Healthcare for the Ages, Part III: Generation X and “Y” No Doctor Should Ignore Them

As children, they were called “latchkey kids” because they were often left on their own as their parents divorced; as they got older, they were called “slackers” because their subsequent experiences with societal institutions left them underwhelmed. They are, of course, the members of Generation X and while they seldom get the attention that Baby Boomers and Millennials do (discussed here and here, respectively), they’re a large and potentially lucrative audience for aesthetic practices — provided you understand their needs, concerns and motivations:

Gen Xers are the middle children of generational demographics

Sandwiched between their older and younger cohorts, the roughly 50 million Gen Xers in the U.S. were born between the early 1960s and mid-1980s. They tend to be independent and pragmatic, curious but skeptical and, as a result, believe themselves to be good judges of authenticity and its converse. Now in their mid-30s to early 50s, they’re also finding themselves at an age where aesthetic medicine is getting more appealing.

Slackers no more, Gen Xers have a lot on their plate

In the workplace, Gen Xers have gained valuable work experience but also find themselves competing for jobs and promotions with younger workers with more energy and fresher skill sets. On the homefront, they’re raising kids and squeezing in fitness classes in the hopes of getting their pre-baby and pre-Dad-bod waistlines back. And because they’re trying to do it all, they look favorably on solutions that will help them look younger and feel more confident without a lot of downtime (e.g., minimally invasive procedures).

They have a high interest in their lower bodies

While their Millennial counterparts are turning to Botox and fillers before lines and wrinkles even appear, Gen Xers are hoping to reverse the passage of time and the effects of pregnancy, gravity and slowing metabolisms. Last year, patients ages 35–50 accounted for 62% of thigh lifts, 55% of lower body lifts and 49% of butt lifts, according to ASAPS. Add in non-surgical procedures and they account for approximately 40% of all procedures performed in an average year.

They’re multi-modal researchers

The Millennials may be the most connected generation in history but don’t forget that several mainstays of the Internet, including Amazon, Google and YouTube, were all founded by members of Gen X. Like them, their fellow Gen Xers are not only fluent in digital media but were embracing online shopping while most Millennials were still playing with POGs. At the same time, though, the Internet was not nearly as ubiquitous so Gen Xers remain comfortable with old-school media, including magazines, TV and email.

They’re equal-opportunity consumers of content

Given the above, it’s safe to say that Gen Xers take a hybrid, online-offline approach to evaluating their options. They use search engines, review sites, social media, etc., but they also read magazines, watch TV and use email, which means that doctors need to take an “omnichannel” approach, creating and sharing content across all the platforms Gen Xers use. It takes a strategic approach in which each piece of content complements others, creating a synergistic whole that overcomes their natural skepticism while demonstrating authenticity and transparency.

And it will only become more crucial going forward. As the folks at eMarketer put it,

Low-key Generation Xers — sandwiched between the “forever young” Baby Boomers and the “me-generation” Millennials — are quietly crossing the threshold of middle age. Though many healthcare marketers have overlooked this generation because of its relatively small size, Gen Xers are a powerful and unique consumer group. They will be even more important to healthcare marketers as they grow older.

About Rob Lovitt

Rob Lovitt is a longtime writer and editor who believes every good business has a great story to tell. He has written for dozens of magazines and websites, including NBCnews.com, Expedia.com and the inflight magazines of Alaska, Horizon and Frontier airlines.

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