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Using Content Services to Tackle the Challenges of Gen-Z & Millennial Marketing

Is your brand equipped to speak effectively to two of the most important demographic groups around today? Millennials and Gen Z both wield an increasingly large amount of purchasing power as they age into and through adulthood. Unlike generations before them, though, these "digital natives" have some very strong opinions and highly choosy preferences—especially regarding advertising. Let's consider what difficulties we face communicating with these groups and explore how the content services you use could make a difference. 

The Challenges of Marketing to Millennials 

Millennials comprise the largest single demographic group in the United States, at roughly 22% of the population. We could fill volumes with all the headlines written about this group over the years. Despite many overblown claims of millennials "killing" industries, the reality is that this demographic simply approaches buying and prioritizes their purchases differently. What are some of the known challenges? 

Lifestyle and brand agreements are key 

A decade ago, marketers were already beginning to notice that millennials put a large amount of stock into social responsibility. In 2013, nearly two-thirds of millennials said they felt responsible for making a difference in the world. A staggering 90% said they would consider buying a product because of its association with a cause that was important to them. Even a decade later, these trends continue to hold true today. Capturing this audience requires, at least in part, demonstrating why buyers should trust your brand. 

Millennials are heavily multi-channel users 

Millennials consume media in an incredible number of ways—online and off. Multi-channel marketing is more important than ever, but inconsistency across channels can leave your brand feeling inauthentic and out of touch. Limiting your reach to only a few places, such as your website's blog, will constrain your strategy. 

Millennials love humor and crave learning 

Is your content boring millennials to death? If you aren't spicing up your copy and tapping into today's trends to offer something unique, you might be. In one study conducted by a real estate firm, nearly a third of millennials preferred content that offered something interesting and informative. Nearly half, or 44%, responded most strongly to humorous content. Are these elements missing in your work? 

How Gen Z Can Frustrate Marketers 

Behind the millennials is another group of digital natives: Gen Z. Growing up in the age of a mature internet and always-on connectivity has made this group another tough nut to crack for marketers. As this group continues to age towards a time when their purchasing power will be immense, marketers have noticed a few key facts. 

Authenticity matters 

Gen Z responds most strongly to marketing centered around "real" people—think Instagram influencers and TikTok stars. Imagine ads that depict real people enjoying products or using services, backed up by the social proof of a personal story or review to go with it. You can't be a disembodied brand voice anymore if you want to connect with Gen Z—you need to show the people behind the content and embrace authenticity. 

Fractured attention across platforms 

According to one study, Gen Zers have an even lower attention span than millennials, clocking only 8 seconds. Gen Z also used many different kinds of social media compared to millennials, with platforms such as Instagram and especially TikTok playing a major role. With 40% of Gen Z following humorous accounts and 34% following brands that interest them, there is a clear opportunity for crossover here—but getting their attention in the first place is challenging. You need short, punchy content to break through. 

Your values matter to buyers 

One survey estimated that two-thirds of Gen Z placed a high level of importance on "being true to one's values," which holds true in the expectations they place on brands today. Much like how millennials look for social responsibility, Gen Z looks for brands to actively engage in campaigns for sustainable action or social justice. Your content must communicate these values to be effective. 

Can Content Services Help You Reach These Groups? 

Developing an approach that appeals to your target demographics is easier said than done. Using the same approach for millennials and Gen Z is unlikely to yield effective results, but the alternative is potentially producing a large amount of content across channels. More than that, all that content needs to hew closely to what your targets expect regarding authenticity and responsibility. 

A consistent brand voice backed up by relevant and targeted content is the answer. Easier said than done? Maybe—but maybe not. It can be a challenge when you try to do it alone, but another path opens when you consider professional content creation. Together, you and a professional partner could drill down on how to develop messaging that has cross-generational appeal—and drives sales, too. 

Content services let you expand your company's capabilities without the need to staff out an entire marketing department in-house. Your agency partner can help you develop strategy, conduct audience research, build new personas, and ultimately deploy content that makes a difference for your bottom line. Muttering "kids these days" might be cathartic—but engaging new audiences with strongly relevant branding has many more potential rewards in store.