Three Reasons Why Marketers Shouldn't Overlook The Silver Generation


In the classic 1985 film Back to the Future, Marty McFly is a typical American teenager who finds himself propelled back to 1955. After setting his teenage parents on the road to romance (and saving his own life in the process), Marty finds himself back, safe and sound, in 1985. He doesn’t stay there, of course. In 1989’s Back to the Future Part II, Marty ends up traveling into his future -- to 2015 -- for more unlikely adventures before returning home.

Note that Marty pulls off a neat trick in these two movies (let’s ignore the less-inspired third continuation). He manages to travel across a span of six decades while consistently keeping his wits about him. He’s alert the entire time. He can tell the good guys from the bad guys. He retains his wit and humor. He’s nobody’s fool. Ultimately, he’s in charge.

Guess what? Marketers who treat their older audiences differently in the real world -- including those who have figuratively “time traveled” through many decades -- are making a mistake. Just because some consumers were rocking to Chuck Berry in 1955 doesn’t mean they won’t still be rocking to whoever tops the charts in 2025. They aren’t fading away, like the family members in the photograph Marty holds on to. In fact, by all indications I have seen, “silver” consumers make the best consumers.