Why marketing to Gen Z is exactly the same as marketing to your Grandma

Written by Ed Layt, Marketing Strategist, SMRS

Before I get started, I just need to correct that headline. It may have worked to get you reading this far but it is fundamentally flawed. It should read ‘Why your marketing approach to Gen Z segments should be exactly the same for Gen X and Baby Boomer segments’. But that wasn’t quite as snappy.


Now let me explain what I mean by the headline, and why the correction. 

I’m an older millennial. And I’ve been working in Marketing to youth audiences for well over a decade. That means that when I started, I was marketing to my peers. In those early days, my first-hand knowledge of the audience put me in good stead to talk their language, empathise and understand their needs. At least that’s what I thought.

16 years on and the differences between me and my target youth market are stark to say the least. But what has become more apparent, is that they always were. I was nothing like a huge number of my peers when I was in my late teens. Sure, I was like some of them, but my background, likes/dislikes, aspirations and political views were not identical to everyone else. 

From a marketing perspective, I was part of a segment consisting of other people who were similar to me, but there were a number of other segments that were distinctly different too. Hence my corrected headline. Being able to segment your audiences accurately is a requirement of any successful marketing campaign. Why? Because it lets you communicate with a group of people in a way that will be meaningful to them. Whether it’s orientated towards speaking to a 17-year-old or 70-year-old - the same strategic marketing approach should be applied.  


So how do you do this?

There are a number of ways to approach segmentation, be it through geographic, demographic, behavioural or psychographic analysis. And all of these approaches will help you gain a more complete understanding of your audience and put you in a better position than not applying any segmentation. At SMRS we use a combination of approaches, and we are excited to share our experiences at YMS LDN 2018. With a bit of help from some of our university clients we will show how segmentation has enabled us to deliver innovative, personalised communications - that work.

So, when we all meet at YMS LDN 2018 and you’re looking to make the most of the innovative tactics and insights you discover, remember a good solid understanding and segmentation of your millennial and Gen Z audiences will enable you to deliver more persuasive and impactful marketing communications.


Join us in the Higher Education Stream on Tuesday 21 March or the Higher Education Masterclass on Thursday 22nd March. Or click here to find out more.