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Key Marketing Differences Between Millennials and Gen Z

Last updated on: 2018


Born in the great year of 1993, I’m a proud millennial. I still remember the sound of my dial-up internet connecting to the outside world. In the sense of technology, it was a slower time. Smart phones weren’t around; if you wanted to hang out with a friend, you would call them on their landline and hope that they were home. In comparison, Gen Z was born into a faster, more digital age.

Why is it important to know the differences between Millennials and Gen Z?

In order to better service my clients, I need fully understand how their consumers make purchasing decisions.

Millennials tend to be brand loyal, meaning we get brand recommendations from those close to us that we trust, see if we like it and stick with it. (I still use the same Tide laundry detergent because that’s what my mom used in the early 90s. It worked for her, and it works for me.) The Gen Z population, however, takes a different approach and makes it a point to not be defined by a brand. When marketing to Gen Z, it is important to cater to this and focus on their individuality and celebrating their authentic selves.

Values Vary Between Generations

While everyone loves finding a brand that aligns with their values, millennials are more likely to purchase from a brand that gives back to the environment. For example, brands such as Patagonia make giving back a corporate responsibility. They aren’t the only ones, though; PuraVida has broken into the market and is recognized for their charity work. “Giving back has always been core belief at Pura Vida, which is why we started the Charity Collection. Since the beginning, we have partnered with over 174 different charities around the world and have donated more than $1,440,822 to causes we believe in. At Pura Vida, we dream to do more, which is why we’re always on the lookout for new charities that can benefit from this collection.”

Generations Trust Different People for Product Recommendations

When looking for a product to try, millennials tend to trust the opinion of family and friends. For instance, when looking to purchase clothing, I like to see what stores my close friends are buying theirs from. When choosing cleaning supplies, I typically go to family members because I know that they have personally tried the product or brand and I can get an honest review. In contrast, Gen Z trusts the opinions of established individuals known as “influencers.” Gen Z trusts influencers’ opinions as honest and believe that they promote only brands that they personally use. (Though the content that these influencers create can be an ad, they are now required to put up a visible disclaimer for their audience to add a level of transparency.) It is important to keep these qualities in mind when determining how to successfully market to your target audience.

What are other values that vary between generations that you think affect their purchasing behavior? Let us know in the comments below!

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Madison is a Digital Account Manager at Taylor & Pond. If she's not at her desk, you can find her at the local Starbucks fueling up on espresso shots.