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Marketing to millennials and Generation Z: things are changing

By Wesley Mathew, Head of marketing



The Drum Network article

This content is produced by The Drum Network, a paid-for membership club for CEOs and their agencies who want to share their expertise and grow their business.

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January 24, 2020 | 5 min read

Understanding millennials has long been viewed as the be all and end all of tapping in youth markets, globally. After all, they account for a major portion of the world’s spending power at a projected £1.66+ trillion, in 2020.


As a clearly defined segment, they’ve also ushered in an entirely new way of thinking about how to share information, rent spaces and get around - and are fondly dubbed the 'Uber and AirBnB generation'. In many ways, they have been pioneers, ushering in a new age of digital application that has forced companies to embrace innovative thinking, psychographic analysis and trend research. Millennials often guide online conversations and have significantly impacted societal norms, with increased liberalism and inclusivity.

The extensive research into creating millennial personas has offered marketers a clear sense of direction in terms of messaging and strategising new campaigns. While it’s unhelpful to paint an entire segment with one brush, there were aspects of millennial personas that were defined, fairly typically.

Millennial fact sheet

17+ million millennials in the UK

Spirited Entrepreneurs


Socially Conscious

Optimistic Realists


Preoccupied with Technology

More likely to criticise themselves than Gen-Z or Boomers

Civic Minded

Biggest most Diverse Segment

Global Mindset


Despite negative stereotypes that millennials were lazy, entitled, obsessed with avos and completely engulfed by their phones, they’ve become one of the most interesting and diverse segments on the marketing map, also ushering in a new era of mental and physical health and wellbeing, adopted, to an extent, by Generation Z.

Marketers thought they knew everything there was to know about this important segment with increasingly substantial buying power. But, as with any demographic, there wasn’t a one-size-fits-all truth, which meant sub-segmenting and experimentation. Worse, just as we started to get our heads around who was what and what was who, millennials grew up.

Today marketers must acknowledge their:

  • Changing interests
  • Career development
  • Evolving needs and interests
  • Increased buying power
  • Desire for access, not ownership

Millennials are changing and growing older, so we need to adapt our products, services and campaigns accordingly, if we are to compete in this segment, while a new generation starts to require equal attention.

Enter generation Z...

Generation Z (post-millennial youth, born between 1995 and 2015) is a whole new complex generation of Tik-Tok fanatics, embracing Fortnite and VSCO culture, who are generally unaware of a time when the internet didn’t exist. Millennials have nothing on Generation Z in terms of screen-time, and this dynamic and liberal group also tend to enjoy generating their own content. They buy into nostalgia marketing, in a way that’s somewhat paradoxical. After all, Gen Z weren’t old enough to fully experience 90s culture. And yet, they’ve brought it back in a big way - embracing everything from 90s fashion and music to idolising icons from that period.

Generation Z fact sheet

Authenticity as a Value

Obscure humour


Content Producers & Consumers

Financially Focused


Prefer Independence



Cool products over cool experiences

Desire to Co-Create Culture

Respond to Edgy Campaigns

These are major content consumers, spending approximately three hours online a day, meaning they’re most likely to be listening to what your brand is saying o digital channels. Smartphone usage and access is also extremely high, with most of the world’s Gen Z population owning a personal cellular device, even in developing countries. So, how do we make sure we’re reaching them in a relevant way, where they are?

Get ready to tap into the world’s largest combined market and to understand how the UK’s younger generations are paving the way for a new world of digital engagement.

Marketing to millennials and Gen-Z webinar

Meltwater is partnering with Bumble’s former vice president of international marketing, Louise Alexandra Troen, to bring you an informative and interactive webinar on marketing to millennials and Gen Z. Join them on Friday, 31 January from 11 am to 12 pm (GMT) by saving your seat here. You’ll have the opportunity to take part in an interactive question and answer session with Louise and can also access the webinar after the event.

Wesley Mathew, head of marketing UKI and India, Meltwater


Content by The Drum Network member:


Meltwater is a software as a service company that develops and markets media monitoring and business intelligence software.  

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