What's in this article?

Why you should market to both millennials and Gen Z
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How is Gen Z marketing different from other generations?
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Marketing to millennials vs Gen Z
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Get our free 90-day mortgage marketing plan
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Generation Z’s changing attitudes and values 
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What’s important to millennials
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The 12 top marketing trends for 2023 
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Work with Kaleidico in 2023 — a lead generation and marketing agency 
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Did you know that millennials now make up 43% of current homebuyers?

No longer teenagers, millennials are now fully grown adults with careers, budding families, and aging parents that they’re all managing at once.

However, in terms of Internet usage and media consumption, millennials share many of the same online browsing habits as their younger siblings and cousins, Gen Z “Zoomers.”

In this article, we’re going to break down the differences between these often grouped-together demographics, as well as explain the emerging marketing trends that will continue to dominate in 2023.

With this article, you’ll have a better understanding of how to reach this important and often confused demographic in your next digital marketing campaigns. 

Let’s talk 2023 marketing strategies: Schedule a free discovery session today.

Why you should market to both millennials and Gen Z

Most millennials (Gen Y) are now in their mid-30s and are in the next stage of life, either creating their own families, looking to buy their first home, or looking for help in taking care of their aging baby boomer parents. 

The younger generation, Generation Z, is also coming of age into adulthood, entering or graduating from college and entering the workforce, with the most prosperous or lucky already looking to purchase a house.

Generation Z, or Zoomers as they’re known, are the digital natives of the world who spend more time looking at screens than any generation before them.

And millennials, well, they grew up side-by-side with the advent of the Internet, so they’re already familiar with the digital marketing trends that have evolved throughout the last 20 years, such as YouTube, Google, social media, memes, and every other Internet fad and platform that’s existed in its short history. 

Currently, millennials make up the majority of the United States population, with a population of roughly 72 million people, surpassing their parent’s generation (baby boomers) as the largest generational group, which they will likely keep for a while.

How is Gen Z marketing different from other generations?

Compared to every other generation, Zoomers will actively seek out video content first, before reading blogs, and looking to sites like YouTube, Instagram, or TikTok for entertainment or educational content. 

It didn’t take too long to mention TikTok when talking about Gen Z, unofficially known as the “TikTok Generation” because of their love of social media, memes, and their frequent use of short-form videos.

As you may have guessed, Zoomers spend the most amount of time looking at their phones, computers, and TVs, averaging roughly 7.2 hours of videos a day! Wow!

Since we know that Gen Z prefers video content, there’s a need to invest much more heavily in video content using video-sharing sites like YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok as the main distribution channels.

By the way, did you know that YouTube is also considered a social media platform and a search engine? In fact, it’s the most popular social media platform used by Gen Z and is actually considered the second most used search engine in the world.

Have you started investing in a YouTube video strategy yet? Now’s the time!

Schedule a free discovery session to discuss shifting to video marketing. 

Marketing to millennials vs Gen Z

Speaking as a millennial, even though there’s about a 10+ year gap between me and a Zoomer, we still spend mostly the same amount of time online, looking at the same popular social media sites — YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, and Reddit.

But even though we share many of the same online browsing habits, there are important differences to remember when marketing to each group.

Millennials and Gen Z are in different phases of their life, with different goals

Before lumping millennials and Gen Z into the same marketing audience, consider that both groups are in completely different times in their lifespan and developmental process, with millennials being in the middle of adulthood, and Zoomers just entering adulthood.

For instance, millennials have more money and spend it compared to Zoomers, which makes sense because most Gen Z youth are just entering or graduating college, without a proper income yet.

Millennials who are in their early 30s are just now getting ready to purchase their first home, something their boomer parents were doing when they were just in their mid-20s. 

This means that millennials are a prime audience for mortgage marketing, legal services, and senior living industries, as they’re often the caretakers of their aging parents.

Generation Z has more trouble buying homes than any other generation

Most people in Generation Z, born between 1997 and 2012, are still living at home, with the oldest of this generation graduating college and entering the workforce.

Because they are still young and only beginning their careers, they make considerably less money, and as a result — spend less money than millennials.

Home buying is also almost out of the question for most Gen Z currently, with 59% not expecting to buy a home — not because they don’t want to, but because they don’t believe they can afford it. 

However, 86% of Gen Z actually want to buy a home, but realistically many of them won’t be able to afford it for another five years.

With this information, mortgage lenders and loan officers may want to shift their mortgage marketing efforts to favor younger and older millennials who make up the largest share of home buyers, at roughly 43%

As the Gen Z population grows older in the next five years, it seems likely they will start purchasing houses and getting mortgages once their careers and incomes stabilize and become more consistent.

To get a headstart on this audience, you can begin crafting educational video content and blog marketing towards Gen Z to gain brand recognition and trust — so that once they’re ready to purchase a home, they’ll come back to you to start the process.

Get our free 90-day mortgage marketing plan

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Generation Z’s changing attitudes and values 

Because Gen Z is younger and making less money, they are more considerate of the things they do buy and place even greater importance on brands that have great reputations. 

Because Gen Z is the more socially conscious generation, they’re the most likely group to “cancel” or boycott brands that don’t live up to their social standards.

Additionally, Gen Z is much more racially diverse than millennials, with 50% of its generation identifying as BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color), compared to 39% of BIPOC millennials.

Because Gen Z faces more social pressure than their peers due to social media, it also makes them more likely to trust social media influencers who they follow that can provide “social proof” to a company’s products, services, or values.

This means you may want to invest in influencer marketing to reach your target audience or even work on a public relations campaign to clean up your brand image if it’s seen as undesirable to your younger audience.

What’s important to millennials

Millennials, born between 1981 and 1996,  just like the younger Gen Z, are used to having information and media available to them when they want it.

They’re also just now entering the housing market, looking to purchase their first family home after delaying for several years caused by a recession, high rates, and an unstable job market.

Be mindful that both of these generations lack the patience and attention spans of previous generations. 

  • If your company’s website takes a few seconds to load—they’re already gone.
  • Your website isn’t loading properly on mobile? They’ve already bounced off your website.
  • Using outdated branding language or cultural references? Your audience won’t understand, care, or click on your content. 
  • You’re writing long articles without any videos or graphics? TL;DR (too long; didn’t read)

Because everything is searchable these days, brand authenticity and trustworthiness matter more than ever, which means you need to invest in generating more online reviews and gathering more social proof. 

Millennials and Gen Z are much more prone to scrutinize than previous generations, especially when it comes to businesses and where they spend their money.

If you’re caught lying to these generations in your advertisements or content, your brand will take longer to recover than in times past. 

Let’s get the most obvious out of the way first—videos are the biggest marketing trend of 2022 and will continue until 2023, and probably even after that.

Compared to traditional content marketing that favors blog writing, video content marketing is still on the rise as mobile phones’ recording capability and resolution continue improving.

Keep in mind to start video marketing, you just need to film videos. They don’t need to be 4K or even professionally shot. A simple and quick horizontal video is all that’s needed, and coincidentally, short-form videos are the most popular marketing trend of 2023.

Let’s examine the most important marketing trends of 2023 for reaching younger audiences online. 

1. Short-form videos

These short, horizontal videos that fit so perfectly on a phone screen are the most popular form of content in 2022, and definitely will continue into 2023.

Think of TikTok videos, Instagram Reels, and YouTube Shorts, which are roughly 10-30 second videos that usually feature background music, dancing, or somebody explaining a very simple concept.

Use short-form videos to take 30 seconds to explain a simple concept related to your industry and watch as the engagement comes pouring in.

Short-form videos can be used to build an online audience, gather important user feedback, and generate leads. 

2. YouTube

YouTube is the world’s second-largest website and the largest video-sharing website. It’s also considered a social media platform and the world’s second-most-used search engine.

About 91% of 30-49-year-olds use YouTube on a daily basis, spending on average 18 minutes on the site.

However, about 37% of millennials aged 18-34 binge-watch YouTube on a daily basis (Case in point: me! I fit this demographic perfectly).

Speaking from this YouTube superuser demographic, I can tell you there’s never enough great content on YouTube. 

As somebody who’s researched mortgages and other financial services on YouTube, there’s a surprising lack of high-quality content out there around these important topics.

In 2023, you can rise to the top of YouTube’s search algorithm by providing high-quality and thoughtful video content that will reach your target audience.

3. TikTok

I know I keep hammering on about TikTok, but it really is that popular (for better or worse!)

Around 61.3% of Gen Z use TikTok, and while YouTube just narrowly wins in terms of popularity, you have to consider that TikTok has only been around since 2017, compared to 2005 when YouTube began. 

TikTok also reached 1 billion users quicker than any other social media platform, including Facebook and Instagram.

Of course, we all know that dancing videos are extremely popular on TikTok, but there are more relevant TikTok video categories you should be taking advantage of in 2023, such as:

  • Life hacks and advice
  • Social media challenges
  • Home renovations and DIY 
  • Fashion
  • Cooking and recipes
  • Pet content

Do your company’s products and services fit into these categories? If you’re selling mortgages, legal services, or senior living, you can create a series of educational life hacks or advice to help a younger generation get more information.

Short-form content is great for forcing you to explain sometimes complex subjects in the most simple terms. How does a mortgage work? How do I move my parent into a senior living complex? What do I do if someone is suing me? These are all topics that the younger generations might not know about and need easy answers to. 

Who knows, you could be the next TikTok guru on home buying! 

Or if you’re looking for more brand exposure, you can participate in a viral social media challenge to take advantage of popular trends.

If you work in real estate, you can post tips on home renovations, DIY projects, or information on the house-buying process.

Don’t feel like you need to embarrass yourself to reach your younger audience — don’t do dancing videos just because they’re popular unless you’re this guy:

4. Personal recommendations and referrals from friends and family members 

Generation Z is perhaps the most skeptical audience segment out there, preferring to get their advertisements and recommendations from people they trust, such as online influencers or their friends and family.

Roughly 82% of Gen Z trust their friends and family members’ recommendations above any other advertising source. 

In 2023, you should be investing more heavily into referral marketing strategies that target your existing customers and encourages them to refer their friends and family to your business.

5. Gaining more positive online reviews

95% of customers tend to read online reviews for companies and products before they buy a product or use that company’s service.

Another study that showed 84% of people view online reviews as being as trustworthy as their friends’ recommendations.

This means in 2023 you’ll need to reach out to former clients and customers to ask for reviews on your Google Business account, Yelp page, Facebook account, Yellowpage, and more.

Of course, you cannot specifically ask for a 5-star review — that’s tacky, unethical, and in some instances downright illegal. 

For example, attorneys follow a code of ethics that specifically states how they can, and cannot, ask for reviews on their business.

To skew the reviews in your favor, start reaching out to all of your happy former customers and clients and ask for a review. Do your research ahead of time to only target people who are the most likely to leave a 5-star review.

As your company profile gets more positive reviews, your SEO and online ranking will improve to create more traffic flow to your company website, which in turn generates more sales leads.

6. Instagram Posts and Ads (and Facebook too!)

People spend 30 minutes a day on average on Instagram. In my experience, however, everyone I know spends at least two hours a day on the platform. Not kidding.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve actually seen Instagram Ads and bought the goods and services being sold through those ads. Then again, Instagram is my preferred social media, and my algorithm knows me pretty well by now.

Setting up Instagram Ads is also very easy, and pretty affordable too. Even though it uses the Facebook Ads Manager, you don’t need a Facebook account to start creating ads on Instagram.

You can boost your existing Instagram posts, stories, or reels, or you can create an entirely new ad.

Instagram’s built-in analytics show you your ads’ reach, the engagement, and can perform conversion tracking to measure your e-commerce sales and lead generation through Instagram and Facebook.

Need a new social media strategy in 2023?  Book a free discovery session.

7. Influencer posts on Instagram and YouTube

Again, speaking from experience, I follow several Instagram and YouTube influencers who are musicians who promote musical instruments, software, and tools for musicians.

One of the best ways to reach a musician like me is to target these online influencers and send them new products to demo and film to upload to Instagram or YouTube, and then put links in their description to these companies and products. 

Sometimes influencers will even use affiliate marketing to make money each time they sell their intended product, which incentivizes them to make better and farther-reaching videos so they can make more money as well.

However, it’s not just musicians you can target. You can find and target any audience using social media influencers. 

If you’re looking to promote your mortgages, then find real estate or home-buying influencers with large followings and pay them to promote your company.

Do the research to find influencers in your industry across social media platforms, see what their online following is, and then email them to find out their rates for promoting your products.

Influencers fluctuate in their sizes from:

  • Nano influencers (1000-10,000 followers): Typically charge between $10 – $100 per post.
  • Micro-influencers (10,000-50,000 followers): Typically charge $100-$500 per post.
  • Mid-tier influencers (50,000-500,000 followers): Typically charge $500-$5,000 per post.
  • Macro-influencers (500,000-1 million+ followers): Typically charge between $5,000-10,000 per post.

8. Display ads on websites

Display ads are square or rectangular banner ads that automatically populate the sidebars or top banners of many websites online.

Many independent bloggers will monetize their website’s traffic by using the Google AdSense program, which automatically fills in the gaps in their websites with Google display ads.

Roughly 200 million websites comprise the Google Display Network, which uses the AdSense program to show these graphic ads to millions of viewers across several targeted and micro-niche blogs, such as home buyer blogs, Mom blogs, senior living blogs, and real estate and financial service blogs.

If you’re trying to reach a younger audience, consider using a striking and flashy display ad to gain more brand exposure and get more clicks to your website using image ads over text-based ads.

Once you set up your Google Display ads, Google will automatically target and place them on the most relevant blogs based on their users’ browsing habits and interests. 

9. Twitter ads

As of writing this article, the use of Twitter ads may be a controversial subject, as the platform has been shaken up drastically after Elon Musk’s acquisition in late October.

That being said, as of December 2022, Twitter still has an audience of 368 million monthly active users worldwide, still making it a worthwhile platform to create ads on.

Will Twitter ads be on the biggest marketing trends list of 2023? That remains to be seen, but given how much people still use Twitter these days, my guess is Twitter ads will remain a good option for reaching Gen Z and millennials for at least a few more years down the road.

10. In-person displays and experiential marketing

As people become more comfortable leaving their houses again, in-person displays and experiential marketing will become more popular.

This means investing more money into renting spaces at expos or conventions to interface directly with customers, using their interactions to generate warm leads for future lead nurturing and sales campaigns.

Your brand and business can truly benefit if you place yourselves outside of the digital realm for a moment and connect with real folks face-to-face — especially if you’re selling mortgages or senior living services that require more lead nurturing and trust.

11. Social media pages are the new customer service hotlines

Here’s a fact you already knew — millennials and Gen Z hate talking on the phone. 

Instead of calling a hotline or customer support line, they’re much more likely to direct message (DM) the company’s Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram account with feedback. Or send a good old-fashioned email.

Also, knowing that the younger generation doesn’t like talking on the phone means you can shift away from click-to-call ad campaigns, and focus more on chatboxes, social media campaigns, and landing pages that let younger audiences send you written messages — their preferred way of communicating.

12. Memes

Love them or hate them, memes are useful tools for expression and sharing culturally important values and stories online.

Even though many memes use existing pictures online from TV shows, movies, or famous photographs, their use is usually protected under the First Amendment and the fair use doctrine. 

BuzzFeed, an Internet media and entertainment company, practically litters all of its content with memes, either as still images or moving GIFs.

It’s no surprise that BuzzFeed’s target audience is comprised of 18-34-year-olds — they respond well to memes, which has become BuzzFeed’s signature style of generating written content that gets the most amount of clicks i.e. “clickbait.” 

If you don’t feel like making memes, don’t worry, there are plenty of them out there for you to borrow and put onto your website. That’s what they’re made for—sharing.

Find memes that are funny and relate to your specific industry, and you’ll probably see an increase in engagement on your blog or social media posts. 

Even Google’s guidelines encourage websites to include graphics, GIFs, and images in their blog posts to improve SEO and make the article more relevant, which explains why I put the silly dancing GIF in this article! 

Work with Kaleidico in 2023 — a lead generation and marketing agency 

Kaleidico is a lead generation agency and a full-service marketing firm that’s been operating since 2005.

We’ve seen it all since then — the rise of Google ads, social media, video sharing, and the modern Internet as we know it.

We’ve been generating mortgage leads for loan officers, helping attorneys find new clients, and connecting families with trustworthy senior living communities through it all.

Work with Kaleidico to achieve your marketing goals in 2023, whether it’s generating more leads, improving online visibility, or positioning your company above your competitors.

Contact us today to learn more about our proven marketing system and how we can help your company in 2023.

Book a free discovery session with us to talk 2023 goals!

Photo by Yingchou Han on Unsplash

About Matthew Dotson
Matthew Dotson is a freelance writer experienced in blog, copy, and technical writing. He covers everything from marketing and digital advertising to technology and senior living. Previously, he worked for a Y Combinator tech startup in the Silicon Valley and traveled the country covering auto shows for Ford Motor Company. Matthew is also a multi-instrumentalist who composes, produces, and records original music. He enjoys photography, videography, fine art, and cinema.

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