DEMOGRAPHICS SERIES: GETTING YOUR MESSAGE HEARD BY THE SILENT GENERATION

THOUGHT LEADERSHIP

Having focussed on Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X and, most recently, baby boomers in our demographics series, it’s now time to turn our attention to the often-neglected ‘silent generation’.

The silent generation is formed of those born between 1928 and 1945, and due to their age, many brands don’t see the demographic as a viable target audience. However, according to Forbes, the silent generation hold roughly 1.3 times the amount of wealth as baby boomers, more than twice that of Gen X, and 23 times that of Millennials.

Further to this, the typical 80-year-old household is thought have twice the net worth of the typical 50-year-old household. As recently as 1995, they were about equal. What’s more, with populations steadily ageing, the global spending power of those aged 60 and above is expected to almost double from the $8 trillion they spent in 2010 to $15 trillion by 2020.

Despite such figures, a staggering 77% of UK businesses say they don’t market to the silent generation at all. This presents a fantastic opportunity for brands, particularly those in market sectors that the elderly predominate such as health, tourism and leisure, to reach an under-targeted demographic that still has plenty to give. Here are our top tips for connecting with the silent generation.
 

1. Get your messaging right

Dubbed the silent generation as they were expected to be seen and not heard, the generation grew up through the Great Depression and the Second World War and considered work a privilege, holding the belief that you earn your own way through hard work.

To effectively reach the silent generation, it’s important to earn their trust and provide them with value in return for their custom. In order to achieve this, use formal and straightforward copy, focusing your messaging on issues that are important to this particular demographic, such as spending time with family and building a legacy. Highlighting that your brand, product or service takes away unnecessary hassle, is straightforward to use and frees up time to spend with family could, therefore, be particularly effective.

Time with loved ones is in fact so important to this generation that it’s well worth considering implementing campaigns and assets that overtly tie into this key theme. Rather than using stereotypical visuals of ageing peers in your campaigns, consider selecting emotional, relatable imagery which conveys a sense of family or belonging, which will resonate more with the silent generation.
 

2. The power of the written word

When it comes to the best method of getting your messages out there, the silent generation prefers to be reached in more traditional ways. Whilst some of the demographic is digitally-savvy, newspapers are still one of the main sources of information for the silent generation, with Ofcom figures showing that 60% consume their news from them. In comparison, just 21% of 16-24-year-olds get their information from newspapers, highlighting that the written word holds greater significance for the older generation.

Print campaigns, therefore, offer an effective route to targeting the silent generation. Try to incorporate your messaging into written communications such as direct mail, newsletters, postcards and flyers. For existing customers, there are also a range of reward solutions that you can explore to engage this less digital-savvy demographic, such as delivering gift boxes or physical tickets through their letterbox at opportune moments rather than through more frequently utilised modern-day digital methods where they could go unseen.
 

3. Keep it simple and accessible

The silent generation expects brands to get straight to the point and has little patience when it comes to wading through masses of information. As such, it’s key to ensure the overall user experience is simple, clear and direct.

It’s also particularly important when marketing to the older generation – who are more likely to have visual impairments – to take accessibility measures into consideration. This could include ensuring typefaces are large and easy-to-read, avoiding the use of too many images or busy layouts, and using appropriate colours together.

Putting such measures in place helps ensure you are enabling easy access to your brand and all it has to offer.
 

Hone in on a lesser targeted generation

Whilst loyalty is important to the silent generation, many brands make the mistake of assuming they will be customers for life and fail to spend any effort building meaningful relationships with them.

In reality, if targeted correctly, the older generation will choose to switch to a brand that speaks to their wants and needs – especially those with children, and even grandchildren, who are increasingly inclined to help them seek a good and reliable deal.

As a result, by using traditional marketing approaches with language and added-value propositions that appeal to their needs and particular preferences, you have an opportunity to build those all-important relationships with the silent generation, getting them on board with your brand.
 

For more information or advice on how to target the silent generation, or if you’re interested in developing a loyalty and customer experience offering in line with the demands of your customers, get in touch today.

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