…and here is another great guest article by 3 of my students that have something very interesting to say about marketing to generations YZ. Enjoy!

Anja Eva Keller Spa & Wellness Consulting

Marketing to Generations Y and Z

When it comes to marketing, no matter which field, you can’t deny the growing importance of understanding the characteristic differences between the two currently most important generations – Y and Z.

Who are Gen Y and Z

While generation Y (1980-1995) can be described as the generation “ME” by focusing highly on their work-life-balance, gen Z (1995-2010) is the generation seeking to impact and influence their environment. Gen Y is egoistical. Effort is put much more into an extrinsic lifestyle valuing money, image and fame. Intrinsic though is what one can easily associate with the social responsibility guiding the lifestyle and behaviour of Digital Natives (Gen Z). These behavioural and characteristic corner stones are what keeps marketers busy, inventing new ways of approaching young generations. 

generation Z - connected from birth

generation Z – connected from birth

What do marketers need for marketing to generations Y and Z?

So what is it that marketers need to consider when addressing campaigns and advertising to generations? As our findings showed, the consuming behaviour of Gen Y and Z is not only driven by their perception of how the world works for them, but also by the channels they use to share and consume experiences and info. 

Online nowadays has become THE tool to connect and interact with a new generation of consumers. Both generations have become highly interactive – both are great multitaskers. BUT the slight differences in channel usage is what makes marketing nowadays even more difficult. Social Shouting (Y) and Social Privacy (Z) have become the main attributes when talking about the generation’s online behaviour. Marketing to these generations will not be efficient unless companies understand the fact that online is not just online: Gen Y that had to grow into a world of technology perceives online as a place to be discovered, while for the tech-savvy Gen Z it has more and more become a tool to get things done. 



The use of different marketing channels

Each generation’s channel usage clearly shows the trend to a much higher level of social privacy than established in generation Z. 

The right channel to address the consumer is one part of successful marketing. But what about the factors that really drive these generations of consumers to adapt to a company’s values and to purchase their goods?

As Gen Y turned out to be the first generation that really got in touch with online devices, there has been a major shift in brand loyalty, caused by the transparency of the internet. Through their affinity towards online sources a huge amount of trust was placed into celebrity endorsement.

For example W Hotels using Instagram and celebrity synergy to create brand trust. They function as a source of credibility which again can increase loyalty. This marketing method emphasises consumptive advertisement preferred by the Millennials.

Generation Z on the other hand values the act of doing. They prefer themselves to be content creators of values advertised by their favourite companies. What is important to understand for the right message to be send, is that this generation, more than any other before, is community-centred. This means, that nowadays the audience has an audience, and companies even more have to be aware that the content they spread not only has to fit those consumers they target.

marketing to generations YZ

Case Study – how to involve the customer

A perfect example of how to involve the customer in the process of marketing offers LULULEMON. The manufacturer of technical athletic clothes made it its mission to become their customer’s life-coach and use the leverage of their audience having an audience. Therefore, two main strategies were chosen. On the one hand they follow a store-centric approach, creating communities to be their customers local partner and “friend”. On the other hand, they are highly focusing on social media bringing these communities to an online level where customers are enabled to create own content. The link between these strategies is what they name their so-called brand ambassadors. 

So to finish off we can say that the lines between generation Y and Z blur. But it is crucial that marketers understand the main behavioural characteristics. While the Millennials are more the kind of consuming generation that focuses on the “ME”, Gen Z defines themselves by the impact they make in their social communities seeking for brands that represent their lifestyle more than Gen Y does. The formula of successful marketing is the right combination of message, channel and understanding the customer’s psychographics.

About the authors

Luca Bitti is passionate about travelling, hospitality and the Italian lifestyle.

Christoph Kottkamp loves F&B, travelling and socializing. 

Kevin Schuck knows a lot about Street Food & BBQ culture and enjoys racing sports.


List of References

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  • Belson, G. e. (2014, november 19). Digital Democracy Value. Retrieved April 21, 2016, from http://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/us/Documents/technology-mediatelecommunications/us-tmt-DDS_Executive_Summary_Report_Final_2015-04-20.pdf 
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