Marketing by Generation: All About the Silent Generation

Marketing Strategy
Marketing to the Silent Generation

By Abby Wolner

Welcome to Part IV of our four-part series on marketing by generation. We’re writing about generations one at a time to understand how to better reach these target audiences. Today’s cohort: Traditionalists.

About the Silent Generation

Born: Between 1925 and 1945
Racial makeup: 78 percent white
Education: 32 percent of men and 20 percent of women have a bachelor’s degree
Median income: $40,378

Marketers can gain much understanding about this group from its name. “Silent” comes from the generation’s cautious, conservative nature. They were children during America’s worst economic conditions: the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl. This upbringing taught them the value of hard work and diligent saving. They’re champions of the phrase, “waste not want not.” Marketing to this group successfully means earning their trust and proving your value.

Marketing to the Silent Generation

Another thing to keep in mind across all marketing channels is portrayal. Only one third of seniors believe they’re portrayed accurately in advertising, according to a survey by Glynn Devin. Members of the Silent Generation feel they are portrayed as either perfect — wonderfully attractive and active — or feeble and disabled. According to Glynn Devin, what this audience really wants is authenticity.

How to Reach the Silent Generation

  • Online. Fifty-nine percent of adults older than 65 use the Internet, according to 2014 data from the Pew Research Center. Of those, a majority use email (88 percent), and just shy of half use social media (46 percent). Seniors also go online to buy products, read news, and research health information. Marketers should experiment with this platform. It may not be seniors’ preferred mode of information gathering, but the number of people older than 65 is growing. These younger seniors typically use the Internet more. But don’t confuse Internet use with mobile Internet use. Only 22 percent of seniors have a smartphone, according to the Pew Research Center.

  • Print Media. This generation loves a hard copy. After all, they grew up on newspapers and other print media. This makes print campaigns a viable option for marketers targeting the Silent Generation. You should aim to appear trustworthy to this cautious cohort. Use subdued colors and straightforward copy, and don’t forget a larger readable type size.
  • Television. Seniors are the most active television viewers. In early 2015, they watched an average of 51 hours a week of television. This means seniors are still seeing the commercials most other generations skip over. If you’re able, television ads could be an effective way to reach this audience.

Lexicon loves the challenge of working with different audiences. Which generation do you find most difficult to target?  

Lexicon is an award-winning agency in Des Moines, Iowa, that specializes in content marketing.

If you’re still curious about marketing to specific demographics, you may enjoy one of these posts:

Marketing by Generation: All About Baby Boomers

Marketing by Generation: All About Generation X
Marketing by Generation: The Millennial Customer


  1. audience
  2. content marketing
  3. marketing strategy

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