Your Roadmap to Defining and Reaching Millennial and Gen Z Audiences

May 1, 2019Rob Kane


What is your brand doing to capture the estimated $400 billion worth of annual buying power Millennial and Generation Z consumers hold between the two of them? Yes, you read that right—$400 billion, which means if you aren’t able to effectively reach these audiences, you’re missing out on huge profits and even more importantly, potential ambassadors for your brand.

Both of these generations turn to social media, mobile advertising, and word-of-mouth recommendations from their social circles when making purchasing decisions. They also want to buy from brands that align with their lifestyle choices, as 88% of consumers in both groups seek out ads that appeal to their activities, location, and tastes. By demanding authenticity and transparency, they’ve transformed the way brands market themselves and interact with consumers.

Not sure exactly what the buzzword “Millennial” really means, or how they differ from the consumers that make up Generation Z? Looking to more strategically reach these audiences to drive awareness, revenue, and brand loyalty? Keep reading for tips on defining and better reaching these unconventional, influential, and tech-savvy audiences.


Defining Your Audiences


Millennials were born between 1981 and 1995, meaning they’re approximately 24 to 38 years old today. Now reaching their prime adult buying years, Millennials hold about $200 billion in consumer buying power, and as they move up to become leaders in the workforce, they often hold the purse strings as B2B decision makers.  With their purchasing power, it’s important to understand that Millennial purchasers are focused on values and tend to be stubborn—they move at their own pace and expect brands to meet them where they are rather than be led down a funnel1.

Generation Z

Individuals in Generation Z were born between 1996 and 2015. As current 4 to 23-year-olds, they have a reported $44 billion in buying power—but the real kicker comes when you factor in their influence over the purchases their parents make, which catapults their spending power to roughly $200 billion.  While their <millennial counterparts are stubborn in their view of what they want and need, Gen Z tends to seek the truth in a variety of places. They share Millennial attitudes about activism and values-driven purchasing, but they are more likely to use consumption as a manner of self-expression and align their purchases to brands that share their ethical and moral interests2.


Three Key Ways to Reach Millennial and Gen Z Audiences

1.Show Your Authenticity Through Video
Both Millennials and Generation Z consumers are looking for authenticity from brands, so much so that they’re more likely to purchase from those that share their personal values and align with their lifestyle choices. There’s no fooling these resourceful consumers with a discerning eye for inauthentic brand ploys—which means you better be willing to put your business practices (and dollars) where your mouth is, or your reputation for being ingenuine may go viral.

So how can you best share your genuine story? The answer is simple: video. No medium quite matches video for creating captivating content, as the immersive experience of both sound and motion can powerfully communicate the true nature of your brand. Video is also incredibly cost-effective—on average, 97% of marketers say video has helped increase user understanding of their product or service, and 76% report increased sales. Use video for product demos, to share testimonials, and for almost anything else you can think of. But remember: 2 out of 3 millennials say they’ll lose interest in a video if it’s too promotional, so make sure you’re crafting an entertaining story that shows the lifestyle you embody, not just the products you sell.

2.Provide a Stunning, Seamless Digital Experience
Millennials are accustomed to rapid evolution and user-focused services—they’ve seen technology mature from dial-up and VHS to watching Netflix on the very latest iPhone model. Because of this, they expect both tech capabilities and brands to continually get faster, better, and smarter. Before making a purchase, 52% consider the brands’ use of technology, and 39% say they are loyal to brands whose use of technology is up-to-date.

That’s not all; they expect their digital experiences with brands to be seamless, especially on mobile, as 55% of Millennials who own smartphones expect brands to have an app or mobile-friendly website.

What does this all mean for you? Your website, digital ads, social media presence, app, and videos—all part of the aesthetic experience of your brand—need to be both beautiful, user-friendly, accessible from anywhere, AND intelligently designed. Anything less, and millennials will simply do a quick Google search from their sleek iPhone X for your competitors.

3. Personalize Communication, or Fall Behind
According to a Nielsen report, “[Millennials] have a natural interest in customization and individuality, so relate to them in this manner. Advertisers should engage in a two-way personalized conversation with them utilizing social media. They will become more than a recipient of information about your products, they will provide input and better yet, become a brand ambassador.” How can you step up to the personalization plate to foster a loyal following of brand advocates?

Take advantage of tools like Facebook Messenger and Twitter direct messaging to have one-on-one conversations (in as close to real time as possible) with both current and potential customers. If these conversations are public, all the better—47% of millennials report that social media has helped introduce them to new brands, and a witty response or public display of honesty can go a long way with users. Of all the social media outlets these two demographics are drawn to, Instagram is by far the most popular—roughly 75% of people in these demographics report having made purchases based on Instagram. Actively respond to comments and questions on your social pages and website, but the key here is to address both positive and negative feedback. This goes back to our authenticity point—if you delete a bad review or hide a negative comment, consumers in these generations will definitely take notice and wonder what you’re trying to hide.

Now that you know who’s actually considered a Millennial or Generation Z consumer and three key ways to reach them, you’re ready to start crafting marketing campaigns that will make waves amongst these audiences.

For more guidance on being seen as an industry leader by these younger generations, reach out to our experts who are equally as unconventional, influential, and tech-savvy as the consumers you’re hoping to impress.