Why Gen X Is the Healthcare Consumer You Can’t Forget

Sandwiched between the massive generations of baby boomers and millennials lies Generation X—those 65.1 million U.S. residents born between 1965 and 1980. Gen Xers grew up in a hands-off environment. They’re known as latch-key kids and skeptics. They came of age in an era of technological innovation and social change. They listened to Walkmans, watched the Berlin Wall fall and witnessed the AIDS epidemic unfold in front of their eyes. 

But out of that chaotic youth, they grew into highly educated, resourceful, independent adults. They are loyal consumers. And, increasingly, evidence points to their importance and essential role as healthcare consumers. In fact, 75% of Gen Xers report that they are the primary decision makers when it comes to selecting doctors and hospitals for their families. They are a healthcare consumer triple threat: making decisions and purchases for themselves, their parents and their kids. 

The Gen X Difference 

In their book “Don’t You Forget About Gen X — One Generation’s Crucial Role in Healthcare,” authors Dean Browell, PhD; Alan Shoebridge; and Dan Miers build a case for why healthcare marketers shouldn’t ignore Gen X.

Miers, a GenXer himself and Chief Strategy Officer for SPM Group, GLC’s parent company, sat down with The Content Studio to share his take on this generation’s growing role as healthcare consumers. His insights and data (pulling from SPM’s proprietary Consumer Compass) explain exactly why healthcare marketers need to focus on this critical generation. 

Data shows that Gen X is the first generation of self-directed healthcare consumers. They feel (rightfully) entitled to opportunities, respectful support and the authority to exert control over their healthcare decisions. Plus, nearly half of Gen Xers are skeptical of what doctors say—a 48% increase over boomers. 

Gen Xers are information-seekers. They’re looking at a broad variety of content sources before making healthcare decisions. That includes traditional media and new media, like consumer review sites and social media channels. 

How Do Healthcare Marketers Respond? 

Simply put, you must earn their trust via all your owned, earned and paid media channels. Thoughtful, authentic messaging will go a long way to break through Gen X’s skepticism. And powerful storytelling that cuts through the noise will also play well. 

But don’t take it from us. For the real insight, listen to our interview with Miers in episode 7 of The Content Studio podcast below. Download the accompanying Spotify playlist. And let us know how you won’t forget about Gen X when it comes to your healthcare marketing.