The Silent Generation Speaks Loudly in Marketing Preferences

Hummingbird CreativeAdvertising & Marketing

Did you know that if you have a market niche which includes many different generations of Americans, you will benefit greatly by understanding the differences between them? It’s easy to see differences between how your grandmother thinks and acts as opposed to your nieces and nephews, but did you realize that those differences can translate into huge revenues…when you market to each group separately? Specific differences between them help you create more compelling design and messaging that they each can get on board with!

As importantly, if you have a market niche that includes just one generation, you’ll want to deeply understand their specific market drivers.

In order to help you with this effort, we’re going to be covering Generational Marketing over the next few months, starting with the Silent Generation.

Wikipedia states that “Silent Generation is a label for the generation born from 1925-1945; notably during the Great Depression (1929-1939) and World War II (1939-1945)”. Other sources site different spans of time and ages within each generations, but differences are usually 5 years or less.

The significantly historical times in which this generation was raised strongly shaped their values, belief systems and preferences. Since people had fewer children during this very difficult war torn and depressed historical period, this generation is comparatively small. Since the generation is so small, individuals had a relatively easier time contributing greatly to our economy, and many of them went on to harness the scientific and technological advances of the Second World War while developing innovative inventions which laid the groundwork for even more technological progress in the late 20th century.

Also, these matured folks are still grounded in some of those same technologies – like rotary phones. They prefer one-on-one discussions and more formality, which can be found in letters, personal notes and newsletters. Since they were raised in depressed times, they tend to be very frugal and don’t spend their money on newer technologies. Their growing use of Facebook does seem to contradict this finding, likely because they truly value relationships and can use this easy technology to stay in daily contact with their children and grandchildren–and because a family member typically bought them the computer.

Social Media

This table by details the importance of internet activities among all generations of internet users:

This important chart indicates that, surprisingly, greater than 50% of the Silent Generation is online to conduct searches for health and government information, uses email, enjoys social media and gathering news, and actually purchases products and makes travel arrangements online. Other sources site that this generation’s internet usage is up 4% over the last 5 years. This makes the Silent Generation available for online marketing, but it is NOT their preferred means of learning about your products and services.


In fact, this generation invented the concepts of newspapers, magazines and television, and they stay firmly loyal to and most comfortable with advertisements that they find there. More formal printed advertising in the forms of flyers, newsletters and postcards are also great ways to reach this generation. Although they love one-on-one conversations, they respond better to “hard copy” information which includes the benefits of making a purchase.


According to, the Silent Generation prefers one image over a collage, and that image works best if it is a lifestyle image of a group or family that they can connect with rather than a product picture. Also, perhaps because their vision has grown limited, they prefer subdued colors and imagery over more vibrancy and the colors of red and orange. And, there is a slight advantage to having a pet in the picture which may increase the emotional appeal. Additionally, due to their impaired eyesight, larger, more basic, less “designed” fonts are best.


In order to speak best to the Silent Generation online while using the imagery concepts above, also use authoritative, respectful tones and messages from experts on your pages. Show how your product or service enhances conformity and adherence to rules, law and order, duty, dedication, hard work and sacrifice, and you’ll be generating a great deal more leads!


where ideas take flight

At Hummingbird Creative Group, we build business value through better branding. Contact us to find out how we can build your business’s value:
919 854 9100   |