Marketing to Grandmothers

Grandma playing wii

What today's grandmother looks like

I have a question for companies and marketers who target women.   How much of your marketing budget is directed at grandmothers?   I know there are billions of dollars spent marketing to mothers, but I rarely see ads targeting grandmothers.

So I have to ask a big, "what's up with that?"   

Is it because when you think of a grandmother you picture a grey haired lady sitting at home living on Social Security? 


What marketers think today's grandmother looks like

Go to any stock photography site and type in "Grandmother" and you'll see images like the one above, it's mostly grey haired ladies.  And they're almost always sitting passively reading to their grand kids.  (seriously).

Why you need to rethink marketing to grandmothers

Today's grandmother is affluent, active and very involved in her kids and grand kids lives. 

Vibrant Nation has a great article citing research from Rose Cameron from Euro RSCG. about marketing to grandmothers:

Rose herself explained that it was almost impossible to find an ad that featured grandparents. If they did, the grandparents looked like senile or passive seniors, not the active 50-somethings they are.

Another reason to market to grandmothers is the tremendous influence they have on their children as well as grandchildren.  Here's more research from Rose Cameron:

48% of all U.S. grandparents today are Boomers, and they are highly involved in the lives of the children of their Millennial children. 55% see those grandchildren more than once a week, 74% are deeply involved in raising grandchildren, and 62% spend significantly on these extended family members.

Bottom line – Grandmothers are vibrant active women, they're very involved in the lives of their families, and they're spending money on those families.  

Make marketing to grandmothers a key part of your strategy for 2012.  


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19 Responses to Marketing to Grandmothers

  1. Excellent points. Times have changed and old stereotypes just don’t apply to granny anymore. Marketing pros should take notes! Thank you for your post.

  2. Holly, I’ve been saying this for YEARS! What’s up with ignoring this vibrant, dynamic group of women (like me!) who have money to spend? You and I – we can corner the market here! w00t!
    Glad I’m not the only one who notices this stuff.

  3. SEO says:

    It’s so true. You can turn on daytime television and see plenty of ads appealing to grandmothers, but online there is practically no attempts made to market to that generation. Women over 40+ are one of the fastest growing demographics on Facebook, so there is an opportunity to find them, marketers just have to make the effort to do so.

  4. I never really thought of it until I read this blog post, but it’s true that marketers often miss the older generation. And when they actually do market toward that target audience, it’s usually in the form of medicine ads or something along those lines. Younger people probably just associate elder people with non-active, and non-social creatures.

  5. Grandmothers are a special market since they have a meticulous taste for almost everything. Marketing to this specific type of audience tends to be more specific and detail-oriented.

  6. Masako Gun says:

    Unlike in the past, seniors are now ready to market themselves in different fields, not just in assisted living and adult diapers. I’ve watched many commercials on TV where grandmothers are made into instant celebrities. This proves that past generations can easily adapt to the needs of the present, and most probably the future.

  7. ct seo says:

    It’s so true. You can turn on daytime television and see plenty of ads appealing to grandmothers, but online there is practically no attempts made to market to that generation. Women over 40+ are one of the fastest growing demographics on Facebook, so there is an opportunity to find them, marketers just have to make the effort to do so.

  8. Dylan May says:

    Mmmm-hmm. Grandmothers these days are more interactive, and they seem to be more interested to bond with their grandkids by somehow fitting in their shoes through the internet or video games. I think what sets this type of marketing from the pack, is that the approach here is more conversational and family-oriented.

  9. They say grandmothers and grandchildren have the same likes and interests psychologically and this makes me agree. They are closer to each other compared with the parents.

  10. android apps says:

    Grandmas are the most wonderful friend to have. Why? They spoil us and defend us from mother’s rudeness and strictness. Lol

  11. Amanda says:

    Awwww! You lucky great-grandma, you! My oldest gdeadraughtnr is 20 and in college for her masters, so it will be a while, before I get the status of great-grandma.Happy Mother’s Day, Ann.Hugs and blessings,Renie

  12. Amoula says:

    em. You do what best for you and your family. Whether your renoass are financial or simply because you want to work or because you don’t think you would enjoy spending every day all day with your kid(s). None of these renoass make you a bad mom. And it only gets harder. I know it seems hard now but the baby stage is easy to be home because the baby goes everywhere pretty easily and doesn’t really mind if she is enjoying a stroll in the park or the mall or the grocery store or even snoozing while you have lunch with friends or are getting a manicure. All things I did fairly regularly while on mat. leave with my first child. Its gets way harder when they are 1-3 years old and they want to be in the playground all day or you can’t get things done at home because instead of quietly sitting in a bouncy seat for 30 minutes they want you to play games with them and do crafts and read books. And I say this as a SAHM (although I have done both). Being at home is hard because it is (and this something that many moms don’t like to admit) as much as we love and adore our kids, spending every day with them doing the things they enjoy is BORING. I am a SAHM not because I didn’t feel that there was adequate child care or I wanted to spend every moment with my kids but because my career (attorney) didn’t allow for a reduced schedule and there are just so many hours in the day. Something had to give. I choose to focus on my kids. When I was working, after I had my kids, I didn’t get my haircut for a year (because every second I wasn’t working I felt like I needed to be with them). I say all this not because I don’t love or even like being home with my kids i say this because not being with them is great too. And when people say stay home if you can swing it financially it makes me crazy because working for women shouldn’t only be a choice of need or necessity it should be a choice about doing what’s right for you and what makes YOU happy.Ok back to the child care. When I worked I had a nanny. I think nanny’s are great for infants and babies because I think infants need as much 1 1 attention as possible and socialization and activities don’t really matter all that much until about 15-18 months. At that age I think daycare situations are great because they can start socializing and most day cares are almost like preschools. Even young toddler will learn things that they just won’t be exposed to with the best nanny. Good luck with whatever you choose on all fronts and remember the only person’s opinion that matters about how you parent is yours! And sorry for all the typos -only had about 4 minutes to write this and needed to get back to the fingerpainting in the dining room. by Jennifer September 16, 2011 at 4:00 pm

  13. Steffen says:

    I really felt like no one could or shulod be providing the kind of care I wanted for my daughter, and then, later, my son. I didn’t want to have children just so someone else could raise them and be responsible for them. It meant sacrifices; no new cars, local vacations, eating at home a lot. In return, I have amazing children. They are happy and I’d like to think that having involved parents assisted in that. I have performed jobs from home (floral design,etc.) through the years, or worked part-time when my husband was off to supplement our income. Another resource we found helpful was swapping care with other moms so they could volunteer in their older child’s class, get to a Dr. appointment, go to their exercise class or run errands.When my little ones were old enough to participate in the programs at the local Y, I signed them up, attended and met some great moms who were delighted to share the care of our toddlers. My daughter received her BA in English this year and is student teaching high school classes. My little boy is taller than me now, and is in his first year of High School. At 14, he’s working on his future plan to attend the Air Force Academy and fly aircraft. It’s been such a pleasure to spend this time with them. by Mari September 16, 2011 at 1:04 pm

  14. Nice article!
    Grandmothers have much more time to do shopping than mid-age women and if correctly helped they’ll spend more in the long run. Furthermore they more conscious of their health and the health of their children and grandchildren.

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  16. This subject is interesting for me as I am a woman and am just about to launch an Image Consultancy company in London. My image/logo will be of a man and woman facing each other done in a stylised way and not real people. firstly i want my services (personal shopping, colour analysis,styling etc) to appeal to both men and women but also I felt that there had to be some kind of ‘interaction’ between them and not just a sterile pose of a woman and therefore making it look as though it was only accessible for women..all your comments have been interesting. I do however believe, that advertising whether its good or bad has a powerful effect on people and whether they choose to buy something or not. there must be a sub-concious process that takes place, whether we like it or not that if you see the face of Gisele Bundchen for e.g the supermodel backing a brand be it a watch, car or piece of luggage then one is ‘buying into’ that whole image and thats what they want isnt it? I personally am not swayed to buying any single thing unless i can afford it (well most of the time!) but the power of advertising is enormous and must surely use every physcological trick in the book to boost sales amongst us..after all thats the whole point of advertising. Thanks for listening..Rachel Moss London 6th May2007

  17. Ewal says:

    You looked so fine, and your wonderful clogs only added to the perfection; I wish every one of your readers could have seen how great you looked!

  18. Diyana says:

    Osiyo,There were many “trails of tears” that all Native American peoples were foercd to walk during the genocide, dismantling and foercd relocation to reservations and prisons. All of those involved in this ride are Apache, Comanche, Toba, Cheyenne/Arapaho, Cherokee, Penobscot, Lakota, and others, have ancestors who were targeted for extinction and subjugation; my ancestors walked the Cherokee Trail of Tears from Red Clay, to Tahlequah;Grandmother Margaret’s ancestors were taken from their home in Montana to Oklahoma in chains. Oklahoma was a place of disease and systematic starvation; for families to stay and survive together required great strength of will and determination. Those who decided to return home to Montana knew they would be hunted down and executed; for some, this was a risk worth taking. That there are Cheyenne people in Oklahoma and in Montana is a testament to the great strength, determination, and love in the hearts of Cheyenne ancestors.Those Cheyenne who decided to leave Oklahoma, were re-captured and imprisoned in Nebraska, escaped again; to finally make it back to their homeland. Beginning at Fort Reno, Oklahoma, we will follow the trail of the Cheyenne people who made their way back to their beloved Tongue River Valley and the Northern Cheyenne Reservation, where we will join with Grandmother Margaret as she hosts the 11th gathering of the International Council of 13 Indigenous Grandmothers. After that gathering, we will return to Oklahoma where horses and riders will the follow the Cherokee Trail of Tears South back to my home, the mountains of many smokes deep in Cherokee Country; carrying with us the teachings, blessings and prayers of those 13 wise women. We are the grand children of those who stood in the face of genocide, with great courage, strength and love, determined not to pass from the face of the earth. This ride is our voice proclaiming to the world that our ancestors did not suffer in vain, because we are still here!Noqah Elisi: G-granddaughter of Sarah Jane Willis who was full-blood Wolf Clan Cherokee born in Hamilton County, TN, buried not far from Red Clay, TN. (I do not ride as a representative of the Cherokee Nation, I ride for my grandmother and for my own healing, and to say S’gi to all our ancestors for making it possible for us to be here today)

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