As Millennials and Generation Z start becoming the leading consumers, their habits are going to change the way that businesses market, promote and sell their products.
While Millennials are already having huge effects on many industries, things are only just starting to heat up as Generation Z gets older.
Here is all you need to know about Millennials and Generation Z, and what you can do to keep your business ahead of the latest trends-
All About Millennials
Millennials are defined as anyone born between 1977 and 1994.
Currently, millennials are expected to have a buying power of $200 billion by 2017 and a lifetime buying power of $10 trillion. Yes, trillion.
This should definitely make Millennials one of your go-to target markets, especially if you want your brand to still be in existence in the coming years.
Many brands make the mistake of signing up to Facebook and Instagram and thinking that is all that is needed to reach millennials, but this is just not true.
Millennials are all about the connection, and unless you can connect with Millennials on a more personal level, chances are you are not going to win over their affection.
While being on social media is a great place to start, it really is just the tip of the iceberg.
Millennials favour companies that stand for a social cause and give back to the community in some way. They also prefer to do business with companies that are ethical and have philosophies that resonate with their own.
Millennials are also extremely tech savvy and 80 percent of millennials have reported that they use their smartphones while watching TV. Many Millennials also use their smartphones while shopping, in order to find reviews of products and compare prices.
While Millennials may be glued to their phones, they are extremely brand loyal and statistics show that 70 percent of them will come back to a brand that they love.
84 percent of millennials also claim that social opinions influence their buying decisions and 51 percent trust “expert strangers” more than their friends. Millennials are constantly scouring the web for blogs, reviews and “expert” opinions on what to do, what to buy and where to go.
This has helped to birth the influencer movement, and this trend is only expected to grow as Generation Z gets older.
All About Generation Z
Generation Z is defined as anyone born between 1995 and 2012. Even though this generational group is still relatively young, they already have immense buying power.
Currently it is estimated that Gen Z have $44 billion in buying power, which is nowhere close to Millennials, however by 2018 it is expected that this number is going to be closer to $200 billion.
In just a few short years, Gen Z is going to be where Millennials are now, which means that brands really need to start paying attention to what this generation is all about.
This is especially true seeing that by 2020, Gen Z is going to make up nearly 40 percent of all consumers.
Just like Millennials, Gen Z are extremely tech savvy and most of them have never even known a world with no internet. Research is also already showing that Gen Z’s have a very short attention span of just 8 seconds.
They are used to obtaining information at a click of a button and have high expectations when it comes to how fast they can download information.
So, with Millennials and Gen Z being huge players in the world of commerce, what does your business need to do in order to stay relevant?
In this article we are going to take you through some insights into the psychology of both Millennials and Gen Z, plus share with you research and statistics that can help you make your marketing strategies far more effective to these emerging generations.
This will help you to answer the question of who should you be marketing to and whether you should be focusing on Millennials or Gen Z.
Let’s get started-
The Psychology of Millennials Vs. Generation Z
Both Millennials and Generation Z are extremely tech savvy, however Gen Z definitely have the upper hand.
Most Gen Z’s can navigate various forms of technology including smartphones, laptops and tablets and most of them intuitively understand technology in a way that no other generation does.
Most older Gen Z’s can even design apps and code websites and these skills seem to come to them almost instinctively.
While it still remains to be seen what effect this will have on the economy, for Gen Z’s to be interested, your brand has to have a strong online presence.
This means that your brand has to have a great website and be featured across various social media platforms and review sites.
Millennials are looking for brands that make a connection and resonate with their philosophy in some way, but Gen Z put an even greater emphasis on humanitarian causes.
60 percent of Generation Z want to impact or change the world and currently, 26 percent of them volunteer. Another 76 percent of them are concerned about the environment and humanity at large.
All of these statistics are significantly higher than Millennials who don’t seem to be as concerned with the state of the world. In fact, only 39 percent of Millennials state that they want to impact or change the world.
When it comes to learning, Gen Z are also all about self education and it is interesting to note that 33 percent of Gen Z watch lessons online, 20 percent read textbooks on their tablets and 32 percent work with classmates online.
Both Millennials and Gen Z are also big into the idea of entrepreneurship, which means that innovative brands and companies that go against the corporate structure are likely to stand out.
This should already be starting to give you some ideas on how to make your marketing more effective to Millennials and Gen Z’s, but let’s continue to look at this more….
Marketing to Millennials and Gen Z
When it comes to promoting products and services to both Millennials and Gen Z, videos continue to stand out as being number one.
Studies have even shown that 93 percent of Gen Z visit popular video sites like YouTube at least once per week and 54 percent visit video sites multiple times a day.
Millennials are also lovers of video content, but definitely not as much as Gen Z. Millennials are also more likely to read blogs, as compared to Gen Z’s who prefer more visual content.
Both Millennials and Gen Z however, love “edutainment” which is education that is entertaining. By providing edutainment to your audience, you not only engage them but you also provide them with value.
At the heart of every good marketing strategy is offering value that your audience is going to love, and presenting this in an entertaining way can help your business to really push sales.
Social media is definitely a great place to start when it comes to reaching both Millennials and Gen Z, however there are some differences.
Millennials frequent platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter whereas Gen Z prefer platforms like SnapChat and Vine.
Even though Facebook is the leading social platform, nearly 25 percent of 13 to 17 year olds have abandoned their Facebook pages in recent months.
In fact, Facebook is not that popular amongst Gen Z. This may be because many of Gen Z’s parents use Facebook and this may have caused it to loose its “cool factor”.
This just goes to show that Facebook may not be such a great marketing platform if you are trying to reach this generational group. Millennials on the other hand are very active on Facebook and most check their account several times during the day.
Gen Z are more likely to frequent Snapchat, Vine and Instagram and this may also be due to the fact that they have a very short attention span.
If you want to make an impact with Gen Z, it is paramount that you start getting your brand active on other social platforms that are more appealing to youth.
Depending on your target audience, being present on apps like Vine may be more effective than bigger social sites like Facebook.
Both Gen Z and Millennials love to share their opinion about topics, articles and trending events. Getting these generational groups engaged on social media is therefore paramount to making a connection.
Ask questions, reply to comments and offer unique and interesting feedback. By responding and showing that you care, it really helps your brand to be fresh in your audience’s mind.
Millennials and Gen Z are also more likely to share content that resonates with them and stands for the same things that they stand for.
Sharing content of this nature and taking a stand with what you write on social media is therefore important if you want to increase your engagement levels.
Both Gen Z and Millennials are big into social causes and want to make sure that what they purchase is making a difference.
Statistics show that 60 percent of Gen Z want to change the world and this is reflected in what they choose to purchase.
Aligning your brand with a social cause is not only great for the world but it is also great for business.
When you show that you genuinely care and are committed to also making the world a better place, it makes it easier for both Millennials and Gen Z to do business with you.
One of the best examples of a brand supporting social causes is the shoe company, TOMS. For every pair of shoes you purchase they donate a pair to a person in need.
This simple philosophy has helped TOMS to become a leading brand and a very popular brand amongst Millennials and Gen Z.
While your brand doesn’t necessarily need to offer something like this, even a small charitable act can be enough to put your brand ahead of the rest.
Even ethically minded companies that use environmentally friendly practices and fair trade agreements can be a big selling point for the younger generations.
Video is an extremely popular medium for both Gen Z and Millennials, however visual content is also very important.
You have to remember that Gen Z have an 8 second attention span, which means that you need to get your information out quickly and in a highly engaging way.
Your marketing and branding needs to have immediate impact if you are going to appeal to this generation.
In order to appeal to Gen Z, it is important to offer visual content. This includes using infographics, images, photographs and even emoji.
Millennials are also very visual, however they also have longer attention spans and may be more likely to read through a lengthy blog or watch a long video.
If you want to devote a lot of time and attention to educating Gen Z, e-courses and webinars are probably the best way to go.
Both Gen Z and Millennials love to learn new things, but in order t keep them interested and engaged the content has to be highly visual.
Millennials are also travelling like no other generation has, which means that travel spending is on the rise and younger consumers are become more culturally savvy. This is a great opportunity for brands to expand out to other countries and grow their target audience.
In fact, travel spending by Millennials increased to 20 percent in recent years, which means that more and more Millennials are being inspired to leave home and see the world.
Both Millennials and Gen Z are big on spending money on experiences rather than things.
As consumers become more global and more educated, it is going to be important for your brand to keep up and stay ahead of trends not just locally but also around the world.
For Millennials and Gen Z, mobile marketing is super important. It is interesting to note however, that many Gen Z are using differing screen sizes.
Most Gen Z own a tablet of some kind and a smartphone and a laptop. They may also be accessing online content through other smart devices such as smart fridges, smart TV’s and so on. This means that your content has to be viewable on all different screen sizes, mobile devices and desktops.
Gen Z are actually viewing more content on their smartphones than ever before and are even using their phones to make purchases.
Online shopping on mobiles has been on the rise in recent years, and this trend is only expected to increase.
Making your content mobile friendly is also extremely important for SEO purposes, but you can read more about that here.
In order to get your mobile site functioning effectively, it has to be extremely user friendly for both iOS and Android devices. It also needs to load quickly and be easy to view on a variety of screen sizes.
Here are some pointers to help guide you in the right direction when it comes to creating appealing mobile content for millennials and Gen Z-
- Remove pop-ups, these can make the mobile experience highly frustrating and can irritate users, causing them to leave your page.
- Use smaller paragraphs and keep your sentences short or separated with bullet points and subheadings as this helps to improve readability.
- Use plenty of white space as this makes it easier and cleaner to access information on smaller screens.
- Make your content scannable- this is a big one especially for Gen Z who remember, have an attention span of just 8 seconds.
- Make your buttons large and touch screen friendly.
- Try to make your mobile site simple to use and navigate- use drop down menus, simple designs etc.
- Avoid ads or keep ads to a minimum if possible, as these can also distract the user from accessing your content.
Both Gen Z and Millennials are big into researching before purchasing. This is important to note because with so much information out there, it is going to change the way that consumers make purchasing decisions.
Both Millennials and Gen Z have admitted to reading review sites and even shopping around for a product in order to get the best price. In fact, both Millennials and Gen Z even research companies before determining if they want to do business with them or not.
This tendency to research a company and the product before purchasing, means that your brand needs to offer a variety of information including video tutorials, reviews, testimonials and social proof.
In fact when it comes to marketing to Millennials and Gen Z, these four factors can make a huge difference when it comes to marketing your products and services.
Avoid Pushy Sales Tactics
“Buy Now!” is not going to work with Millennials or Gen Z. Both of these generations are turned off by pushy sales tactics and are almost immune to catchy “buy now” phrases that used to work.
Gen Z and Millennials are also big against ads and prefer more of an indirect marketing approach. In fact over 41 percent of Millennials have some type of ad blocking software and are less likely to trust gimmicky ads or sales tactics.
The bottom line is that bombarding Millennials and Gen Z with your marketing message, is likely to be highly ineffective and can taint your business as being spammy.
If you really want to get your message across, using other techniques like a catchy video, a Instagram contest or having an influencer take over your social media account can be far more effective.
To really win both Millennials and Gen Z over, you have to first gain their trust and attention, so start there first if you want to maximise your sales.
Both Millennials and Gen Z are into entrepreneurship big time and have a pioneering spirit that is unlike any other generation. They are more interested in educating themselves through travel and other forms rather than traditional schooling.
In fact, 60 percent of Millennials consider themselves entrepreneurs and a whopping 90 of Gen Z recognise entrepreneurship as a mentality.
As Gen Z age they are going to be even more entrepreneurial in how they approach business and consumerism, meaning that brands who appeal to this mentality are definitely going to be front runners.
Both Millennials and Gen Z struggle with the idea of a corporate world and would much rather support boutique companies, startups or larger companies that stand for a bigger mission.
If you want to be a driving force for Millennials and Gen Z, your brand has to adopt the entrepreneurial lifestyle and message as part of its philosophy.
So, when it comes to asking the question- should you be marketing to Millennials or Gen Z, the answer is…. both.
Both of these generations are going to become huge super players and will be driving a lot of decisions on how brands and products are marketed and sold.
The biggest things to remember when it comes to appealing to both Millennials and Gen Z is the following-
- Mobile is king of the jungle- your brand has to be smartphone friendly in every way possible.
- Your brand has to stand for a bigger social cause, even if this is just being more environmentally friendly or conscious in some way.
- You have to make your content visual and accessible on platforms beyond just Facebook- think Vine, YouTube and Instagram.
- Your content has to be scannable and engaging in under 8 seconds or less.
- You have to think outside the box and sell the experience not just the product.
- You have to ditch the cheesy sales tactics and instead offer value and quality that aims to build a trusting relationship.
- You have to appeal to the entrepreneurial spirit and use this as a philosophy for your brand in whatever way fits.
Businesses that don’t start implementing some of these strategies are just going to get left behind, so it is crucial that your brand starts implementing these techniques as soon as possible.
By following these simple strategies, you brand will be prepared for the growing shift in the marketplace and by aligning your brand with the philosophies and attitudes of both Millennials and Gen Z, your business will be able to grow and evolve along with the trends.
Is your business ready for Millennials and Gen Z?