Why Your Member Retention Efforts Should Focus on Generation X

Lots of membership directors are focused on finding their next generation of members. Instead, consider reconnecting with Generation X.
Lots of membership directors are focused on finding their next generation of members. But also consider reconnecting with Generation X.

By Ryan Bruffey – MX Business Development Manager

Many in the association space are fixated on millennials. It’s a generation of young go-getters that just so happens to make up the majority of the U.S. labor force, so there’s good reason for that fixation.

While millennials are likely the future of your association, try not to overlook those who preceded them: the exclusive and unique group known as Generation X.

Those new, younger potential members will power your association for years to come, but any finance officer worth their salt would happily remind you that it’s 5- to 25-times more expensive to acquire new customers than it is to retain an existing one. It’s clear, then, that member-based organizations can’t afford to lose their Gen Xers.

Consider this blog post a wake-up call, a reminder of the incredible opportunity associations have to re-engage with a generation that peaked in population back in 2015, but is still an integral part of today’s workforce.

Why should Generation X — a generation losing its footing as a top labor force contributor — get some extra attention? Research from LinkedIn Learning shows they’re ready to re-engage.

Reconnect with Generation X

Research released in 2019 by LinkedIn Learning shows that Gen Xers are more stressed at work than their millennial and Baby Boomer colleagues. Pair that with recent research from MetLife (which was featured on MarketWatch), which shows that, despite placing a high value on regularly accomplishing their daily work tasks, members of Generation X feel less valued than their counterparts.

Maybe the culprit is all that attention being shifted toward millennials. Or maybe it’s disillusionment with work, as speculated on MarketWatch. Whatever the case may be, the people born from 1965 to 1980 are ripe for re-engagement.

Perhaps more than any other generation of members, Gen Xers could benefit from what your professional association has to offer.

Get seen in their email inboxes

According to research from SendGrid and Egg Strategy, email is more widely used by Generation X than it is millennials or Gen Zers. And there’s more good news: Of those Gen Xers surveyed for the report, only 15 percent expect their email usage to decrease to some extent over the next five years.

This leaves a window wide open for trade and professional associations looking to reconnect. And with a top-of-the-line marketing automation tool that easily integrates with your association management software, connecting with and engaging Gen Xers is easier than ever.

Alter your event promotion

The event experiences your millennial members crave aren’t always the main draw for Gen Xers.

According to an Amsterdam RAI report, Generation X is looking for something totally different when considering which events to attend. They want to know why an event worth attending and if they’re truly getting a return on their investment.

Fortunately for associations, this doesn’t clash with the wants and needs of millennials, who are there for the experience. So, try setting the stage early for Gen Xers with informational, yet personal, emails and announcements, while continuing to create great experiences millennials expect from events. Chances are good Gen Xers will enjoy those experiences, too. But first, you have to get them in the conference hall.

Perhaps more importantly than either of the two previous suggestions is this: simply acknowledge your Gen X members. Consider them when planning your annual conference. Feature them in association newsletters. Engage with them on your online community. With all of those processes in effect, you’ll start reconnecting with Gen X members in no time.

Still seeking out more member engagement tips? Download the free e-book, “Association Experts Share the Hidden Truths to Member Engagement” to see how six professional or trade associations keep in touch with members.

Need to boost member engagement? Download Protech's free e-book today!
Need to boost member engagement? Download Protech’s free e-book today!