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In order to properly attract and sell to these younger consumers, you will need to adapt strategies to better match them. Here’s some tips to get you started.
Be Truthful, They Will Fact Check You
Millennials and Generation Z have an uncanny ability to spot a scam. They’ve been raised by parents who have fallen prey a few times and are consistently being warned to distrust any “too good to be true” deal. They grew up hearing about every internet scam in the book, from Nigerian princes to those flashy “win a free iPod” ads.
On top of all that, we are now in the “fake news” era. It’s such a big deal that one of the top concerns for parents today, (which now includes millennials and soon to include Generation Z) is that their kids are being influenced by fake news on social media networks. They don’t want their children to get incorrect beliefs from some fake news site, especially during their impressionable years.
So, as part of this fear and distrust, younger consumers do their research when shopping. They’ll spend extra time and effort just to make sure they aren’t scammed. They’ll comparison shop to make sure they are getting the best deal they can. That means when you make a claim about your product, they’ll make sure you are being truthful. These generations grew up with the ability to Google, and they know how to fact check. They’ll compare you to competitors, look up reviews, and check out your company’s reputation.
If your marketing is at all misleading, false, or confusing, expect younger consumers to ignore your company and go to greener pastures.
Pricing Plays a Key Part
Younger generations are much more concerned with pricing than those of their parents. Older consumers often shop and buy their favorite brands, while younger consumers are willing to abandon popular or name brands for a lower cost. If there is no key differences between competing products, they’ll always go for the lower price.
The only exception is when it comes to major purchases. Younger generations are willing to shell out for a bigger price tag on expensive items they desperately want, including new smartphones, computers, gaming consoles, and other key parts of their lives. If the product or service becomes a key part of their life (look at Netflix or smartphones) they won’t back away from a larger price.
Don’t Use Memes or Gifs, Unless It Matches Your Brand
There is article after article online that say “use memes and gifs if you want to market with millennials.” It makes sense on a basic level, because millennials and Gen Z use memes and gifs quite commonly. But before you jump into Photoshop and start putting some white text on a photo, take a moment and ask yourself:
Does this match our brand?
Nothing is more jarring than a company randomly sharing a meme in hopes to connect with younger consumers. It’s like your sweet old Grandma randomly singing an Eminem song. You understand they are trying to be cool and relatable, but it feels forced. You’d much rather just talk to your Grandma like normal and enjoy her company.
If your brand doesn’t mesh naturally with memes and internet humor, that’s fine. There are tons of other ways to interact with millennials and Gen Z. They aren’t a one sided picture that only cares about internet culture, they are informed consumers. Create content, especially on blogs and social media, that is valuable to that side of them.
Now, some brands do work well with gifs, memes and internet humor as a whole. It’s because their branding as a whole relies on the internet culture. Businesses like Buzzfeed or Youtube grew alongside the internet and people associate them together.
If you want your business’ branding to eventually include memes, start slowly. A prime example of this was the Wendy’s sassy persona on Twitter. Slowly, Wendy’s began replying back to complaints with sarcasm and sass. Then, as it grew traction and attention, it went big and had it be a major part of their social media strategy for several months. If they had just went full ham on the sarcasm approach, it would have been off-putting, but that slow build up made it work.
Convenience is Huge
The world we live in now is a world of convenience. You can order a car to come pick you up at your home with an app, or have your groceries delivered to your home, watch nearly any show you want online, and more. The tech and sharing industries have made it possible to get exactly the product or service you want for an affordable price.
Younger generations don’t just appreciate convenience, they demand it. Offering things like home delivery and installation or a simplified buying process are ways to entice a younger market. If your product is too complicated or has a poor interface, younger customers will shop around for a different product.
If your product is easy to use, emphasize it in your marketing. Highlight what makes it easy to learn and use without making customers feel dumb for how simple it is.
Treat Them Like Rational Consumers
Especially if you belong to an older generation, millennials and Generation Z might seem like this strange enigma, but in reality they are a lot like you. It’s easy to think of them how the media portrays them: that they are addicted to technology, entitled, lazy, and don’t understand how the world works. But this is not the case. Yes, their life might be different from yours, but they are still people at the end of the day.
If you want to market to them, don’t condescend to them or play into the stereotype. Utilize their general preferences, like wanting truth and convenience from who they do business with, and they’ll be pretty accepting of you. Fail to do that, though, and you risk ostracizing the next generation of consumers and eventually going out of business. Treat them like you’re other target markets, learn what they want from you, and deliver it.
New Orleans, LA