4 actionable insights for marketing to Millennials and Gen Z

Credit: Callum Shaw
Credit: Callum Shaw

Millennials and Gen Z have high expectations to make the world a better place.

Millennials and Gen Z are a force to be reckoned with. 

Not only does this generation have incredible global spending power — $4.4 trillion and growing, according to our research — but they’re stepping into their roles as the influential change makers and innovators the world needs. 

Together, millennials and Gen Zers use their creativity, empathy and digital prowess to progress the social causes that matter to them, and in doing so, help shape a better world.

For brands, an online presence serves as a direct lifeline to this critical audience. Here are four actionable insights for marketing to Millennials and Gen Z.

1. Share your brand’s origin story and what sets it apart.

Because they are curious and entrepreneurial themselves, Millennials and Gen Zers want to hear the origin stories of their favorite brands and the people behind them. Sharing how your company came to be — what sparked the inspiration to start a business, and the work put in to bring it to life — can win big points with this audience. Being open and honest about your brand can lead to lifelong loyalty. 

Almost half of millennials and Gen Zers like to learn the backstory of brands and products that they buy, according to our research. Plus, 46% agree that they like to wear clothes and accessories with the logos of brands they support, and 44% say wearing brand logos means they agree with what the brand stands for. 

There are a number of natural moments to share your business’s story authentically online. An ‘About’ page on your website is the perfect place to go deep, introduce the people behind the scenes and share your origins and what sets it apart from others. 

Your social feed can showcase your best work and invite your audience to see your day to day unfold in a way that feels less curated and more approachable. This can ensure your audience sees the entire picture and feels confident in supporting your business.

2. Show how you prioritize diversity and inclusivity — authentically.

Striving for diversity is not only essential to growing a successful business, but it’s key to connecting to millennials and Gen Z.

From how you advertise to who you hire, demonstrating efforts in diversity and inclusion is critical to fostering a relationship with these generations, which not only value diversity, but celebrate it and practice it in their everyday lives.

Similarly, they don’t tolerate one-size-fits-all. They want to be recognized, seen and heard for who they truly are. They want to express themselves in what they wear, where they shop and how they spend their time — both in real life and online. Seven out of 10 millennials and Gen Zers want their online image to represent the “real me,” according to our research.

Celebrate diversity and promote self-expression. Create ads that represent a diverse audience. Be transparent about your efforts to create a more inclusive space for employees and customers. This will help millennials and Gen Zers confirm their personal identities, and in turn, make them feel good about supporting your brand.

3. Spread positivity through kindness and joy.

Between external pressures to excel, expectations to change the world and the hard social, political and environmental realities they are living in, millennials and Gen Zers are stressed out. To recharge, they seek out moments of levity and have a strong desire to bring fun back into their lives. This is a key opportunity for brands to capitalize on. 

Incorporate humor and fun in your advertisements, spread kindness on social media and tell optimistic stories. Even with all the stressors in their lives, millennials and Gen Z are feeling more hopeful, happy and excited about the future. They are moving through life with determination, optimism and enthusiasm — and your business should be a part of it. 

4. Actively and openly support the causes you believe in.

Millennials and Gen Z are still forming brand preferences and deciding where their loyalties lie. They genuinely care about where their money is going and see brands as direct reflections of what they believe in. Nearly half of millennials and Gen Zers are less likely to buy from a brand that supports the opposite side on social issues that matter to them, according to our research.

Whether they’re furthering the social causes they care about, donating to charitable organizations or volunteering their time, millennials and Gen Z have high expectations to make the world a better place. They are active in their communities and believe in giving back. They even think the coolest people they know help make a difference in their community. Follow their lead by actively and openly standing behind the causes you support and have in common with them. 

From establishing environmental standards to offering paid time off to volunteer locally, no show of support is too small. By showcasing actions like these in your marketing materials or offering products or services that align with causes you believe in, you’re proving that, like them, your business is dedicated to making the world a better place.

Doug Frisbie is VP of Global Business Marketing at Snap.

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