People in 25-40 of age are millennials (born between 1981 – 1996) and those in the age group 9-24 are the Gen Z (born between 1997 – 2012). Sowmya Iyer from DViO Digital explains the fundamental differences in Gen Z v/s Millennials and how marketing to both of them can be very different.
Marketing has evolved over time. There has been a huge shift in the way generations perceive and consume things today. A lot has changed from the traditional world to today’s digital world and from a traditional marketing era to a social media marketing era. The pandemic has given a larger fillip to digital adoption than ever before and the way we consume knowledge to make purchase decisions has undergone a seismic shift. It is imperative for marketers to understand the target group before crafting a campaign for their audience - especially the Gen Z v/s Millennials sect.
At times, marketers also misinterpret Gen Z and Millennials to be from the same group. However, both are quite distinct groups and marketers need to be mindful of their marketing strategies and campaigns when directed to both these generations.
Audience segmentation and the psychology of marketing play an important role for marketers. Hence, it is important to know consumer behavior and audience perspectives before designing a campaign to gauge and interpret efficiency and efficacy.
The Generation Gap
People in the age group 25-40 are millennials (1981 – 1996) and people in the age group 9-24 are the Gen Z (1997 – 2012).
Millennials grew up during the non-digital era and had limited knowledge about technology. Whereas, Gen Z grew up in a technological world and is more tech-savvy than their counterparts. They are more connected with the global happenings and progress around the world. Millennials used DVD players, giant computers, and Gen Z grew in an innovative and immersive period of Alexa, Siri, and Smart Home technology.
Gen Z is socially conscious. This generation holds strong beliefs and is ethnically and racially diverse. They easily accept changes and can adapt to them. But, at the same time, they are quick at voicing their opinions and will express outrage against controversial campaigns. Millennials take time to unlearn and shift their choices. Hence, millennials tend to be more brand loyal than Gen Z.
Gen Z values sharing over ownership. This behavior difference between both generations has had a huge impact on many industries. For instance, the automotive industry must understand that Gen Z values sustainable concepts and would prefer carpooling over owning their first car.
The insight about a generation and the values they would want to adhere to must be highly considered by a marketer.
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Millennials are more concerned about their future and are wanting to have a stable career. Though they are old enough to make purchasing decisions, the purchasing power of millennials largely depends on the country’s economic status. In case of recession, the purchasing power of this generation is largely impacted. They are mindful of their spending and will make only necessary purchases during the year and festive season sales can play a large role in their shopping habits and choices.
Hence, festive season marketing campaigns created for millennials can yield great results. Also, millennials tend to be more brand loyal and loyalty programs work best for this generation.
On the other hand, Gen Z is more carefree and still exploring their choices. They are malleable with their brand choices but more concerned about the brand’s authenticity. This generation cares about the brand’s personality and tends to have a higher brand recall.
Also, marketers must understand that this (Gen z) generation is non-reliable and brand recall campaigns can create a direct impact on their shopping habits.
Gen Z is also quick and impulsive when it comes to making purchase decisions as compared to millennials, who will invest more time on research before making a purchase. Gen Z largely depends on their mobile phones and iPads. They are quick at making an online purchase or a payment with one click. Also, since this generation is still in the phase of making their career, their purchasing power is low. In this case, they depend on brands that offer more value-added services like free delivery, discount coupons, etc.
A marketer can easily lure a Gen Z customer into buying their product by using in-store impactful technology as they are highly tech-savvy.
Though both generations are active on social media, Gen Z consumes more content through social media platforms like Snapchat, Instagram, Tik Tok, etc. and millennials might spend more time on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter than the other platforms. Gen Z enjoys short-form video content and snippet content over documentaries or long articles, due to their poor concentration and focus as compared to the millennial generation.
Gen Z’s choices are more influenced by their peers, influencers, and current fads, and pop culture. They believe in a two-way communication approach. They love to communicate with influencers and brands online and participate in online quizzes and polls. Hence, influencer marketing and user-generated campaigns are more powerful tools for this generation.
Millennials come from the traditional days of reading newspapers and one-way communication channels. They prefer reading a detailed review about a product before making a purchase. They also rely heavily on word of mouth and value personalization to a great extent. Not to forget, they come from an era of email communication rather than an era of direct messages on Instagram. Though millennials are trying to adapt to the rapid changes and the way they interact with the brands, they are still distinct from their counterparts. Hence, marketers must understand their campaign objective and target group when working on a campaign.
Today, while a social media and mobile marketing campaign can be beneficial to engage with Gen Z, an omnichannel approach will be more reliable to attract millennials.