Generation Z are not millennials, just as millennials aren’t Gen Z. Marketers often forget that there’s a difference between the two generations that means they have to approach them differently.
The cutoff between these two unique groups is 1996. It’s when a number of defining factors kick in that really separate the two.
First, let’s look at millennials.
- Political – Millennials have some sort of memory from big events like 9/11 and the wars on Iraq and Afghanistan. These memories were enough to polarize their political views and dramatically shape their political climate.
- Economic – Many millennials were old enough to have experienced the recession, and it seriously affected their life choices and makings. It means they were off to a slower economic start than any generation before them.
- Social – This group really grew up with the internet. They first had clunky desktops; evolved to laptops and now smartphones. Additionally, they enjoy sharing social and usually respond to online ads.
When you group and analyze millennials this way, there truly is a clear difference between them and Gen Z.
So who are Gen Z, and what makes them unique?
- Political – Gen Z is set to be the most well-educated generation yet in all aspects. They don’t remember enough major political history moments to shape their opinions, but have seen enough through Donald Trump’s presidency to form some thoughts of their own.
- Economic – When it comes to money, this generation is taking a much more practical approach than millennials and even their grandparents. They want to secure stable jobs that pay well, and they know that going to college and racking up some debt is what has to be done to get there.
- Social – While millennials grew up with the internet, Gen Z was immediately thrown into the social media mix. They can barely recall what it was like before iPhones and MacBooks. When they spend time on their phones, they look to be entertained more than anything.
Marketers who don’t pay close attention to their audience often overlook these key details about the generations. Although the youngest millennials and the oldest Gen Zers may overlap in thought processes and/or lifestyles, there are still two different ways that these groups should be marketed to.
When marketing to Millennials, you should:
- Be authentic
- Use traditional advertisements
- Focus on experience
- Show appreciation for their loyalty
When marketing to Gen Z, you should:
- Be transparent
- Make use of influencers on Instagram and YouTube
- Interact with them often
- Use entertaining videos
No matter what, before you develop a marketing strategy that focuses on either of these generations, make sure to do your research! More often than not, the messages you are putting out and the tactics you are using cannot apply to both groups at the same time. Capturing their attention in the most effective and factual ways possible is the best way to bring success to your business plans!
Sophia Alfieri is a member of the #MillennialPrinciple team