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Beverage Marketing to Millennials and Gen Z: A Beginner’s Guide

1 2021

With massive purchasing power & unique preferences, here are the best ways to approach beverage marketing to Millennials and Gen Z.

Call it the rise of the youth. Millennials, born between 1977 and 1995, and Gen Z, born between 1997 and 2012, now hold enormous purchasing clout in the U.S. 

Boasting a whopping $2.5 trillion in spending power in 2020, marketers would be wise to pay attention to the Millennial market. 

Gen Z, whose expectations of working and studying have been forever rocked by the COVID-19 pandemic, make up a huge chunk (40%) of U.S. consumers, with buying power worth $143 billion. 

In order to tap the Millennial and Gen Z market, your brand has to understand the preferences of these unique groups and determine the most effective way to reach them.

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Similar, but not exactly the same

When crafting your beverage marketing plan for Millennials and Gen Z, remember that while the two groups share many similarities, there are also some critical differences you should keep in mind. Millennials prefer Facebook, while Gen Z are bigger fans of TikTok. Gen Z are twice as likely to make mobile purchases than Millennials, and authentic content resonates more deeply with them.

Generally speaking, Gen Z and Millennials share a love for Instagram, with both groups using the platform roughly equally. They are highly influenced by social media when it comes to their purchasing habits and regularly view videos on YouTube. Brand loyalty programs also appeal to both Millennials and Gen Z, and consumers from these age groups still find email to be an important medium for getting updates about their favorite brands.

"For a lot of teens and young adults, the influencers they follow on social media are an important part of their lives, both for entertainment and for inspiration," says eMarketer principal analyst Debra Aho Williamson. "But marketers need to remember that there are many factors that contribute to a purchase decision, and influencers are just one part of the equation.”

Brands must develop a diverse, multi-pronged strategy that targets Millennials and Gen Z through a variety of mediums.

Solid outreach strategies for Gen Z and Millennials

While you’ll need to tailor your beverage marketing plan based on your business’ unique needs, here are some best practices for reaching Millennial and Gen Z consumers. 

1. Embrace social media

An innovative beverage marketing strategy for Millennials and Gen Z requires leveraging all the social media tools at your disposal. Reach out to influencers to promote your brand and run campaigns on the major platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. Create a posting schedule so that you have a constant flow of new content to keep your followers interested and engaged.

2. Video is your new best friend

Gen Z and Millennials alike love short video clips, which are ideal for sharing widely with their networks. Devote time, energy, and resources into creating a visually compelling video, and your brand could go viral

3. Hashtags and varied content

Got a post that performed amazingly? That’s awesome, but you need to switch things up and keep both your feed and content types fresh to keep people coming back to your page. Research custom hashtags, as well as trending hashtags, to ensure that your content reaches the right users.

4. Tried-and-true email outreach

This classic beverage marketing technique is effective for connecting with Gen Z and Millennials - but it’s crucial to keep your emails short and to-the-point, as their attention span is short. Many are “ad-blind” due to the overwhelming amount of advertisements they encounter on a daily basis, so be sure to craft a punchy, clever message to catch their interest.

5. Prioritize mobile optimization

The vast majority of Gen Z and Millennial consumers are browsing your site and social accounts via their cell phones, so a mobile-first user experience is mandatory. Ensuring that your brand’s online presence is specifically geared for mobile is an important way to stay current with beverage marketing trends.

6. Social commentary: tread carefully

As recent events have clearly shown, brand neutrality on social issues is no longer an option. However, it’s critical to proceed with caution so that you don’t risk alienating your audience. Consider consulting with a diversity, inclusivity, and equality professional to help you navigate this tricky space.

7. Create brand loyalty programs

Help your loyal customers connect even more deeply with your brand via special events, discounts, fun competitions, and even free giveaways. The key is to keep these perks exclusive to people who are fans of your products. 

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution for reaching out to Gen Z and Millennials. Your geographic location matters just as much as the age of your target audience. Try out some of these strategies for your beverage marketing plan, and let us know how it works for your business. 

Be in touch with RC Cola to leverage our expertise in reaching these age groups.

Get in touch with the RC Cola Team!