible Society

Toby Beresford

Gen X are in the marketing sweet spot of mid-life crisis recovery, combined with the financial bump that comes with an empty nest. They are open to new products, services and experiences. Gen X scrolling time is ripe for monetisation. This creator super wave will look different to its Gen Z cousin — experience matters here: relevance and quality will trump novelty and price. While not immune to the lure of an Insta-worthy snap, Gen X values substance over style and function over form. The creators who thrive will encourage and uplift others — they will replace ‘look at me’ with ‘see what we can do together’. Look for Gen X creators who shout ‘join me, join this movement’ — avoid those that simply breed copycats. So the marketing gold will be found in the community groups on Facebook, WhatsApp, and more. Think clusters not hashtags.

Deidre Sullivan — SVP at VERVE North America

Deidre Sullivan

For me, the watchwords are experimentation and disruption. Brands have an opportunity to think beyond traditional KPIs, build new kinds of value and potentially reshape the ecosystem. This means being open to collaborating and supporting creators in new ways. I’m excited by the creative opportunities around community building, particularly on the health and wellness fronts, where people need more than a single hit of content: they need support, conversation, and connection. I think there’s a lot brands and creators can do here together, to build new kinds of support groups, events, and content streams. There’s such a hunger out there for advice, insight, and trusted content — especially when it comes to issues around dieting, longevity, functional health practices, and fitness.

Tom Sneddon — Managing Partner at Supernova

Tom Sneddon

Content creators are catching our attention every day, making us laugh, think, or even answer those deep, burning questions. But as the creator economy grows in wealth and cultural impact, contrary to popular belief, it isn’t just a playground for Gen Z or the tech-savvy. Gen X are known to be extremely loyal to the brands they love, simply because it’s been tried and tested and they know what works for them. So instead of relying on one-way online message blasting, Gen X requires experiential marketing that offers interactive experiences and engagement. As a result the effect of word-of-mouth amongst Gen X presents a longer shelf life for brand trust. Therefore, across the next 12 months I fully expect to see Gen X creators play an incredibly valuable role in showcasing genuine product partnerships, and start to break the assumption that the creator economy is an exclusively youth-orientated medium.

Olga Kudryashova —Brand and Communication Strategist

Olga Kudryashova

What excites me is the depth of thinking, ingenuity and the expression of independence. The way they create is very different from Gen Z, because they grew up in a completely different environment. Gen X creativity is determined by their authentic and real-life experiences, ones impossible to replicate today. For most parts of the world they are the last generation to have known life without internet, mobile phones or Google. They used libraries to seek out information. They could memorise dozens of phone numbers. They wrote letters and post cards in legible handwriting. They could find their way around without GPS, decipher maps and give directions. They knew how to socialise and grow their personal and professional networks, by talking and listening. They are a self-reliant and socially adept generation, with a lot of substance and the ability to think and find solutions. And thinkers can create.

Featured image: Darina Belonogova / Pexels