5 Ways to Advertise Your Business to a Younger Demographic in 2021

You’ve heard it before: the only constant is change. It’s a new, constantly changing world out there. And now more than ever, young people are re-evaluating their values, their goals, and their loyalties.

That means that business owners need to re-evaluate not just their marketing strategies for a younger demographic but the very souls of their businesses. True digital natives, Generation Z (those born between 1997-2015) and, to a lesser extent, younger Millennials (those born between 1981 and 1997), while slightly different, is an incredibly sophisticated bunch who can usually spot a blatant sales campaign from a mile away. 

These younger groups expect a lot. And if you’re going to find success with them, you need to give a lot. But how? 

Read on for 5 tips to advertise your business to a younger demographic in 2021:

1. Make your values (and your mission) clear

Generation Z, even more so than Millennials, is an extremely racially and ethnically diverse group. In addition to being more likely to have college-educated parents and to be the children of immigrants, they see change at both the family and societal level as a good thing. They tend to be progressive with a capital “P” and outspoken about what they believe the world should look like.

What causes do you support? What are you doing to solve the problems and injustices that you see? In what precise ways do you want to help people and help the world? Make this clear, and you’ll be speaking their language from the start.

2. Expose yourself (for real)

If there’s any group used to doing their research before making a decision, it’s Generation Z. And even less than Millennials, they tend to have quite low confidence in companies in general. So if you say you’re all about natural health when you use ingredients suspected of causing cancer, they’ll find out. 

You get the idea. If you’re worried that your company has a less-than-stellar history, be honest about it. A humbled and genuine message saying, “we were wrong in the past, and this is what we’re doing to change it and stay accountable,” will go a long way.

3. Show some personality

With an appetite for less staged advertising than Millennials typically respond to, showing Gen Z ads that feature real people and real places will go much further than the polished, curated material of even the recent past. 

Remember, this is one of the most diverse generations yet, and, at least pre-pandemic, was on track to be one of the best-educated. Gen Z cares deeply about authenticity and individuality, and less than Millennials about specific brands. They’ve also grown up in a destabilized world where there seem to be no guarantees. This upbringing makes them ripe for an appreciation of the absurd and ironic. 

So don’t be afraid to show that side of your business or the people in it. If it’s real – even if it’s a little ridiculous – they’ll appreciate it.

4. Give them something interesting to watch or read

In 2018, 95% of teens could have access to a smartphone at least, and almost half of them said that they were almost constantly online. 

Just thinking about how much content they’ve seen since birth on cell phones, tablets, computers, and TVs can be dizzying. It means, as well, that they’ve been exposed to quite a bit of variety in their young lives and aren’t quite as easy to impress or mesmerize as older generations might be.

The truth is that if something doesn’t capture their attention within a few seconds, it’s done. So why hang around for something boring when there are millions of other, more exciting things to see? 

If you’re wondering how to do this, look at what’s on the most popular platforms they use: two of them are video platforms (TikTok and YouTube); two of them are photo and video platforms (Instagram and Snapchat). Then, figure out how to use compelling, authentic material in these mediums, and you’ll have cracked the code.

5. Bring them in

Growing up online isn’t all glamour. It’s a lot of loneliness.

Living through a pandemic has been triply-isolating. Gen Z and Millennials, just like the rest of us (and perhaps more so), long for real community. 

Already one of the loneliest generations, members of Gen Z especially crave real connection. If you can give them a true sense of community, you’ll go much further in reaching them than you might otherwise.

To advertise to younger people, you’ve got to play differently than you have before. Again, marketing has always been a game of moving targets. To truly reach this demographic, show authenticity, show compassion, and show that you’re here to make a difference

That means that business owners need to re-evaluate not just their marketing strategies for a younger demographic but the very souls of their businesses. True digital natives, Generation Z (those born between 1997-2015) and, to a lesser extent, younger Millennials (those born between 1981 and 1997), while slightly different, is an incredibly sophisticated bunch who can usually spot a blatant sales campaign from a mile away. 

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