It is becoming clear that there are profound differences between the generational segments of our culture. Millennials, Generation X, and baby boomers are currently the most widely discussed groups, and customer engagement marketers are desperate to understand the motivations and attitudes of each. In the enduring pursuit of customer loyalty, one thing is certain, which is that generational shifts are necessitating different approaches to customer engagement.
Recently, CrowdTwist, a leading a provider of multichannel customer loyalty and engagement solutions, uncovered and analyzed the way different generations perceive brand loyalty, rewards programs, and customer engagement. During the second part of the three part study titled, “The 2015 CrowdTwist Loyalty Program Report: Demystifying Brand Loyalty Among Generation X,” CrowdTwist took an in-depth look at what drives the behaviors for these consumers born between 1965 and 1980.
If there is an overarching key takeaway from this study, it is this. Winning the brand loyalty of Generation X customers is very difficult, and only 49.6% of this group reported being very loyal to their favorite brands.
Somewhat unlike their baby boomer elders and millennial juniors, members of Generation X tend to be much more skeptical. Therefore, brands and marketers have to work harder to gain their trust.
This may require more effort, but the study suggests that successful efforts will be worth it in the end. Because, on average, Generation X wields greater spending power and is actually willing to pay more for the products and services that they deem worthy. That is, of course, after their customer loyalty has already been won.
Loyalty programs can potentially help marketers in this area, but they must understand the particular ways in which this generation views such programs. Most agree that they find loyalty programs beneficial, but mainly as a means of financial assistance. The vast majority (88.6%) joined loyalty programs in order to save money. The actual rewards were a secondary consideration. However, they are still important as 71.2% did join a program for the rewards.
Other reasons for joining a loyalty program, and much further down the list, were member exclusive benefits (37.2%), special VIP treatments (18.9%), and to learn about new products (15.1%).
Beyond traditional loyalty program offerings, the CrowdTwist study also presented a number of possible opportunities for brands to consider.
Much like millennials, Generation X consumers often display a high level engagement across a number of digital and social channels. This means that these customers, also like millennials, are starting to change the way they are interacting with brands, which presents an opportunity for marketers to use digital technology to build stronger customer relationships.
Many brands, however, are not yet taking full advantage of this potential.
A significant portion of Gen X consumers (72%) say they do not currently earn any points or rewards for social or digital online customer engagement. This includes visiting brand websites, making Facebook posts, Tweeting, writing product reviews, taking online surveys, and opening emails. What’s more, 56.1% said that they would like to earn loyalty program points for engaging in these behaviors.
The CrowdTwist report states that this is important for brands to consider. Since Generation X consumers are also well educated, technologically savvy, and enjoy researching products, such digital engagement strategies can help facilitate this group’s journey down the path to purchase.
To further enhance customer engagement and generate loyalty among the Gen X population, CrowdTwist offers a few other essential recommendations. These include fostering trust by building authentic customer relationships to create emotional bonds, offering experiential rewards that provide true value, and ensuring that all marketing communications are targeted, relevant, and meaningful.