While there may be a few years separating Gen Z and millennials, the two generations are remarkably aligned when it comes to social issues and global challenges. Both concern themselves with what is going on in the world, such as climate change and social issues like racism and gender inequality. You will often see Gen Z and Millennials standing side-by-side when advocating for change.
In one study, more than 55% of Gen Z and Millennials reported they had attended a recent #BlackLivesMatter protest or vigil. Standing up for worthwhile causes is an honorable trait. However, with Gen Z and Millennials, they believe they should not be standing alone when it comes to changing the world. Most Gen Z and Millennials believe that the brands they support should also get behind the issues of the day as well. They are willing to vote with their wallet by abandoning brands that appear to ignore or disregard the current crop of social problems and global challenges.
Art of people protesting against police brutality by Zsombori Robert, 123RF.
As technology-savvy consumers who can spot a phony from a mile away, Gen Z and Millennial marketing efforts need to take a more subtle approach. They also need to show that your brand is authentic and that it’s not just focused on making a profit at any cost. Between them, Millennials and Gen Z make up half the world’s population, so attracting and retaining them as customers is critical to long-term viability. Here are a few tips on how your organization can make itself more appealing to this important demographic.
Be Present on Social Media — But Step Carefully
Photo by Mirko Vitali, 123RF.
Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat have long been challenging territory for social media marketers. The platforms are the refuge of Gen Z and Millennials, where they go to be entertained and catch up with friends. Advertisements on these social platforms need to be carefully crafted, so they are fun and relatable and have a meaningful voice without being interruptive to the overall experience.
Be Entertaining or Informative
Image by Alessandro Biascioli, 123RF.
Millennials were coming of age just when social media became a thing, and Generation Z have never known a time without it. Both generations have developed a strong immunity to traditional and blatant advertising. Ad blockers are a popular tool for this demographic, but those that don’t have them are skipping through ads with barely a glance. Research has shown that if you want to make Gen Z and Millennials responsive to your message, you need to make it look less like marketing and more like an informative or entertaining post. Using the right design elements and available design tools to craft your marketing message will help subtract the creative hassle from your online marketing initiatives.
Shape Authentic Messages
Photo with zero waste and eco-friendly concept by Natalia Deriabina, 123RF.
Generation Z are more-down-to-earth than previous generations and aren’t easily swayed by glossy adverts making bold claims — if they even see them. It’s similar to how millennials and Gen Z can easily sniff out phony brand attempts to be LGBTQ-supportive during annual movements such as Pride. Recently, the COVID-19 pandemic has been a massive influence on Gen Z, most of whom are under 25 and working in industries with the most to lose during lockdowns. As a result, Gen Z are more likely to support smaller brands they have developed an emotional connection with and those that represent real people in all their diversity. In short, small home-grown businesses with handcrafted or artisan roots hold a higher appeal to Gen Z and millennials as opposed to large conglomerates.
Develop Your E-Commerce Presence
Image of teen using her smartphone by Viacheslav Iakobchuk, 123RF.
Gen Zers and Millennials spend a lot of their time online, where the borders between socializing, entertainment, and e-commerce have become more obscure and not so easy to define. Reaching millennials in such a muddied environment means your message will need to merge seamlessly with the online lifestyle young consumers have adopted. Each of the online platforms has a unique voice, so your material will need to be modified to suit the tone.
In conclusion, Gen Z and Millennials have become unresponsive to the previous generations’ traditional retail experience. Instead, they prefer brands that connect with them emotionally and openly support the causes they believe in. They are more inclined to purchase experiences and favor health and happiness over material trappings. Whether you choose to promote your brand via social media platforms like Instagram or TikTok, be informative, be entertaining, but above all, show that you understand and support the same issues, and you will be able to attract a loyal following of young consumers.