Originally published in the Boulder Daily Camera and the Longmont Daily Times-Call.

Seems like I hit a nerve with my last column.

Last month in this space I covered Generational Marketing. I knew the moment it was published. I began hearing from people, many people. Most had questions. Some had suggestions for future columns. All were generally supportive.

Several felt not enough space was given to their particular era. Others wondered about balancing audiences and budgets. Personal examples, both positive and negative were shared. I’ve also had several lively discussions concerning the differences and why they are so important, and a few wished I had spent more time on each group. But by far the loudest outcry came from those I didn’t address – The Silent Generation.

Turns out the Silent Generation isn’t so silent. Last month’s column didn’t include the Silent Generation (born between the mid-1920’s and 1945). I did this for the sake of space and the thought that most would benefit by learning from the younger generations included. As I explained to one senior caller, the “news” and “trends” today focus primarily on the Millennials. My original goal was to discuss Millennials, but showcase other relevant groups to illustrate that one-size-fits-all in marketing won’t work. In fact it will hurt the bottom line. However, the mistake was mine – the point was well taken.

So, here it goes Silent Generation!

The Silent Generation is estimated to have 50 million consumers. Members of group lived through two of the most difficult eras in modern times in the United States – the Great Depression and World War II. They take pride in self discipline and personal responsibility. They are more patient than other generations, and greatly value respect.

Many in the Silent Generation are very active and do not like to be regarded as old or invalid. This generation seeks value for their money, comfort and a sense of belonging. They are the least likely to make “impulse” purchases.

Traditional marketing tools such as flyers, newsletters and postcard are most likely to be effective, but don’t forget that many are using the Internet to search for information. Broadcast mediums such as radio and television may be very effective if targeted around the appropriate programming.

Avoid flashy promotional materials for this group. Larger fonts work well. Grammar and language are important, catchy slang is likely to backfire. Watch the use of graphics and images. Too many are distracting and won’t have a positive impact.

Members of the Silent Generation like to be asked their opinion. Customer surveys, focus groups and polls work well.

In reality most businesses target more than one generation. Failure to understand differences could negatively impact your profits. Consider this example. Last year an area business made the marketing decision to go all digital. They wanted to stay “relevant” and were afraid that they weren’t attracting Millennials. The problem? Millennials aren’t their primary audience. The Silent Generation and Baby Boomers make up the bulk of their business. The result? The loss of many long-term customers and an image that was left tarnished as they had failed to understand the very people they serve.

No matter who your customers or clients are, the most important thing you can do as a business is to value their loyalty. No matter what generation you target in your business it is important to remember that when you are communicating with your entire audience or customer base, you are still simply speaking to a single human at any given time.

How you choose to communicate with them speaks volumes.

Stacy Cornay is the owner of Communication Concepts Public Relations & Advertising. 
She may be reached at 303-651-6612; scornay@comm-concepts.com; www.comm-concepts.com; Facebook.com/Communication Concepts; Twitter @CommConceptsPR; or Linked In.

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