Why Targeting Both Gen Z and Millennials With the Same Marketing Won’t Work

We know that both Millennials and Gen Zers are technically savvy having grown up with the internet. However, this key similarity doesn’t mean that they can simply be piled into the same category. If brands want to really resonate with their target market, they need to be far more specific.

For starters, we’re talking about two completely different age groups with Millennials now between the ages of 19 and 35 and Gen Zers from 11 to 18. It’s important that marketers recognise this as what’s appealing to a 33 year old mum won’t stand a chance with a 15 year old boy. Gaining a clear understanding of each generation will help to ensure marketing efforts are effective. To help, here’s a round-up of a few key differences between millennials and Gen Z.

1. Authenticity is key for Gen Z

Showing authenticity is a crucial part of marketing nowadays. Consumers dislike photoshopped images and fake news – those tactics just don’t work as well as they once did. Instead, both generations want authenticity.

In fact, Gen Z don’t want to be marketed to point blank. They prefer to feel like they’re part of something, like they know the person behind the brand. This builds an affinity and trust which makes them feel as if they’re not being sold to.

With this in mind, many brands have turned towards more realistic marketing, using more relatable techniques. Take Burger King for example, they took authenticity and brand transparency to the max by divulging in a statistic that most other brands would prefer to conceal.

The brand revealed that since 1954, more of their restaurants have burnt down that any other fast food chain. They shared this statistic with a picture of one of their restaurants and the slogan: ‘Flame grilled since 1954.’This demonstrated that the brand was willing to share even it’s most dark moments with the public – authenticity at its finest.

Image source: Adweek

2. Gen Z don’t do loyalty programs

This is important to bear in mind for brands when pushing any form of loyalty program. Unlike Millennials, Gen Zers prefer to be independent and aren’t as keen on being ‘rewarded’ for their purchases.

A study revealed that only 30% of Gen Zers like loyalty programs with 70% preferring to remain independent and shop with brands when it suits them. However, 45% of millennials actually enjoy being rewarded for their purchases and see loyalty schemes as a positive thing.

3. Influencer marketing strikes more of a chord with Gen Z

This ties in with authenticity and shows that younger generations prefer to buy from people over brands. Although influencer marketing has proved successful with millennials, research has shown that it actually strikes more of a chord with Gen Z.

Google reported that 70% of teen subscribers on YouTube relate far more to their favourite vloggers than traditional celebrities. They see such influencers as educators and role models with many teens preferring to turn to YouTube over TV.

This is a sentiment echoed by Paul Jones from Dubai Property For Sale:

Although Gen Z is barely on the map in terms of property investing, they will be in years to come, so we’ve started to look at strategies to attract them. Influencer marketing is a channel we’ve integrated into that matrix.

When planning an influencer campaign, it’s therefore important that brands ensure the individuals meet the goals of the campaign. For example, it’s no good having vlogging sensation Zoella plug a product that only older millennials would have an interest in. Instead, It’s important to understand which influencers resonate most with the age group being targeted as they are totally different.


4. Gen Z  are far more money conscious

Having grown up during a time of economic uncertainty and turmoil, Gen Zers are far more money conscious than their predecessors. They are more concerned about making smart purchasing decisions and intelligent investments. Put simply, they want to see their money go further.

Millennials on the other hand grew up in a more economically abundant time, making them less cautious when it comes to spending. Instead of focusing on longer term investments and making money go further, they prefer to invest in experiences. This makes them more likely to splurge than their younger counterparts.

To sum up

Being a digital native doesn’t mean that these two generations are cut from the same cloth. They have lived through entirely different times and consequently tend to have contrasting outlooks when it comes to spending. It’s therefore important for brands to gain a firm understanding of this and treat them as two separate entities if their marketing efforts are to be effective.


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