A micro-generation born on the boundary of two millenniums
Zillennials are a micro-generation vaguely defined as people born between around 1993 and 1998. Also, 1999, and 2000, and 2001. The definition is quite vague and the term itself isn’t widely used. But don’t let yourself slip into thinking that makes it unimportant or insignificant.
In fact, some estimates claim that Zillennials are going to represent over 40% of mass-market consumers in the near future. That’s no wonder given that most of them have already graduated from college and some are even starting to have families. They’re also the largest generation to ever live in a free world, enjoy the conveniences of globalization and the accessibility of personalized services.
What makes this micro-generation so unique is the fact that it simultaneously does and doesn’t relate to either end of the generational spectrum. To put it bluntly, Zillennials are too young to relate to most Millennials on both cultural and social levels and too old to fully relate to Gen-Z and their fascinating – to say the least – TikTok identity.
Internet defined Millennials, the tech progress defined Zillennials
Both Millennials and Zillennials as well as Gen-Zs have encountered the technological revolution of the ’00s and ’10s. Yet by the time Facebook introduced the world to social media advertising in 2007, many of the former had already graduated from college and many of the latter were still in the womb. And this – at first, insignificant – fact makes a whole lot of a difference.
While many Millennials were already late in certain respects, and Gen-Zs were simply too young (or did not even exist), Zillennials became the generation that grew up alongside the tech revolution. They weren’t exactly born into technology, but they’ve never witnessed the world completely without the Internet either. And that’s greatly shaped their realization of the power they have when using the web – it’s not alien to them, but it’s also never been a given from the moment they were born.
Relying solely on demo- & psychographics doesn’t work in Zillennial marketing
Surprisingly, many businesses seem to not realize the enormous Zillennial marketing opportunity that’s available to them right at this very moment. It’s extremely important to understand what makes Zillennials unique and how to reach this audience effectively without missing it altogether.
Generally speaking, Zillennials tend to value experience over status and authenticity over spuriousness – the two major characteristics that make them see the world differently from their older and younger counterparts. In theory, this works perfectly fine.
In reality, however, being born on the generational boundary means Zillennials can relate to both generations equally well. Yet they aren’t entrenched within either of them to say they’re part of it. And that’s exactly what makes it so easy for marketers to miss this massive demographic.
Zillennial marketing: Tips for destination brands & ONE BONUS TIP
Here are the top 6 tips on how to engage in Zillennial marketing for destination brands:
BE AUTHENTIC AND TRANSPARENT about what your brand is and what it does. Be open about the challenges your business may be experiencing and empathetic with unpleasant reviews and press (if any). And, you must show your audience that you’re actively listening and constantly improving.
BE SUSTAINABLE AND RESPONSIBLE in everything you do. Zillennials care a lot about the environment, sustainable sourcing, fair wage and fair employee treatment. Demonstrate this in your marketing materials, both organic and paid. It’ll be worth it.
BE ACCESSIBLE AND REACHABLE at all times. There’s nothing Zillennials value more than direct connection with brands online. Be there for them. Regardless of the day of the week and time of the day.
CHOOSE YOUR VOICE AND TONE WISELY. Don’t be overly technical and formal – Zillennials are still young and playful at heart. Don’t be overly cheesy either – Zillennials are becoming mature adults and want to be treated like it, so your brand voice should align to this.
SHOW YOUR SOCIAL STANCE AND EQUITABLE APPROACH TO BUSINESS. What really defines Zillennials is their understanding that equality doesn’t always work. It’s equity that really makes the difference in the world. Show your social position and justice, lead with your example. You’ll be appreciated for that.
PRODUCE AUDIO-VISUAL-HEAVY CONTENT. Most Zillennials grew up in an immensely visual world. They appreciate beautiful imagery and professionally narrated content. Invest in your videography efforts. A picture can paint a thousand words. A video can tell a million more.
BONUS TIP: There’s really nothing you can hide from Zillennials. Unlike many Millennials, they are increasingly tech-savvy and know that search can expand far beyond the first page of Google. At the same time, unlike Gen-Zs, Zillennials are generally less trusting of the Internet and tend to double-check the information sources more often.
Conclusion: Future proof your marketing
Successful Zillennial marketing is all about understanding the motives behind the actions taken or words spoken, even if those are 100% online. This means relying on data and user behaviour patterns as opposed to classic demo- and psychographics. The age alone doesn’t define the user. The generally accepted generational traits can’t represent the diversity of norms, values and opinions that are developed over the span of 20+ years.
It’s important to dive deep in search of the WHY Zillennials are the way they are, WHAT made them see the world differently, HOW has their upbringing affected their views on brands and marketing, IN WHAT WAY has the Internet shaped their resilience to advertising, and WHEN will they become your biggest and richest target audience. All of these questions are designed to pursue a much bigger goal than just understanding how to target efficiently.
In the end, Zillennial marketing is the matter of when, not if, and Zillennials are here with us for a long ride.