I love reading those posts on social media feeds where employers and event organisers have really gone the extra mile in terms of engagement, retention, and content, and generally making the day to day lives of people more enjoyable.
It’s exactly how it should be, however, what is getting a little concerning is that apparently these moves towards better events and more flexible working conditions are wholly aimed at millennials.
Now don’t get me wrong, millennials are the future of industry and absolutely should be supported as they make those initial steps in their careers. What concerns me is that it would appear that the needs of the demographics above, Generation X mostly, would appear to have been swept under the carpet.
Generation X is a relatively small demographic that tends to get forgotten and sandwiched between the two larger millennials and baby boomers.
We were the children of a time of significant changes in society, for example; it became more acceptable for our mums to go to work and we became referred to as the latchkey kids, and in the UK ‘Thatchers Children’.
We were dubbed the ‘MTV generation’ in the 80s, and the ‘Friends generation’ in the 90s. We experienced the threat of the cold war, witnessed the tearing down of the Berlin wall, and were terrified by the emergence of AIDS.
Marketers struggling to define us at the time described and characterised us as being disaffected, slackers, and unfocused twenty-somethings. A characteristic very clear to anyone who’s seen the movie ‘Reality Bites’, for those that didn’t – watch it!
Xers are also associated with being the first to truly raise social issues such as equality, racism and poverty, and we have also been credited as the demographic with the most entrepreneurial tendencies, once pitied and now envied! A report in 2002 claimed that 4 out of 5 new businesses were the work of Generation Xers.
So as a disaffected 44 year old slacker and entrepreneur I’d like to think that my career and future is not yet over, dead and buried and of no concern to my peers, and consider myself to have at least another 25 years in the bank, to add to the 25 years I’ve already deposited, and like any true ‘slacker’ without a period of unemployment.
Additionally Xers, also dubbed the ‘IT generation’ (it can be hard to keep up I know), were the early adopters of everything that we now take for granted. The internet, world wide web, email, mobile technology and all of these amazing devices that we now carry in our back pockets. Yep I hate to tell you, it was mostly us!
Speaking for myself, I have had a mobile device with me everyday since 1996, I communicate online, email and text rather than call, I absolutely embraced social media when it emerged in 2005, bearing in mind I’ve consistently been in the Eventopedia top 20 social media event planners pretty much from the start, and I now run my life from the apps I have on my phone (and I’m not sure how I’d manage without them).
But here’s the most important point, those Xer early adopters, though we may be small are currently the demographic that are making the majority of the final decisions in business, along with our millennial influencers but mostly we are the decision makers, and last time I checked there were still a few baby boomers kicking around too!
There are so many reports and posts telling you it’s so important to make and keep the millennials happy, this I certainly don’t question as it’s important to look at the longer term for any business or event programme.
My point is that Xers are not going anywhere anytime soon and are a part of your audience and business too, so it’s important when planning your content and managing your business not to alienate but also consider and provide for the professional needs and motivations of all demographics.
Until next time #eventprofs…