A photo of Gen Zers in a crowd at a live music event. Learn more about the differences between Gen Zers and millennials below.

Gen Z vs. Millennials: How To Target Both Audiences

18 min read
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Using the same marketing techniques for both Generation Z and millennials is a bad idea. Both of these demographics have distinct behaviors, purchasing decisions, and social media preferences that you must understand if you want to improve your overall marketing strategy and call center operations. 

In this guide from FiveCRM, learn the key differences between Gen Z and millennials and how to target both groups with your outbound marketing.

Key Takeaways

  1. Understand the Unique Characteristics: Marketing to Gen Z and Millennials requires a deep understanding of their unique characteristics. Gen Z, born between 1997 and 2012, is highly tech-savvy, values authenticity, and seeks personalized experiences. Millennials, born between 1981 and 1996, are digitally connected, value convenience, and prioritize social responsibility. Tailoring your marketing strategies to align with these characteristics is essential for success.

  2. Embrace Digital Channels: Both Gen Z and Millennials are digital natives who heavily rely on digital channels for information and engagement. To effectively reach these audiences, businesses must embrace digital marketing strategies such as social media marketing, influencer collaborations, content marketing, and mobile optimization. Being present and active on the platforms where these generations spend their time is vital.

  3. Authenticity and Transparency Matter: Gen Z and Millennials value authenticity and transparency in their interactions with brands. They seek genuine connections and prefer brands that align with their values. To resonate with these audiences, businesses should be transparent about their mission, values, and sustainability efforts. Authentic storytelling and user-generated content can create stronger connections and foster trust.

  4. Personalization is Key: Gen Z and Millennials expect personalized experiences and messaging. Leveraging data-driven insights and marketing automation tools, businesses can create targeted and personalized campaigns tailored to the preferences and behaviors of these generations. Customized product recommendations, personalized emails, and interactive content can enhance engagement and drive conversions.

  5. Leverage User-Generated Content: Both Gen Z and Millennials value peer recommendations and user-generated content. Encouraging user-generated content through contests, branded hashtags, and interactive campaigns can generate buzz, build trust, and create a sense of community around your brand. Influencer marketing is also effective in leveraging the influence of individuals who resonate with these generations.

  6. Purpose-Driven Marketing: Gen Z and Millennials are socially conscious and appreciate brands that demonstrate a commitment to social and environmental issues. Incorporating purpose-driven marketing initiatives and highlighting corporate social responsibility efforts can attract and resonate with these audiences. Supporting causes, implementing sustainable practices, and engaging in community-driven initiatives can help build brand loyalty.

  7. Embrace Visual and Bite-sized Content: Both generations have grown up in a fast-paced digital world with information overload. They have shorter attention spans and prefer visual, bite-sized content. Businesses should focus on creating visually appealing and easily consumable content such as videos, infographics, and snackable social media posts. Captivating visuals and concise messaging can capture their attention effectively.

Who Are Gen Z?

Generation Z — or Gen Z — is the term to describe people born during the late 1990s and early 2000s. According to Britannica, some people define Gen Z as people born between 1997 and 2021. However, some people contest this year range because it is difficult to delineate generations. 

Gen Z follows Generation Y (Millennials) and is the last generation to be assigned a letter in the standard Latin alphabet. Generation Alpha follows Gen Z and will be the first generation to be given a letter from the Greek alphabet. 

Who Are Millennials? 

Millennials — also known as Generation Y — is the term used to describe people born between the early 1980s and late 1990s. However, people born in the early 2000s are sometimes included in the definitions of this generation. The millennial generation follows Generation X. Like Gen X, some people contest this year range because of the difficulty in defining generations. 

Differentiating Factors: Gen Z vs. Millennials 

Brands use different marketing trends and techniques when targeting Gen Z and millennials because, collectively, these generations have distinct behaviors, personality characteristics, and purchasing habits. Although it is tricky to generalize entire generations, it's important to differentiate marketing strategies when engaging with Gen Z and millennial customers via phone calls, email, mobile devices, e-commerce platforms, and social networks.

1. Gen Zers Are More Financially Prudent Than Millennials

Research shows that Gen Zers are more likely to save money for big life purchases such as a new home or vehicle than millennials. That's because Gen Z shoppers care about long-term financial stability and know more about saving money at an early age because of social media trends such as cash stuffing. 

Many millennials, on the other hand, entered the workforce during the economic recession of the late 2000s and haven't been able to reach financial milestones such as saving for retirement and purchasing property. Millennials are more likely to "live in the moment" than other generations and spend disposable income rather than save it. It's important to realize purchasing habits and spending power when marketing to Gen Z vs. millennials. 

2. Gen Zers Engage With Brands More on Social Media Than Millennials

Generation Z is more likely to engage with your brand on social media than millennials. While millennials still follow brands on platforms like Twitter and Facebook, Gen Zers are more inclined to add comments, like posts, and share content with friends and family. That means you might need to work harder to engage with millennials on social media. You can improve engagement by creating content that resonates with the millennial generation, such as posts that speak to their lifestyle and life goals. Bear this in mind when coming up with social media strategies for Gen Z vs. millennials!

3. Gen Zers Crave Authenticity More Than Millennials

Gen Z and millennials both look for brands that are transparent and authentic. However, these factors are more important for Gen Z consumers, who are more skeptical of big companies without a purpose other than selling a new product or driving them to check out. According to a recent study from Indeed.com, real "before and after" photos and lower-quality images have more of an impact on Gen Zers than traditional advertising because this generation prefers content that comes across as genuine. Gen Zers also favor content with situations that feel attainable, such as a blog post highlighting vacation destinations they can afford. 

4. Millennials Respond Better to Deals and Offers

Indeed.com also notes that millennials focus on the entire buying experience more than Gen Zers. Bonus offers, loyalty programs, deals, and investments resonate with this generation, and many marketers include these incentives in blog posts, social media posts, and email newsletters

Generation Z is more conservative with its spending habits than millennials were at a similar point in their lives and favors purchases that provide good value for money. Marketers often describe the value of their products when targeting this generation and explain how their offerings are a wise investment. 

5. Gen Z vs. Millennials: Different Social Media Preferences

While both Generation Z and millennials are avid users of social media, these demographics exhibit different behaviors when using websites like TikTok and Facebook. Millennials spend 3.8 hours a day, on average, on social media, while Gen Zers spend 4.5 hours. In addition, millennials are more likely to follow small businesses and big brands on social than Gen Z, while the latter are more likely to consume viral content and social media trends. Understanding insights like these are critical when marketing to Gen Z versus millennials. As millennials spend less time on social media, you will need to try harder to capture their attention when creating and posting content. 

6. Gen Z vs. Millennials Respond to Different Marketing Types

Gen Z and millennials are receptive to different types of marketing, according to TechTarget. Gen Z engages with influencer marketing, short-form videos on TikTok, Snapchat, Instagram, social selling, and mobile interactions. Millennials, on the other hand, respond well to all types of social media marketing, reviews, content that demonstrates price-to-value ratio, and digital marketing content that supports good causes. Think about these different marketing methods when targeting Gen Z vs. millennials! You might want to create an influencer marketing campaign for Gen Z and focus on improving online reviews to capture more millennials. 

7. There Are More Millennials Than Gen Zers

Another difference between these demographics is that there are more millennials than Gen Zers in the world. In fact, millennials are the largest generation in history, according to TechTarget. That means you need to target a broader audience and build a bigger customer base when targeting this demographic. Using a customer relationship management (CRM) system will provide more information about the number of Gen Zers vs. millennials in your sales and marketing pipelines, so you can decide where to focus your marketing efforts. 

8. Gen Z vs. Millennials: Personality Characteristics 

Millennials vs. Gen Z characteristics are different, and you should know how these different groups act and behave for more effective marketing outcomes. So who are millennials vs. Gen Z? Well, American millennials tend to be more optimistic than their younger counterparts because they were born and raised in a more prosperous society. Gen Zers, on the other hand, are more realistic because they grew up in a time of social unrest and an economic downturn. Gen Zers and millennials also have different fashion styles, online shopping behaviors, buying power, technical abilities, and expectations from life. 

How To Market to Each Generation: Gen Z vs. Millennials 

Noting the differences above, you must market to Gen Zers vs. millennials differently. A one-size-fits-all marketing approach for both older and younger generations might not generate the outcomes you are looking for when moving prospects through your funnels. Here are some different ways to market to Gen Z and millennials:

Marketing Toward Gen Z

As previously noted, Gen Z is more likely to crave authentic content, engage with brands on social media, and save money for the future. You can use these insights to influence your marketing strategy for this generation

Create Genuine Content

Gen Z favors real content that has a purpose. That means overly airbrushed photos in marketing materials and content with little value won't cut it with this audience. Focus on creating authentic content that resonates with Gen Z, such as blog posts about the good causes you support or video content about how you are making a difference in the world.

One of the better ways to create genuine content for Gen Zers is by developing a clear brand voice and establishing a human connection with your audience. Incorporate your brand values into your content pieces and research topics for your blog, website, email newsletters, and social media posts for better engagement with this generation.

Engage Your Audience

Gen Z is receptive to engaging with your brand’s social media presence. However, you will need to post content that's worth them engaging with! Come up with a content marketing strategy that informs and entertains this generation based on their interests, shopping habits, purchasing behaviors, and other factors. (Tip: You can find this information in customer profiles in a CRM system like FiveCRM.)

Content engagement strategies that target Gen Z include asking audiences to comment on a recent topic or new story and encouraging followers to share your content in exchange for a money-off coupon or access to an exclusive brand loyalty program.

Showcase the Value of Your Products

When comparing Gen Z vs. millennials, the former demographic is more likely to save money for big life purchases such as a new property. This financially prudent generation is less inclined to make impulse purchases of products that won't help them achieve this goal. That's why you must showcase the value of your offerings to this audience. Communicate how your product will make an impact in their lives and what makes it different from other items on the market in all your marketing materials and call center operations. 

Marketing Toward Millennials

Millennials are more likely to follow your business on social media, respond to deals and offers, and spend less time on social than Gen Zers. Use these insights when coming up with a marketing strategy for this demographic.

Give Millennials a Reason To Follow You on Social 

While millennials are more likely to follow you on social media than Gen Z audiences, you need to give them a reason to keep coming back to your pages on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and the like. Various methods help you do this. Perhaps the most important one is posting consistently on social media with purpose. Establish a channel strategy that generates relevant social media content for millennials that speaks to their interests, addresses their pain points, and provides them with insights they can't find anywhere else. Doing so will increase engagement and encourage more social media users to click on links to your product pages.

Use Deals and Offers To Target Millennials

Millennials respond well to deals and offers when engaging with your brand. You can move more of these prospects through your sales and marketing funnels by offering coupon codes and other incentives in social media posts, email newsletters, website pages, and inbound and outbound phone calls

You'll need to send deals and offers to millennials at the right stage of your marketing pipeline to convert these prospects into bona fide customers. An analytical CRM like FiveCRM will identify the touchpoints that result in the most conversions and help you decide the best time to send incentives to prospects. 

Encourage Millennials To Spend More Time on Your Socials

Millennials spend less time on social media than their older counterparts, meaning that you will need to work harder for their attention span. You can improve engagement on your social pages with giveaways, product announcements, and other content that encourages this generation to interact with your brand for longer. Understanding the components that make up a successful social media post will also help you engage millennials and improve sales outcomes.

Final Considerations: Marketing to Gen Z vs. Millennials

While it's impossible to generalize entire generations, Gen Z and millennials have very different behaviors, values, purchasing habits, and social media preferences. Understanding these differences will let you create marketing strategies for Gen Z vs. millennials and move more prospects through your pipelines. Follow these takeaways when targeting Gen Zers and millennials and get more value from your marketing spend. An analytical CRM system like FiveCRM will help you learn more about prospects from different generations and fine-tune your marketing and call center strategies.

How FiveCRM Can Help You Target Gen Z vs. Millennials

FiveCRM is an analytical CRM platform that generates reports and insights based on the call center metrics you want to track when targeting Gen Z versus millennials. This system lets you segment audiences to create more effective and targeted campaigns that result in more engagement and conversions. 

Here are some of the ways FiveCRM targets both Gen Z and millennials:

  • Specialized marketing and performance tools track performance in your organization and capture more relevant sales leads, helping agents target different demographics. These tools optimize performance outcomes and allow you to provide better experiences for potential customers. 

  • Get unlimited data storage and up to 999 databases for your call center operations. Improving data management like this will allow you to focus on targeting Gen Z and millennial audiences without worrying about data storage. 

  • FiveCRM improves sales efficiency by managing callbacks, automating dialing sets, and optimizing workflows for outbound call operations such as telemarketing, telesales, cold calling, and warm calling. That can free up time for agents to provide better experiences to Gen Zers and millennials over the phone. 

  • FiveCRM's lead scoring feature lets agents focus on the most lucrative Gen Zers and millennials in sales pipelines. That can generate more leads and enhance customer experiences for improved engagement and sales.

  • FiveCRM can enhance account management by generating real-time data sets about departmental performance. Use these metrics to improve performance across your call center and identify new ways to engage Gen Zers vs. millennials over the phone. 

  • Improve Gen Z and millennial marketing with customer engagement insights and website tracking. You can access real-time insights on reports and other data visualizations and share these with members of your team when targeting different generations via email, smartphones, social media platforms, and other channels.

Other FiveCRM features include marketing automation, power dialing, previous dialing, data privacy, gamification, world-class security, call recording optimization, consolidated reports, and a native app builder. 

FiveCRM is the analytical CRM system that generates incredible insights into prospects at every stage of the marketing funnel. Email hello@fivecrm.com for a demo, or get FiveCRM now


Q: What age groups do Gen Z and Millennials represent?

A: Gen Z represents individuals born between 1997 and 2012, while Millennials were born between 1981 and 1996. These age groups encompass the younger generations currently shaping consumer trends and preferences.

Q: How do Gen Z and Millennials differ in terms of digital behavior?

A: Gen Z and Millennials are both digital natives, but their behaviors and preferences may vary. Gen Z tends to be more mobile-focused, embracing social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram. Millennials, on the other hand, are more likely to use a variety of digital channels, including social media, email, and websites.

Q: What marketing channels are effective for reaching Gen Z and Millennials?

A: Digital marketing channels are highly effective for reaching Gen Z and Millennials. Social media platforms, influencer collaborations, content marketing, and mobile-optimized websites are key channels to consider. It's important to stay updated with the latest trends and preferences within these channels to effectively engage these generations.

Q: How can I create authentic connections with Gen Z and Millennials?

A: Building authentic connections requires transparency, genuine interactions, and aligning with their values. Be transparent about your brand's mission and values, engage in meaningful conversations, and showcase real customer experiences through user-generated content. Engaging with influencers who resonate with your target audience can also help establish authenticity.

Q: Why is personalization important when marketing to Gen Z and Millennials?

A: Personalization is important because Gen Z and Millennials expect tailored experiences. They appreciate brands that understand their preferences and needs. Utilize data-driven insights to create personalized campaigns, such as customized product recommendations and personalized emails, to enhance engagement and increase conversions.

Q: How can I leverage user-generated content effectively?

A: Encourage user-generated content through contests, branded hashtags, and interactive campaigns. This allows your audience to become advocates and share their experiences with your brand. Showcase user-generated content on your website and social media platforms to build trust and foster a sense of community around your brand.

Q: How can purpose-driven marketing appeal to Gen Z and Millennials?

A: Gen Z and Millennials are socially conscious and appreciate brands that demonstrate a commitment to social and environmental issues. Incorporating purpose-driven initiatives and highlighting corporate social responsibility efforts can attract and resonate with these audiences. Communicate your brand's values and initiatives clearly to align with their preferences.

Q: What types of content are effective for capturing the attention of Gen Z and Millennials?

A: Visual and bite-sized content works well for capturing the attention of these generations. Utilize videos, infographics, and snackable social media posts that deliver information quickly and in an engaging manner. Strong visuals and concise messaging are essential for cutting through the digital noise and making an impact.

Q: How important is social media presence when targeting Gen Z and Millennials?

A: Social media presence is crucial for targeting Gen Z and Millennials as these generations are highly active on various platforms. Maintaining an active and engaging presence on platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube allows you to connect with them directly, share your brand's story, and build a loyal following.

Q: Should my marketing strategy be exclusively focused on Gen Z and Millennials?

A: While Gen Z and Millennials are important target demographics, it's essential to consider your overall target market and align your marketing efforts accordingly. Understanding the preferences and behaviors of these generations can inform your strategies, but don't neglect other potential customer segments that may also contribute to your business's success.

Michael King says...

"I can’t think of a time where a client has requested something that we weren’t able to do with FiveCRM. Unlike most systems, it has a lot of flexibility."

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“Each client, and each of their campaigns, has its own unique specifications. We essentially needed to set up mini CRMs on one platform to meet those requirements.”

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