As incredible as it may seem, millennials, or Gen Y, are already approaching their prime earning years, with the oldest members now turning 41. Similarly, all but the youngest members of Gen Z are already well into their young adulthood.
Not only have millennials and Gen Z grown up, they’ve also dramatically altered market demographics. People in this group encompass the largest generational age cohort in human history. Indeed, it’s estimated that in the U.S. alone, Generations Y and Z account for around 140 million people, or almost half of the total population.
What this means is that, given the size, age, and current and future earning potential of this demographic, marketers would ignore them at their peril. However, marketing to millennials and Gen Z is often a far different beast than that of previous generations.
This article describes 5 important strategies for effectively marketing to Generations Y and Z.
Millennials and Gen Z grew up in a far more socially conscious world than did most of us from previous generations. Concepts such as diversity and inclusivity were likely introduced and celebrated both at home and at school from an early age.
Even more significantly, perhaps, this demographic tends to be incredibly diverse itself, encompassing a vast array of nationalities, ethnicities, physical, cognitive, and developmental abilities, sexual orientations, and gender identities.
This means that this age group wants, expects, and demands inclusivity in marketing. They need to see not only those who look like themselves represented, but they also expect to see those from diverse and historically marginalized communities acknowledged, respected, and well-served by corporations and the marketers who represent them.
Embrace Video Marketing
You may think that your digital marketing game is on point if you have an active social media presence and a thriving blog on your company’s website. However, that’s likely not going to be enough for this age cohort.
Millennials and Gen Z are avid consumers of video content and they use this content not only for entertainment but also for business. This demographic often turns to videos to research products and services they’re interested in, from seeking out the video testimonials of their favorite social media influences to watching product demos and tutorials online.
Use Social Media to Capture Their Attention
In addition to producing robust video content, if you want to capture, and keep, the attention of Millennials and Gen Z, then you need to engage them through social media.
This generation differs significantly from older consumers in that they don’t want merely a good product or service at a reasonable price. Rather, what they’re looking for, most often, is a relationship. They want to engage with the companies they choose to do business with. This includes using social media to learn about the company, its history, its values, and its products.
But they also want more than that: These consumers want to enjoy a sense of community as patrons, or prospective patrons, of your company. This means they’ll look for posts, from reviews to demos, by your customers and employees.
They’ll also expect frequent commentary, videos, images, and other interesting content from the company itself. Perhaps most important of all, they’ll want to be able to ask questions and post comments and reviews and receive a personal response quickly, ideally within minutes.
Use Interactive Content
Given the high premium this demographic places on engagement, it’s probably not going to come as a surprise that interactive content should be a cornerstone of your marketing plan. These consumers want more than a sales pitch. They want an experience.
So if you want to capture the attention of this market and keep them coming back for more, then you need to present something new and interesting with each encounter. Interactive content is an ideal way not only to inspire repeat visits to your platforms but also to keep them on your pages longer.
Online quizzes, polls, and even contests are a great way to interact with your audience and keep them engaged. Best of all, the information you glean from these interactions can be harnessed to enable you to create more personalized marketing strategies in the future. Because this is a demographic that is all about relationships, the more “known” your young audience feels, the more likely they are to respond.
Emphasize Your Brand’s Values
Ours is the era of conscious consumerism and Generations Y and Z are leading the way. As we’ve already seen, issues such as inclusivity, relationship, and engagement are of paramount concern to this demographic.
It seems only fitting, then, that corporate social responsibility (CSR) should also be of paramount concern. This cohort, perhaps more than any other, seeks to do business with organizations whose values they feel align with theirs.
That means that they’re also more than willing to put their money where their heart is, even if it comes down to walking away from a great value or superb product if they disagree with a business’s conduct, ethos, or mission.
On the other hand, a strong CSR brand can be a powerful tool for attracting this target demographic and inspiring their hard-won loyalty. Indeed, these younger consumers are often more willing than older generations to pay more for goods and services or to do without a valued feature or brand if it means aligning their buying habits with their values.
Generations Y and Z comprise the largest market demographic in modern history. This means that they wield tremendous power to shape the market and make or break a business. Marketing to this age cohort, though, requires a unique set of strategies to reflect the experiences and expectations of the first generations to come of age in the new millennium. The reach this distinct and powerful demographic, marketers must prioritize inclusivity, video content, social media, interactivity, and corporate social responsibility. Otherwise, this cohort of savvy but also highly mobile consumers will take their money, time, and loyalty elsewhere.
By Indiana Lee, BOSS contributor