Generation X, also known as the "baby busters" or the "shadow generation", is the group of people born from 1969 to 1980. This group has been labeled with a "slacker" stereotype. Imagine 45 million humans that are characterized as culturally illiterate, apathetic, and directionless. From a marketers' perspective, they have a total disposable income of USD 125 billion. In tune to the newest rage, Xers—highly steeped in a culture of sound bytes—seem to know instinctively what they want. More importantly, what they do not want.8
Unfortunately, the more marketers learn about this group, the less it appears to be a market segment. For example, Xers' lifestyles range from the 10 million who are full-time college and postgraduate students to the 15 million who are married. They are also the most radically diverse generation in history. Yet their opinions about life in the United States mirror those of the general population. For instance, 52 per cent of Xers believe that "quality of life" is good compared with 53 per cent of the entire population, and 64 per cent of Xers are more "stressed about money this year", compared to 58 per cent of the general population.
Given the diversity of Generation X, what are the possibilities that an integrated marketing strategy can be targeted to this group? The key will be finding subsegments within this 45-million-person group. For example, level of education might be a point of distinction. Those in college or with a college degree are likely to be computer-literate and can be reached by online media. Their optimism and general concern for a simpler life suggests that non-condescending marketing messages through public relations or cause-related activities would prove effective.