A Grand Market: 5 tips for marketing to grandparents

There are over 14 million grandparents in the UK, and many of them have very deep pockets. Not only are many still working, but they are a goldmine if your brand sells things for kids — from the practical to the gift-able.

When you think of grandparents, you may conjure up images of gray-haired men and women living in retirement homes and giving their grandkids pennies to buy ice cream cones. Wake up! Today’s grandparents are baby boomers—the people who redefined every stage of life and are set to do the same with grandparenting.

Grandparents are an affluent market. Together they control around 75 percent of the nation’s wealth, and spend an estimated £5 billion each year on their grandchildren. The average age of a first-time grandparent is 47, and the average grandparent has five grandkids.

It’s no surprise that grandparents are a great market for kids’ products. Many grandparents take care of their grandchildren at least part of the time, so they purchase cots, car seats, pushchairs and other childcare products so that the child’s parents don’t have to transport these items to grandma’s and grandpa’s house.

But what is the best way to reach this largely untapped group? Here are 5 points to keep in mind when marketing to grandparents:

1) The line between “mum” and “grandma” is fuzzy. The average age for becoming a first-time granny in the UK is 47. Yet there are also first-time mums at the very same age. This makes it tricky for marketers to find the right imagery to depict the right market. But perhaps they don’t need to. Parents and grandparents care about kids equally. Show women and kids together in a natural setting and you win. Even better, show dads or granddads with their family, which research suggests can be even more effective in advertising promotions.

2) Grannies are not in rocking chairs. Today’s grandparents are hip, and like to keep themselves busy – in many cases, busier than mum! Many are still working. As one grandparent recently told us: “We’re not sitting in rocking chairs — we’re more likely building them.”

3) Grandmas are tech-savvy. Skype and Facetime have revolutionised the way grandparents keep in touch with their grandchildren. While many grandparents still respond well to direct mail, don’t discount online marketing as an effective way to reach them.

4) They don’t want to be told how to be a good grandparent. They’ve already raised a family, so they’re not receptive to that message. However, grandparents do respond to messages about enriching their relationships with their grandchildren.

5) Appeal to their sense of fun. Grandparents are a big, affluent, modern market. Speak to their joy of being grandparents and their interest in healthy, fun living, and your product or service will be a hit.