By Alex R. Thiersch, JD, Founder/Director of the American Med Spa Association (AmSpa)
These days, it is not at all unusual to hear experts talk about how certain generations of people are affecting business. You’ll hear about how the wealth of Baby Boomers impacts the economy as they enter their retirement years. You’ll hear about how Millennials are driving markets and marketing with their somewhat inscrutable spending habits. And you’ll hear about how Generation Z is getting things done using social media and moxie; we featured a look at Generation Z a few weeks ago, in fact.
However, you don’t hear a lot about Generation X—the post-Boomers who came of age in the late ‘80s, ‘90s, and early ‘00s. The youngest Xers are currently staring down middle age and, as boomers continue to retire, they are the ones who are going to be in charge, if they aren’t already. CNBC.com recently published this piece by Stephanie Neal and Richard Wellins, which describes how and why members of Gen X are quietly beginning to dominate leadership positions in businesses.
One of the key takeaways of this article is that while Millennials are typically considered to be the most tech-savvy generation to date, Generation X is, if anything, even more plugged in. On Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, many of the “stars” are Millennials, but Gen Xers are just as connected—they always have a phone in their hand, and they’re always on the Internet. They don’t produce as much content as Millennials, but they’re just as adept at viewing and manipulating it. Many of them came of age just as the Internet did, and they played significant roles in its evolution. But because many of them began their careers when the internet played a much smaller role in business, they inherited many of the same character traits as the Boomers—they are industrious, hard-working, and entrepreneurial. They feature useful traits of the generations directly before and after them—a combination of the analog and digital, if you will.
As a result, and as a consequence of their age, Gen Xers are going to have an enormous impact on business—including the medical aesthetics industry—for the foreseeable future. They’re going to be running medical spas, device manufacturers, and marketing firms for many, many years to come, so their influence is underestimated at one’s peril. Consumers drive business, and since Millennials are such an enormous population, they’re very important in this regard. But many of the people running businesses and pushing them in exciting new directions are Gen Xers.
At AmSpa’s Boot Camps (join us in Denver on May 19 and 20) and The Medical Spa Show (save the date—February 8 - 10, 2019), the overwhelming majority of the medical spa owners I meet are Gen Xers. They’re in their upper 30s and 40s, and they’re getting things done. Understanding how these people think is going to be a key to finding success, especially in terms of establishing business-to-business relationships. So don’t sleep on Generation X—understanding them is going to be very important for a long time.