Marketing to Millennials and Gen Z

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Marketing to Millennials and Gen Z

By Samantha Brooks on 31 May, 2021

Entitled, narcissistic, lazy, impulsive, and Impatient are just some of the adjectives used to describe Millennials and Gen Z-ers in the media. Such labels have no doubt had a profound impact on both generations, but they haven’t let them define who they are.

Who are they you ask?

Millennials and Gen-Z are now the most important consumer segment for the modern marketer to target. Making up just under half of the global population (46% to be exact), this cohort of astute consumers are either reaching the cusp of their peak earning (Millennials) or expecting their income to more than double by 2040 (Gen Z). To remain competitive and ‘relevant’ with this army of young consumers it’s crucial to understand how to market to them effectively. While it’s important to remember that one campaign strategy may not necessarily fit both generations as they ARE different age groups, they share some similarities.

Value focused and driven for sustainability

Both Millennials and Gen Zers alike are largely value-driven, with their purchase decision and consumer behaviour defined by these values and their life priorities. They are generally at the forefront of global calls for change, demanding action on issues that range from environmental sustainability to social injustice. This consumer segment expects the brands they’re purchasing from to have values that are somewhat aligned with their own, including diversity, inclusivity and equality. Both generations want to feel ‘seen’ by the brands they’re trusting with their hard-earned money, so it’s important to make these a focal point of your marketing strategy, as long as it’s in a real and authentic way! This brings us to the next point.


The importance of authenticity extends to creating a great consumer experience that meets the increasing expectations of young audiences. Young people are more selective and want to believe you want to help them solve a problem or meet a need, but they can also filter out inauthentic messaging very easily with a well-honed detector for sleazy marketing tactics. Analyse your customer experience to ensure they feel special and supported throughout the purchase process. From your branding to your after-purchase service, make sure it’s practical, but also real and meaningful.

Digital activity is everything

While not quite ‘generation alpha’ (who were pretty much born with iPads in their hands), Gen-Z and Millennials are deeply connected on social media and know how to navigate the maze of information available to them. These savvy young consumers were raised with access to a wide array of information and know how to sift through it. To catch their eye, your brand story should be crafted to be an authentic story of what you as a brand value and care about.

Influencer marketing is becoming increasingly profitable due to how much young people base purchasing decisions on recommendations rather than traditional advertising. Gen Z in particular wants to see content that’s actually attainable and not overly polished from trendsetters they already respect …hence the rise of micro-influencers. Data shows that this generation is twice as likely to respond to a micro-influencer or friend’s post about a product than one that came from a macro influencer or celebrity because these recommendations appear far more authentic, and therefore trustworthy.

Take a leaf out of Coca-Cola’s book – in their Share a Coke campaign, customers were encouraged to create online content subtly, placing control in the hands of consumers. While Coke used traditional methods of advertising like newspapers and TV, it was social media channels where the campaign took on a life of its own. Similarly, Campari’s Aperol encouraged consumers to be the face of their product – Once the ball started rolling for Aperol, it took little effort to keep it going: people are obsessed with the photogenic quality of the drink, and producing content that spread the thirst for Aperol like wildfire.

Strategies to use when marketing to Millennials and Gen Z

Using these values and attitudes, there are many activities that will help you target the millennial and Gen Z consumer:

  • Give them a reason to follow you – valuable content beyond promotion
  • Video – Utilise Instagram Reels, Stories and TikTok
  • Personalised messaging
  • Action and representation
  • Avoid too much spend going into traditional print media (billboards, print newspapers) and focus on high-yield activities like micro-influencer marketing


We understand this is a lot to take in, and we’re here to help. Get in touch with us today to see how we can help align your company’s marketing strategy with the trends of tomorrow – or 3198 4890.

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