Commentary

Gen Z Vs. Millennials: Insights To Win Over 2 Very Different Demographics

Marketers are facing a new challenge in 2018 with the emergence of Generation Z. Born between the mid-’90s and mid-2000s, Gen Z is set to become an even larger audience than Millennials (born between the early-’80s and mid-’90s), and equally diverse, with 2.6 billion globally.

This demographic is making its shopping mark and brands should take heed. They have significant spending power, contributing $44 billion annually to the U.S. economy. According to Marisa Allen, vice president, partner innovations, UNiDAYS, “Gen Zers obtain money from many different sources, and, on their own, they flex $44 billion in spending power. When you factor in the money being spent on this generation from household incomes, it’s a whopping $828 billion.”

Fast Company states that Gen Z consumers have an “eight-second filter” when brands can connect, or be left behind. “Gen Zers don’t watch traditional network television as did previous generations; they’re streamers. They watch the clock count down to “skip past the ads,” says Allen. To win over this profit-driving generation, marketers must refine their strategic approach.

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Focusing on Generation Z shoppers doesn’t mean starting from scratch. Marketers should adjust their current strategies to address key trends, including:

  • Cause Driven Spending: “Many consider themselves principled buyers and seek brands that set out to do well,” Allen highlights. If brands stand for a certain cause, marketers should look to leverage this.
  • Inclusion Messaging: Gen Z is a diverse generation; marketers should focus on an inclusive, welcoming message at every touchpoint throughout their marketing campaigns.
  • Goal-Getter Support: Sixty-nine percent of Gen Z believes brands should help them achieve their goals, according to RetailDive. Brands should understand what those goals are and how their products and services can help. Doing so will formulate a clear and targeted approach to successfully connect with Gen Z.
  • In-Store Shopping: Gen Z enjoys in-store shopping, and want it to be an experience where they interact with products they’re considering. 
  • Visually Appealing Marketing: “This generation is highly visual and increasingly communicates in images (from emojis to Instagram). As far as we’ve come as a civilization, Gen Z communicates in hieroglyphics,” Allen says. Marketers should leverage visuals to tell stories about products and services vs simply promoting them. 

Don’t Forget Millennials

Gen Z is on the rise but have yet to trump Millennials, who command the most spending power of any generation‚ over $1 trillion. And they’re spending increasingly more as they hit life’s milestones. 

Trends show marketers have been too quick to move from one generation to the next. EMarketer points out it wasn’t too long ago that marketers moved from Generation X and Baby Boomers in favor of Millennials, despite these generations’ sizable spending influence. 

Repeating this mistake will be costly if marketers forget this demographic. Millennials are spending more than before and have pre-existing digital relationships with brands. Maintaining and growing these relationships while developing relationships with Gen Zers is the wisest strategy in 2018.

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