Originally published in the Boulder Daily Camera and the Longmont Daily Times-Call.

I used to wake up thinking, “What kind of sandwiches should I make today?”

Sandwiches were on my mind a lot then, particularly when school started. Sandwiches for school, sandwiches for field trips, sandwiches for quick snacks and for me! I like just about any kind of sandwich, but one kind is tougher to swallow.

Do you know what the Sandwich Generation is?

This question appeared on my social media feed recently. There it sat, begging for an answer. I checked the comments section to see what others were saying. Some made “original” comments about bologna and mustard, or ham and Swiss. Most simply didn’t know.

For those that don’t know, the Sandwich Generation is loosely defined as a generation of people, typically in their thirties or forties, responsible for bringing up their own children and for the care of their aging parents. According to the Pew Research Center, nearly half (47%) of adults in their 40s and 50s have a parent age 65 or older and are either raising a young child or financially supporting a grown child (age 18 or older). This represents a very large group of people experiencing somewhat similar experiences specific to their circumstances.

Generational Marketing, and related topics, aren’t new. The concepts are fairly basic for those actively engaged in effective communication efforts. Attention is given to the Silent Generation, the Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millennials and now Gen Z. The Sandwich Generation, however, is a less well known phenomenon that should be considered and understood by businesses engaged in marketing targeting this segment.

So, what do we know about this group? We know that the type of “support” being provided by these folks can mean many different things. But, no matter how you look at it, this crowd is performing a daily juggling act.

It is estimated that 42% of the Sandwich Generation is made up of Gen-X (ages 36 – 56) and 33% are Baby Boomers (ages 57 – 71). Much of the information concerning generational marketing still applies, but there are significant differences worth noting.

Individuals within this group have achieved a great deal of purchasing power. They are often at the top of their earning capacity. They are worth paying attention to.

Women remain the most influential when it comes to caring for aging parents and their own children. However, they do not want to be “sold”.They are seeking information and prefer to form a relationship with product and service providers. Understanding and advice are welcomed. Creating awareness concerning how your business helps to solve problems or assist with positive outcomes is important. Time saving attributes make a difference.

Due to time constraints, this group relies heavily on the internet for research and information prior to shopping or making large decisions. While many people strapped for time tend to be impulsive in their purchases, this group is interested in making the “right” choice.

In order for businesses to successfully reach these individuals, they must have websites that are easy to navigate. Really easy. Businesses should have a way for people to reach out after business hours to make inquiries or to receive assistance. Extended business hours may be perfect in some instances. Stress reduction and pampering will go very far with the Sandwich Generation.

Many in this group must fit in time for their purchasing decisions around many other priorities including work, family and social time. Businesses that get this, and reach out to where the audience is spending time, are more likely to be successful.

What will you offer those caught in the Sandwich Generation? Bologna or something satisfying.

Stacy Cornay is the owner of Communication Concepts Public Relations & Advertising. 
She may be reached at 303-651-6612; scornay@comm-concepts.com; www.comm-concepts.com; Facebook.com/Communication Concepts; Twitter @CommConceptsPR; or Linked In.

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