Like Millennial marketing or Boomer marketing, Zillenial marketing is a generational advertising tool that can be extremely beneficial to businesses but is being overlooked. Marketing and advertising approaches have changed drastically in order to fit the needs of each generation. Each generation responds differently to certain marketing practices. So depending on the dominant generation, such practices need to be adjusted.
For the Boomers and Gen X, traditional mailers and TV commercials were effective. For Millennials, generic social media advertisements worked. But now, a new generation is being introduced to the market that will come to be a powerful consuming force. These are the Zillenials. This article will help you understand a bit more about this specific, yet important consumer group, and how to more effectively involve them in your marketing efforts.
The Millennial-Gen Z Cusp
Zillenials are a generational group that find themselves in an odd place between two generational groups: Millennials and Gen Z. For the sake of context, Millennials are considered to have been born between the years 1981 to 1996. Those from Gen Z are considered to have been born between 1997 to 2012. The great division between these two groups is the technological and internet boom that began in the 90s and continued on through the 00s. Put simply, Millennials knew life before major technology (no internet or smartphones), while Gen Z only knew life with major technology.
There are those, however, that fall right in between these two groups that experienced life both with and without technology. They fall right on that Millennial-Gen Z cusp, the years 1993 to 1998. These people often feel like they have characteristics that fit into both generational groups, but at the same time don’t feel like they completely fit into either one. This is the Zillenial generation. They consider themselves too young to be Millennials and too old to be Gen Z. This generation contains those who were born before the rise of the DVD player and can remember watching VHS tapes when they were young. They may not quite remember a time without the internet, but they surely remember a time before wifi. They may be old enough to remember 9/11, but just young enough to not quite realize its significance.
Why Pay Attention to Zillenials
You may be asking, why does any of this matter? If you keep up with generational marketing at all, you should know that it matters a lot. This group, in many projections, is expected to represent up to nearly half of consumers in the future. Zillenial marketing is worth the investment for this reason alone! Because they have experienced both digital and non-digital worlds, they have perspectives that no one else has. Indeed, this is a group that cannot be overlooked, because they are sure to have a dramatic impact on markets. This is the generation that you need to start investing your time and attention into. They need to be your next target audience.
Identifying and Understanding the Zillenial Generation
Zillenials are an untapped marketing goldmine. If businesses don’t prepare now for their market takeover, they will miss a great opportunity. However, as it is well known in marketing, you have to know your customer before you sell to them. This is especially important with this generation. Here are a few identifying characteristics of Zillenials that will aid in your Zillenial marketing efforts:
Social Media is Their Lifeblood
Growing up alongside the technological revolution also came with a creation of accounts on almost every social media platform. Each generation tends to favor a certain platform. Boomers stick to Facebook, Millennials cling to YouTube and a bit of Instagram or Twitter, while Gen Z dominates SnapChat and TikTok. A Zillenial will have made an account (and likely regularly posted on it at some point) on each one. They are experienced in the workings of social media for the social aspects, but for the consumer side as well.
They are the Tech-Savvies
A person born between 1993 and 1998 will likely have used, if not owned, nearly every tech gadget out there. This generation used it all. They used flip phones, sliding phones with QWERTY keyboards, witnessed the launch of the first iPhone, and are now working at Apple and Samsung developing smartphone software. They started out with dial-up internet on old chunky Macs and Dell computers, and are now using the latest MacBook Air. Their learning years happened to be the years when technology was getting through its beginning stages. Thus, it turned this generation into people who grew up learning how to solve tech and software issues.
They Value Authenticity and Experience
This generation, largely due to the fact that they have grown up in a world that is adapting to globalization and technology, value authenticity and experience. What this means is that this generation has seen the effects of many spurious business practices. This has also led them to be less trusting of the internet than their younger generational friends, Gen Z. In addition, most of their consumer habits lean toward experience rather than status or even practicality. They are after adventure, knowledge, and a good time. This is crucial to remember in your Zillenial marketing campaigns.
How to Market to Zillenials
In most cases, marketing to this generational group is no different than marketing to any other. Follow basic marketing practices, and remember that they are still people. There are, however, some important points to be aware of as you look to capitalize on Zillenial marketing. Keep in mind a key marketing concept: know your customer before you sell to them. Pair the following suggestions with that concept, and the characteristics mentioned previously, to get you started.
Focus on Social Media
Most interactions for this generation, both socially and professionally, is done through social media. Generic marketing through TV, mail-outs, and radio simply will not reach them. Start by brushing up on the basics of social media marketing and creating a social media page for your business. You will likely be most successful through Instagram marketing.
Invest In and Produce Audio-Visual Content
These people grew up with forms of visual entertainment everywhere, from VHS, DVDs, cable, gaming consoles, and now smartphones. To catch their attention and hold it, you will need to create content that is visually pleasing. Consider hiring a videographer or going through an agency. Or if you prefer, you can research on your own and make videos for platforms like Instagram yourself.
There is nothing more infuriating to a Zillenial than a misleading product or business. If you are not transparent with your brand, you are sure to not only lose that generational customer but likely a lot of their friends. Because they surely talk, but they may voice their displeasure on social media as well. Plus, having a member of this group as an enemy of your business is not a great thing, especially if you have other skeletons in your closet. This is because they are natural researchers, and are sure to find out any shady business practices that may be going on. They appreciate the transparency and will be much more likely to purchase your product or service solely due to the transparency.
Carefully Select Voice and Tone
This group doesn’t take itself too seriously but is mature enough to hate clichés and cheesy advertising. If you are too formal, they may take this as a sign of insincerity and not even read your work. If you are too informal or cheesy, they won’t take your business seriously. It can be difficult to find the right tone and voice, but it is definitely worth the effort.
Make Personalization Your Top Priority
One of the reasons that mass marketing doesn’t work for Zillenial marketing is because it isn’t personal. They get so much junk mail, pop-ups, and advertisements, that it has become second nature to completely ignore them. So, in order for your ads to reach them, they have to be somewhat personal. This can be achieved in a variety of ways, such as behavioral targeting and marketing automation. However, social media influencers and affiliate marketers have proven very effective for this group.
Why You Need to Market to Zillenials
Zillenial marketing can’t be overlooked by businesses and corporations right now. This group will come to be a driving force in the market in the near future. If they are not given the attention that Millennials and Gen Z’s are, it will be a huge opportunity missed. They are the next target audience, and investing in marketing campaigns for them will be worth it. Overall, remember that many of the same marketing principles apply to them as to other groups. However, a few exceptions apply. Remember to focus on social media, audio-visual content, transparency, tone, and personalization. Also, remember that they value authenticity and experience over almost anything else.
- What is a Zillenial?
- How can I market to Zillenials?
- What is the Millennial-Gen Z cusp?
- How can I personalize my Zillenial marketing efforts?
- Why do Zillenials matter to marketers?
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