Millennials (current 21-40ish year olds) and Generation Z (those who are currently under age 21) have significant buying power. Combine that with the fact that they are the first two generations to grow up with the internet and technology as a significant part of their lives, and proper target is even more crucial for businesses.

Here are some strategies that appeal to these age groups that can help you not only get their business, but help build connections that are long lasting.

Be Relevant But Don’t Try Too Hard

There’s a difference between trying to catch the meme or pop culture way to become more visible to your audience, and fitting in so seamlessly that it just works. When a company tries to use a slang term, they need to make sure it works when they say it. Examples of when it’s not used correctly can be seen in the @BrandsSayingBae Twitter account, which posts cringe-worthy examples of how bae (and other slang terms) isn’t used in a good way by brands.

If you need an example of a company that uses slang and social media correctly to target millennials and Gen Z, check out Taco Bell. They straddle the line perfectly between being funny and staying relevant without coming across as a try-hard, which is defined as:

A person who puts a large amount of effort into achieving a certain image, or counter-image, to the point where it is obviously contrived. Rather than achieving an image through genuine personality, the try-hard consciously attempts to fit a certain style through deliberate imitation, forced style, or scripted behavior. That is to say, he/she is trying hard to create an image.

I think that definition definitely applies for what I’m trying to say here as well.

Embrace Creativity

Sometimes I feel like big brands are trying too hard to not mess anything up. The problem with this strategy is that Millennials and Gen Z have fully embraced creativity and uniqueness, so marketing plans need to follow suite. There is always a way to embrace your company’s culture while staying in their guidelines.

If you think your content is too boring, Matt Secrist had a good post last year on Search Engine Journal that covered developing a strategy for content for “boring businesses.”

Utilize The Real-Time Trend of Communication

Consumers under 40 regularly use social media to ask for help from companies. This means that even if your company doesn’t want to be on Facebook or Twitter, chances are, your audience is going to those platforms to try to contact you. It is up to you to make sure you are not only on those platforms, but that you are active as well.

Your organization should be regularly posting about your products and content, useful articles, and also reaching out to customers who need help. This Under 40 audience will appreciate being heard on these real-time platforms.

Be Findable and Searchable

Just because users searching for you to get customer service or ask questions, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t go out of your way to make your company’s profiles as accessible as possible.

In order to increase the visibility of your online platforms, you can do the following:

  • Include hashtags for industry terms so you come up in searches by users for that term. (For example, I regularly include #marketing and #SEO in my applicable tweets.)
  • Push the same messages on all platforms. For example, if you have a new product, share photos of it on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
  • Make sure all your profile fields are filled out (the URLs, Mission Statement, About, etc.)

Embrace User-Generated Content (If You’re Prepared For It)

If you have a good marketing strategy already, but are looking for something to further engage Gen Zers and Millennials, consider a user-generated content campaign. Of course, with any UGC, there are trolls that will make it terrible, so it needs to be planned out (so things don’t go south). A good example of trolling is Lay’s ‘Do Us a Flavor’ campaign, where users used the bag image builder to create ridiculous flavors.

In order to plan, it’s important to make it easy, fun, AND moderated. UGC campaigns can be an endless fountain of great content, when done right.

When it comes to the Under 40 crowd, it’s important to be relevant without being too cheesy or fake. Respect your audience and cater to their interests without coming across as condescending, and you’ll create successful, engaging online platforms.

Kelsey Jones

Kelsey Jones

Founder/Chief Marketing Consultant at Six Stories
Kelsey Jones helps clients around the world grow their social media, content, and search marketing presence. She enjoys writing and consuming all kinds of content, both in digital and tattered paperback form.
Kelsey Jones
Kelsey Jones