Marketing to Millennials and Gen Z: Our Favorite Tips
Marketing to Millennials (born roughly between 1985-1995) and Gen Z (born roughly between 1995-present) is a hot topic, but we’d like to dive into a few more actionable ways to successfully get your message across and boost sales to these groups. You can read more about other ways in our previous blog here.
Background and Values: Millennials
Although we’d like to steer clear of stereotypes and the now-ubiquitous “Millennials are killing x industry”, “young people have such short attention spans”, and the general “kids these days” mentality, there are some undeniable differences between the younger and older generations. Let’s embrace them! (Disclaimer: I am a Millennial, but I hope you don’t hold it against me).
Younger generations are, for the most part, the most educated generation. They value diversity, achievement, confidence, the value of inner beauty, the ease of technology, and their social and civic values. They have come of age in knowing they will likely not do as well financially as their parents, and they have seen numerous political scandals and have a general distrust of authority figures.
The world is more open and accessible than ever before, yet at the same time, terrorist attacks and school shootings have shown them a world where things, people, and organizations can’t be trusted. The internet has become integral to their way of life, and smartphones and their power to check reviews, follow celebrities and find inspiration are taken for granted by them but can make a big difference for a brand.
Appealing to the Marketing Values of the Millennial and Gen Z Markets
Be Authentic and Transparent.
Given that trust is an issue both in society but also the old-school marketing ploys, aim for authenticity in every aspect of your product. Consumers want to know what is in a product, so if you need to educate them about an ingredient that might “sound scary”, consider making a short video explaining what it is, what it does, and why it was used. Don’t forget they can find answers elsewhere on the internet, so you might as well make it easy for them.
If possible, show them how something is made, where you source ingredients from or anything else that you yourself would want to know about a product. Leaving something to hide typically creates a bigger headache down the road.
Embrace Excellent Design.
Because the beauty market is saturated, you’ll need beautiful packaging and design on your social media and website to stand out to younger consumers. You don’t have to replicate the most on-trend looks like blush pink backgrounds with a few elegantly scattered ingredients (although we do like this look!), but the takeaway of clean and colorful design that portrays a strong brand aesthetic can go a long way.
Highlight Values of Sustainability and Social Consciousness.
More and more brands are embracing a “cause”, for example, Tom’s, the shoe and clothing company, donates one pair of shoes to someone in need for every pair bought. With so much choice and the greater understanding of global and environmental concerns, Millennials and Gen Z’ers need their purchases to do double duty.
For example, Essential regularly donates to environmental organizations like One Tree Planted or Sea Grass Grow to both adhere to our own values, but also those of our customers. Find a cause you (and the younger generations) support, and market to these Millennials and Gen Z’ers so they know you do it and they may increase their loyalty to you.
As beauty is seen more and more as coming from within, fast-growing brands are making sure to create products that can be used by all types of people. Not only do their range of products address varying needs, but marketing and advertising should also show diverse people. Without a range of skin tones, hair textures, and body shapes, a brand feels more and more left in the past. Don’t force it, but understand this diversity has real value for younger consumers.
Actionable Ways to Boost Your Marketing to Millennials and Gen Z’ers
- When targeting younger audiences, embrace social media to beautifully show off your product and the lifestyle you think it embodies. Hire a younger designer or photographer to create an array of images for you—after all, they are consuming this media every day. Although Facebook has somewhat faded for this younger group, Instagram may be the easiest way to reach a large and young audience. Otherwise, SnapChat may be a good option if you devote time to curating it.
- Build social trust by securing reviews. Consider sending free samples to influencers (more on that here) asking for a review—most young consumers will instinctively check online from multiple sources to ensure a certain product is worthwhile. In addition, there are apps like Mira that collate reviews and present you with YouTube videos hosted by people with your same skin type, skin tone, or hair color. Reviews mean a huge amount, so be sure to secure them whenever possible.
- Brick and Mortar and trying products in person is still king. According to Beauty Store Business magazine, 67% of Gen Z’ers prefer buying beauty products in-store rather than online. As with most beauty products, the feel of a lotion or cream or makeup on your skin is key. So if you can’t set up an in-store experience or market stall, make sure that your samples are easy to get via your website.
- With so many options and distractions available, it’s crucial to get your point across quickly. This means images and (limited) text that quickly demonstrate what your product does and who it’s for. Create “stories” on Instagram and SnapChat that are just a few seconds long, but consider showing a variety of people using the product. This quickly indicates how to use it, any before and after images, and shows it’s suitable for all skin types or tones, etc.
- Social media is huge with younger generations, so tap into the urge to show a beautiful lifestyle with great events for your own brand. If you have a brick and mortar, consider mini photobooths, or Insta Walls, where guests can come snap selfies or polaroids against your custom backdrop with your products and some on-brand props. For example, if you were to sell the Mango Beach Pack or Virgin Coconut Sugar Scrub, having a beach-themed backdrop with a parasol and sunglasses along with your products creates a great photo opportunity for posting online.
Long story short, meet your customers where they are and engage them with what they care about. Beauty inside and out, trusting their peers, fast information, and products with a greater cause behind them. We’d love to hear what works for you, and whether addressing different age groups has been a challenge for your business.