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How Millennials are Marketing to Gen Z

5 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Although millennials are continually classified as being between the ages of 18-34, the reality is, they are likely older than that. Millennials are more accurately those between the ages of 26-42, making them the largest percentage of working age adults. In the United States, 2010/16 statistics counted the number of millennials as being well over 70 million people, preparing to surpass the total number of the baby boomers.

If the majority of working adults can be classified as millennials -- and they are often described as being able to think outside of the box -- how are they marketing their businesses to the next generation? Those born after 1995, known as Gen Z, have grown up completely surrounded by technology, making traditional marketing efforts relatively useless. In order to capture the attention of the next generation, you have to be creative.

Related: 4 Unconventional Ways to Better Market to Generation Z

Here are a few examples of the ways millennial business owners are capturing the attention of today’s young adults:

1. Building cult brands.

One similarity between millennials and Gen Z is that they believe in brand loyalty. If a company is able to push beyond brand loyalty into cult brand territory, there’s no stopping them.

Apple is an example of a brand that has managed to do this. They have gained the ability to create a “need” for what’s coming next. The Apple Watch, for example, is very popular with Gen Z, and has not once been truly marketed as a timepiece. It is obvious that you can check time on your phone, so Apple had to find a way to appeal to trendy and tech savvy individuals by creating a convenient smart watch.

Creating cult loyalty to a brand means your customers will care more about your brand than they do about most other things. To get there, you must build a solid relationship with your audience, paired with excellent tracking, to meet and anticipate the needs of your buyers. If you are able to give them what they want, you can bet they will return to you in the future.

2. Social media ads and influencer marketing.

If you are trying to get the attention of Gen Z, stop focusing your efforts on television and magazine ads. This generation does not consume media in this way. They live online, and that's exactly how we grew a 7-figure business.

If you can build a creative ad that pops up in their social media feeds and captures their attention in a split second, you might secure a few purchases. If you can have an “influencer” prove your product’s worth to thousands of followers, you might just find yourself a goldmine.

Related: 4 Young Marketing Influencers You Can Learn From

Influencer marketing involves using an individual who has gained a cult following due to their job, posts and infectious personality. These individuals share content, potentially including your product, service or business, with their thousands -- sometimes millions -- of followers, influencing the purchases these followers make.

Because influencers are not necessarily Hollywood celebrities with millions of followers and dollars, Gen Z feels they can relate with these real people and aspire to be them. The easiest way to accomplish this is to use the products they use. A good influencer will not make it feel like an advertisement, instead, they will create something more like a sneak peek.

3. If it’s not fast, it’s broken.

Ask a Gen Z what DSL is and you might get a blank stare in return. Devices continue to evolve into faster machines and the minds of Gen Zers are moving just as fast. If a page takes more than a few second to load, chances are that the young viewer has moved on to something else.

Millennial business owners are creating new products and adapting old ones to make them faster and more attractive to younger audiences. It's not just about how you are marketing to the younger generation, it is about creating a product and brand that they can love and grow with.

Many businesses are still targeting youth by promoting their products on mediums that don’t even reach this audience. Marketers who treat their audience like they still have the values they did in the 90s and early 2000s, will do little more than waste money and ideas.

Related: The Next Generation of Entrepreneurs Are Amazing. Let's Support Them!

Millennials grew up when the internet and its related technologies were beginning to boom, so they have a profound understanding of it. They know the appeal of the digital age to Gen Z, and they know how to quickly adapt their efforts to reach this growing generation.

In order to reach a younger generation, you need to think like one. One of the best ways to do this is to employ some of these methods that have been successfully adopted by millennial marketers.

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