What is silver marketing? How to do marketing to the 50 plus generation

The average age of our society is increasing and with it the potential of the silver economy market is growing. People aged 50+ are a growing segment of society and can be valuable customers for various industries. However, to reach this audience, marketers need to be aware of their specific needs and expectations. In this article, we will outline some key tips for effective marketing to silvers.

What is the Silver Generation like?

Silvers (50+) include both baby boomers, those born in the post-war period, and Generation X, who have already reached middle age. These are two different generations that differ in both their values and their use of new technologies. Baby boomers are more inclined to use traditional media and prefer face-to-face communication, while Generation X is more involved in using the Internet and modern technology. However, this is changing dynamically!

The silver economy, or any economic activity aimed at meeting the needs emerging from an aging population, is becoming a challenge. 

An insight worth including in marketing to silvers is that older people often experience a second youth. With longer lifespans, better medical care and active lifestyles, silvers enjoy better health and greater activity than previous generations their age. They have aspirations, passions and goals they want to pursue and are willing to engage in different areas of life. Therefore, marketing to the silvers should emphasize their energy, motivation and willingness to explore new things. We must remember that today's 60-year-olds are not the same as they were 20 years ago. Lifestyle, being up-to-date and development in the broadest sense have significantly changed the image of the 50+ generations. In another 20 years we will be able to say the same thing.

What does the research say?

Research plays a key role in understanding silvers, as well as any target group, but adapting the marketing strategy to their needs and expectations. 

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Source: "The Future of Aging" Havas Media, 2021.

According to the silvers, becoming a grandparent/grandmother does not automatically make them become and feel older. They don't like, like any other generation, the pressure to be forever young and would like to see more advertising featuring their age group.

There is a lot of relevant data that illustrates the scale of the silver tsunami:

  • In 2019, for the first time, the number of people over 65 exceeded the number of children aged 4 and under.
  • More than 990 million people are expected to reach the age of 65 or older by 2030, a quarter of whom will live in China.
  • Life expectancy worldwide will reach 74.4 years in 2030, compared to 66.7 years in 2000.
  • Among people aged 65 and older, the fastest growing group in the next decade will be those aged 75-79.
  • People aged 60+ already make up ¼ of Polish society.

Source: Euromonitor International, 2021

The CSO's long-term forecasts indicate that by 2050, people aged 60+ will represent as much as 40 percent of the total population, or nearly 14 million people.

In order to operate effectively in this market, it is necessary to get to know the "silver", to like them, to present products or services in the right way and on the right channels, and to convince them to buy.

A study by Atena Research and Consulting: "Money, Sex, Power, What Drives People 50+," on the other hand, shows that as many as 93% respondents in this age group feel more than 10 years younger than the metric indicates, with more than half over 60 still working. 

What is silver marketing and what do silvers want to see in ads?

According to the SilverWave report, nearly 60% respondents said they want to see more people of this age in ads. When they see young people in ads, they naturally read the message as being aimed at a younger target audience, making them feel left out. 

On the other hand, mature and elderly people do not want to see their peers portrayed as weak and full of problems, and they are most often shown in drug and insurance ads. The key to getting these people interested and trusting is a message that promotes well-being at this stage of life. Advertising campaigns should avoid suggesting that older people need products only because of their age, as well as avoid artificial rejuvenation. It is important to show seniors in a variety of everyday and unusual situations: drinking coffee on the terrace, working out, dancing, studying, dating or traveling.

One of the key directions is to show silvers with younger people. Ads that show different generations are met with great enthusiasm and are inclusive. It's not just about showing multi-generational families at Christmas Eve, but also about showing different generations as groups having fun and complementing each other. Let's treat the silver generation on an equal footing with younger generations - show them in ads regardless of category.

Where Silvers are looking for entertainment and information

According to the "Silver Generation" report, conducted in 2020 by IQS, TV is the most popular among silvers, attracting as much as 94% of this group in terms of reach and time spent. On average, they spend 6 hours and 10 minutes a day in front of the TV.

In second place is radio, which is listened to by 91% people over 50 years of age, devoting an average of 2 hours and 18 minutes to it.

The Internet ranks third, where they spend an average of an hour a day. They often read online versions of newspapers and magazines and use social media 

44% silvers have profiles on social networks in the 65+ group and 34% in the 55-64 group - that's half of the silver generation!

They also reach for traditional newspapers. 43% of those aged 60-65 and 32% of those aged 55-59 say they read newspapers and magazines.

As part of silver marketing, it is worth using tools such as SMS and phone calls. Personal contact is also important, as bots and contact forms on websites are not preferred solutions. This means that there are areas where artificial intelligence will not replace our contact with another human being.

According to the Social Media 2023 report prepared by Gemius Poland, on more than one platform the Silvers outnumber the other age groups. These include platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest:

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How to do marketing for the silver generation?

  1. Know your target audience: There is no single stereotypical image of people over 50. It's a diverse group with different needs and preferences. That's why it's important to do your research and gather information about your target group. Understanding their lifestyles, interests and motivations will help you tailor your marketing efforts. Remember that people 50+ are a wide age range.
  2. Break the stereotypes: They don't want to be seen as "typical" grandparents. That's why it's important to avoid negativity in your ads and campaigns and portray them as active, energetic and full of life. Show that their needs are important and that your product or service can contribute to their active and fulfilling lifestyles.
  3. Customize communications and marketing channels: Silvers may have different communication preferences and use different media. Some prefer traditional channels such as television, print or direct mail, while others are more likely to use the Internet and social media. It is important to tailor your messages to the preferences and technological skills of this audience.
  4. Focus on values and benefits: People over 50 often make purchasing decisions based on the value and benefits that a product or service offers them. It is important to focus on these aspects in your marketing message. Show how your product can improve their quality of life, meet their needs and provide them with a valuable experience.
  5. Build trust and relationships: They value trust and loyalty. It is important to build long-lasting relationships with customers by providing them with quality service and support. Focus on offering products and services that are tailored to their needs and strive to meet their expectations.
  6. Take advantage of influencer-silvers: In recent years, there has been a noticeable increase in the number of silver influencers, i.e. people who have high engagement on social media and are an inspiration to others. Take advantage of this trend and work with silver influencers who can promote your products or services in an authentic and compelling way.

Source: https://www.instagram.com/kobieta.zawsze.mloda/ 

  1. Match price and promotions: Silvers are often more price-conscious and may be more inclined to look for bargains and promotions. Taking this into account, match the price of your products or services to the affordability of this audience and offer them attractive promotions or discounts.
  2. Pay attention to accessibility: They may have some physical or technological limitations. It is important to provide them with easy access to your products or services. Make sure your website and apps are senior-friendly and the purchasing process is simple and intuitive.
  3. Free tools, tips and training: Providing free educational materials, such as video tutorials on platforms like YouTube or step-by-step handouts, can attract attention and build trust in the brand.
  4. Keep up to date with social media platforms, where the potential to reach the silvers is growing.

Good examples

Portal praca50.plus

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May 2022 saw the launch of job posting site praca50.plus, aimed at people 50+ and companies that are open to hiring this age group. The idea for the portal came from the silver economy experience at ONE House Group. The group specializes in communication to people 50+, and after launching Silver Agency, Silver Models and Silver Content Hub, they saw three challenges: getting people 50+ active in the workforce, raising public awareness of the demographics and increasing number of people over 50 in the labor market, and overcoming employers' fears about hiring mature employees.

Allegro's famous spot - English for Beginners

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tU5Rnd-HM6A 

Allegro's advertisement "What are you looking for at Christmas? English for beginners," which appeared in November 2016, has won huge acclaim both at home and abroad. The ad features an elderly gentleman trying to learn English by searching for relevant materials on the Allegro platform. The ad beautifully illustrates the openness and essence of intergenerational relations.

Allegro's ad has reached nearly 8 million views on YouTube, and its popularity reaches far beyond Poland's borders. Foreign media such as the Guardian, Daily Mail, NBC News, The Independent, USA Today, Huffington Post and Mirror have raved about it and published articles about it. The ad gained a second life, gaining millions more views and reaching audiences around the world. Foreign media highlighted the touching nature of the ad and its uniqueness.

"Senior Project" at CityFit

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Source: https://cityfit.pl/biuro-prasowe/projekt-senior-w-cityfit/ 

January 2023 saw the launch of the "Senior Project" at the CityFit fitness club chain, an initiative dedicated to people aged 70+. The goal of this unique program is to encourage the older generation to be physically active and spend time actively, for the sake of their health and well-being. CityFit clubs allow these people to use their services for free, which is designed not only to improve physical fitness, but also to counteract loneliness and include seniors in an active social life.

The golden age of the silver generation 

Source: frame from the film "The Apprentice", 2015

Have you noticed that in our text (except for the project's own name) the word "senior" is not used even once? People 50+ don't like it, it builds up connotations of "old people" and unnecessarily emphasizes older age. Silver sounds much better 🙂

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