How to Effectively Market to the Silver Generation

How to Effectively Market to the Silver Generation


For far too long, the marketing truism that the younger generations have all the spending power has prevailed. Such a perception has driven, directed, and dominated marketing strategy, much to the detriment of market segments beyond the Millennials and Generation Z.

Today, however, business leaders and marketing professionals alike are waking up to the reality that it’s not just our young people who have the big bucks to spend. In fact, the silver generation, those aged over 50, has significantly more spending power than previous generations of seniors.

If marketers truly want to be attuned to the realities of today’s market, then they’d best take heed of this powerful, vast, and lucrative demographic. 

The Overlooked Consumer

Traditionally, mass media marketing was a young person’s game, made by and for a still wet-behind-the-ears demographic. Marketing techniques often celebrated and glamorized youth and beauty. They promoted a carefree life of fun and adventure. 

While this certainly appealed to the aspirations of young consumers, those dreaming of a dazzling future, of a world at their fingertips. Such an approach was, in fact, an appropriate one for the target audience, a younger generation concerned above all with hope and possibility. 

That perception has too easily caused the silver generation to be overlooked and left behind, immersed in a marketing environment that has little meaning for or relevance to their lives. Unfortunately, marketers were often willing to allow this segment to fall to the wayside in pursuit of what they may have mistakenly believed to be the greater purchasing power of the young.

The reality, however, is that aging consumers own more than 70% of the wealth of the United States and, now more than ever, they’re looking to spend it. To tap into this market, though, marketers will need a far different approach than the glitz, glamor, and, yes, the frequent frivolity that generally prevail.

Appealing to the Silver Generation

Successful marketers know that if you want to craft a winning campaign, you have to first understand what drives your target audience. For aging consumers, these drivers are often far different than those galvanizing the young. 

More specifically, the silver generation tends to have much higher expectations for the quality of the product, service, or service experience than younger generations. The silver generation wants to enjoy a high quality of life as they transition into retirement. They’ll also have more willingness and greater financial means to pay for these high standards. 

For example, research has shown that the silver generation is particularly interested in housing, travel, and health products and services. This is perhaps not surprising considering the premium that these consumers place on their post-retirement standard of living. 

Thus, though seniors may be more willing and able than younger consumers to pay a pretty penny to maintain their quality of life, it won’t necessarily be easy to persuade them that your company is the premier choice for them. Rather, they will expect to be justly compensated for the expenditure of their hard-earned money, both in the product or service and in their overall experience with the company. 

This means that you’re going to have to work harder as a marketer pitching to the silver generation. Senior consumers will need to be finessed. They will need compelling evidence that their experience with your company, product, and service will be well worth their time and money.

Tackling the Tech

Marketing for the silver generation isn’t just about understanding what drives these consumers and tailoring your campaigns accordingly, it’s also important to ensure that your target audience’s experiences with your company are positive across the board. 

Your enterprise technology needs to be a particular point of concern if you want to engage senior audiences effectively. It’s a myth that seniors are resistant to technology. The immense popularity of health, communication, and entertainment technologies among this demographic belies the fable of the tech-averse senior.

Nevertheless, as has been noted, seniors are likely to have very high standards when it comes to customer experience in the digital domain. If you want to build a robust brand that will attract senior consumers, then you’re going to want to prioritize their online interactions with your company, product, and service. This means not only building an appealing social media presence, but also cultivating an online customer service experience that models efficiency, courtesy, and effectiveness.

The Takeaway

The silver generation has for too long been overlooked in deference to younger consumers. Marketers and business owners are now beginning to understand the immense power of this market segment, however. To reach this coveted population, though, you’re going to need to shift your marketing approach to accommodate the unique drivers of this powerful but discerning demographic.