Welcome one and all to the middle child of a generational divide: the Zillenial. As a civilization, we are constantly and consistently seeking out ways to define ourselves. Many turn to the Myers-Briggs test or even Buzzfeed quizzes to box them into a category. It instills a sense of belonging – being a part of a tribe as such. The same applies to the generational war that currently exists within the digital space. From the long debated side part to the middle part or even the skinny jeans vs. boot cut, the war between Millenials (1981 to 1996) and Gen-Z (1997 to 2012) has been long-standing with many a social media war waged. But where then does the self-proclaimed Zillenial sit?
Nesting comfortably (or uncomfortably?) between the two generations, the Zillenial is the quintessential middle child of the Gen Y & Z family. This no man’s land between the internet’s two dominant generations, grew up during the crossover from analog to digital. Zillennials are a product of a changing world, experiencing old and new in quick succession. To further define them; Zillenials are not quite as defined as Gen Zs and Millenials. That said, we can roughly place Zillennial birthdays sometime between 1994 and 2001. That means that as of 2022, the youngest is 21 years old, while the oldest is 28. Many are already taking those first steps into the world of work – now largely inhabited by Millenials. But they’ve still got one foot in the ironic-humored, digital world of Gen Z. They can relate to both generations, without feeling fully immersed in either. So how then does one market to them? You create the ultimate Gen-Z-Millenial marketing cocktail!
- Establish Clear Values & Mission
Before marketing to Zillenials, your brand needs to have its values and mission established. But why does this matter? This group is much more inclined to vote with their dollars, and believe a brand’s values are a reflection of their own
Some topics that matter include:
- Diversity: 60% say increasing racial and ethnic diversity is good for society
- Social responsibility: 70% try to purchase from companies they consider ethical
They are 3x more likely than older generations to believe a company has a role in improving society.
- Be Transparent & Accountable – Don’t Greenwash & Don’t be Performative
Making sure you’re open and accepting responsibility for any shortcomings is the next step in your marketing approach. Young people today have no reservations about conducting research. They’ll delve deep into a company’s website, peruse its social media pages, and study customer feedback.
When deciding which brands to favor, brand trust comes in second only to price. Brands will falter because they have not adhered to the principles they have been communicating,
For this sub-gen, company culture is important, and your brand should uphold the same ideals both internally and internationally. Casting and collaborating with various producers and influencers is insufficient. It must be woven into the very foundation of the brand.
- Establish Your Brand’s Personality
It’s crucial to keep in mind that both personality types are effective if you want to interact and connect with the Zillennial market! It works just as well to have a strong voice and personality as it does to follow the millennial aesthetic of flawlessly curated content with clean and minimal visuals. Make a splash without fear!
Brands can be fun, and self-aware all at the same time! Exciting transformations and catchy music make it big on Tiktok and sardonic humor stands out on Twitter! Know what works for you and run with it!
The Crocs and KFC partnership is a perfect example of a wacky idea that was delivered. Love it or hate it, what they’ve done effectively is capitalize on the irony that Zillennials find appealing, particularly in a world where there is so much unpredictability and upheaval.
- Be Entertaining
Zillenials are remarkably adept at content filtering. You have roughly 8 seconds to explain to someone why they should pay attention before they go on because they have a limited attention span.
And the most effective approach to getting their attention is to impress them!
Fenty Beauty, a cosmetics company, has accomplished this with both its TikTok and Instagram Reels content. Fenty Beauty highlights its products in an approachable manner by producing entertaining and brief tutorials that feature diverse producers and influencers in the beauty industry.
- Build A Community
Your Zillenial marketing approach must incorporate the development of an online ecosystem. Zillenials are the most lonely generation, according to polls, thus they are actively looking for methods to interact and bond with like-minded people.
Authentic engagement and discourse can be facilitated by brands, but this extends beyond collaborating with super-influencers. The solution? Look for actual people who exemplify the principles of your brand and have engaging channels.
Find people you think can function as ambassadors and use their networks in a way that feels less commercial and more genuine. They may be creatives, artists, opinion leaders, or activists. Another strategy to create a community is to either ask Zillenials for suggestions and input when creating new products or to recognize long-term brand advocates.
Zillennials may be a small age group; in comparison to Gen Z’s 14 and Millennials’ 15, five is a comparatively small portion. Zillennials are a vivid illustration of how much can change in five years and what it’s like to grow up in a transitional period. Nevertheless, one should not underestimate them.