If you grew up in the era of swing dances in the firehouse, feel nostalgic for I Dream of Jeannie, and remember frequenting the local five and dime, I have good news: the world of marketing is starting to recognize your generation’s power as influencers. Or as they are now known, the granfluencer.
Gone are the days where the whole influencer landscape was baby-faced fashionistas and college-age BookTokers and 20-somethings who left their dead-end jobs to travel the world.
Finally, some seniors are getting the recognition they deserve. They’re cooking for the camera, showing off their fashion sense, and gaining loyal followings of (much) younger fans. And marketing and media are sitting up and paying attention.
In other words: the era of the granfluencer is here, baby.
How does marketing define granfluencer? Most identify them as seniors (70+) with a massive following. And—perhaps surprisingly—that following is usually young. Gen Z are often the ones turning these badass grandmas into marketing powerhouses.
So, what does this mean for marketers?
First, if you have an influencer strategy, don’t assume people stick to their own demographics.
If you want to reach Gen Z, you may choose Helen—who’s been “stealin yo man since 1928” according to her Insta profile—alongside your early-20s usual influencer suspects.
Going after gamers? Shirley’s 987K YouTube subscribers might just be your gold mine.
Hoping to catch the attention of fashion-forward Millennials? Grece is your girl.
In other words, look across age lines for your influencers. Audience is more important than the influencer’s age (or background).
Possibly even cooler, with the rise of the seniors comes the rise of every group. 50+ Carla and Barbara are killing it in fashion on TikTok. Cody is gathering the queer youth under his wings and educating us about asexuality in his 40s. And 60+ Janice has been instructing younger audiences on the art of solo travel for 10+ years. (So, if you ever made your crush a mixtape, can still sing the Duck Tales theme song—woo-oo—or know what a Thundercat is, congratulations! You—and I—are possible influencers, too.)
The second thing this means for marketers? We’ve got an opportunity to bust some myths and reach a wider audience.
Fashion isn’t just for models and young people. It’s for Carla and Barbara, Grece and Shirley. Game companies don’t have to exclusively target young men. And people in their 60s, 70s, 80s, and beyond? They can be living their best lives, too. On main.
This is both inspiration and marketing strategy. And not only does it reach the Gen Z audience driving so much of this engagement, but it also appeals to people in the middle. Older Millennials aren’t looking to college students for their fashion sense. They’re looking ahead at these powerful women a decade or two (or four or five) older. Same thing for other life choices: what books to read, home styles, starting a business, and/or traveling. Influencers from an older generation show us what our lives could look like later, encourage us to look forward instead of back.
(Can you tell I love these granfluencers with my whole heart?)
So, here’s the bottom line: it’s time to expand your influencer strategy. Time to think a little differently about who has the ear of your target audience.
And if you need some help thinking it through? That’s what we’re here for.
Image credit: https://www.instagram.com/baddiewinkle/