While Millennials and Gen Zers were both the first generations to fully grow up online, many people believe they differ in that Gen Zers will be more groundbreaking than Millennials could ever dream of being in the long run.
Let’s dive in by taking a brief look at the characteristics both generational groups possess as “digital natives”.
Gen Z and Millennial Traits: A Breakdown
First up is the Millennials.
Millennials value authenticity, embrace loyalty programs, engage with brands on social networks many Gen Zer’s consider dead like Facebook, and for them, price is critical but brands MATTER.
Gen Zers, on the other hand, are racially diverse, ethnic, heart-based, progressive, and on track to be one of the most educated generations yet.
They like to avoid labels, promote inclusivity, and they really take the time to evaluate all of their options before committing to any one choice or purchase.
For both generations, having your finger on the pulse of what they want and what encourages them to pull out their credit card to buy is an absolute must if you want to take full advantage of their massive spending power and stay current on social media trends.
Marketing to Gen Z and Millennials: the Strategies
Let’s face it:
Marketing to a younger customer base isn’t always the easiest task. Historically, it’s been fairly tricky.
First, you need to track demographic data — a task in and of itself. Then you need to keep up on marketing trends, which come and go with the day of the week.
That said, the fact that Millennials and Gen Zers tend to spend so much time online can make it somewhat easier for you to learn their buying behaviors and make things less of a guessing game for you in the long run.
Don’t make the same mistake so many other internet marketers make though, which would be treating Gen Zers and Millennials like a singular block. This is a surefire way to come off as out of touch, or as they say — “Hello, Fellow Kids”-like.
To market successfully to Gen Z and Millennials, you must learn to bridge the gap between them and other generations, like the boomers. For all the similarities the two generations share, connecting with buyers in the Gen Z and Millennial categories starts with understanding their unique digital behaviors and social quirks.
On that note, let’s jump right in.
1. Put an extreme emphasize on branding and visual content
Gen Z and Millenials love eye catching, visual content.
When it comes to social media platforms, both generations agree that YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram are their preferred social media networks . And when asked which networks they want to see brands use more of, most said Instagram and YouTube.
Marketers should also consider incorporating short-form video content into their strategies and developing bite-sized content, such as the much loved Instagram Stories.
Short-form videos that use overlays, music, and visual effects have proven to be marketing gold for brands and influencers alike. Simply look no further than the recent boom of TikTok as great evidence of this phenomenon. 25% of the almost 700 million users worldwide between the ages of 10–19 say TikTok is a vital part of how they make their buyer decisions.
Therefore, stylized video and visual content should be one of your top priorities when it comes to marketing to thes etow generations. They want fresh, dynamic, and new. Not static, boring, or anything they might associate with boomers.
2. Try your hand at interactive content
If you want to capture Gen Z’s and the Millennials’ attention on social media, you’ll want to use a good combination of interacity and creativity. That means you need your customers to do something (such as tap, swipe, click) when they find their way onto your posts.
Basically, take the initiative.
Do anything you have to in order to foster interaction and conversation on social media between yourself and your potential buyers. To do this, you can turn to interactive features such as twitter polls, quizzes, stickers, and sliders, which will give you a chance to learn about your customers while also winning some of their attention — which is absolutely pivotal.
Keep in mind though: a combination of interactivity and coming up with your own unique personalization scheme is key when speaking to potential customers in the Gen Z and Millennial age range who want to support brands that value them as people.
Your interactive content can help aid and encourage customers to make purchasing decisions that evolve your company. Just look at brands like Topshop, that do a great job of featuring quizzes on their sites to help shoppers identify the styles that speak to their personalities the most.
3. Use TAGS to your advantage
While it more or less goes without saying in 2022, using industry relevant tags that your potential customer base also cares about is one very important aspect of marketing to Gen Zers and Millennials that you won’t want to miss out on.
- You can enable your customer base to tag themselves while at your physical location so that they can share the activity with all their friends and family (free word-of-mouth marketing for you!)
- You can then encourage customers that follow you on social media to share this user-generated content (e.g. customer photos) coupled with your brand hashtag for even more free marketing.
- You can kindly ask customers to tag their friends and family on your posts to invite new potential buyers to your brand’s social feed.
One example of all of this “out in the wild” is Disney Springs, which has a constant stream of customer interaction photos to promote to their followers, thanks to their unique variety of branded hashtags.
4. Use FOMO to your advantage with time-sensitive posts
One very important aspect of marketing to Gen Z and Millennials to consider is FOMO, as in: FEAR OF MISSING OUT.
Potentially missing out on anything relevant is a huge buying factor for both generations. So, how might you tap into your audience’s FOMO?
ACT FAST with time sensitive posts!
Instagram Stories, for example, gives brands the ability to implement and monitor time-sensitive engagement. This is how you can essentially become a near constant part of your potential buyers feeds via notifications.
You can also use a new feature Instagram recently released called Drops, which helps business owners create buzz for upcoming specials, launches, and events that are available only for a limited time.
5. Put your brand’s sense of humor front and center
Don’t have one?
Gen Zers and Millennials love a good ‘inside joke’ or meme. Find a way to incorporate a trending one into your marketing — and boom!
You’ll be well on your way to going viral!
The challenge for most business owners is keeping up with the lightning fast speed of the internet. Don’t be the guy posting a few month old meme that’s no longer relevant with the youngsters.
You’ll just seem out of touch.
What matters most here is that your brand has a distinct voice. Find it and showcase it. Showing your more human side can go a long way with these two younger generations, which tend to be heart-based decision makers.
What better way is there to penetrate someone’s heart than by making them laugh?
6. Respond to followers quickly
One of the worst grievances a business owner can commit is not responding to followers on social media in a timely manner. This is especially true with Gen Zers and Millennials, who require quick responses in order to stay interested.
According to Sprout research, 41% of Gen Z consumers say they would make a purchase from a brand that delivers fast, responsive customer service over a competitor.
Not only does giving followers your full and undivided attention go a long way to boost brand loyalty, it also proves you have strong customer service, an essential part of any marketers social strategy.
7. Amplify your brand’s beliefs and values
As we already touched on, Gen Zers and Millennials tend to be very heart-based consumers. These are groups of people that tend to care a lot about social issues and where their money is going more than previous generations.
Therefore, they tend to like when brands are willing to take a strong stance for what they consider to be the right issues. In fact, Gen Z consumers in particular are three times as likely as other generations to say a brand’s purpose is to service communities and society.
This belief system seems to directly correlate with Gen Z’s strong desire to be heard by their fellow peers and express their beliefs with no judgment.
With that said, be tasteful. Business owners should always be very mindful of how they present their stances on various social issues. It’s imperative that you do so in an appropriate manner or you could totally miss your target and do more damage than good.
8. Welcome customer feedback and reviews
While some business owners may fear reviews, not wanting to ever risk getting a bad one, you should actually welcome them — especially from Gen Zers and Millennials, who tend to love leaving reviews due to the possible internet virality factor they offer (See: Amazon Reviews, which regularly get turned into memes that go viral).
With that in mind, sometimes the very best thing a business owner can do to encourage purchasing behaviors is to…say absolutely nothing at all. According to Sprout’s Digital Natives Report, 82% of Gen Z consumers will buy from a brand only after reading reviews from other customers on social media.
Therefore, working customer testimonials into your social strategy will help you build your company’s online reputation by building your overall credibility through social proof.
You can also reach out to your buyers after the fact to request a review. Just make sure you make it as easy as possible for them to leave their feedback, be it negative or positive (hey, it happens!) and don’t be afraid to respond.
Marketing to younger consumers is really just a matter of finessing them properly — to use their own terminology for a moment.
Bring visual content. Bring authenticity. Bring more enriching back-and-forth conversations with your customers.
It’ll go a LONG way in the long run when it comes to marketing to these two generations in particular.
By taking the time to learn about Gen Z and the Millennials preferences, interests, and what makes them special compared to past generations, you’ll be able to build valuable relationships with them that reward everyone involved.