Selling Social Media to Millennials Y.2 and Gen X

It was Sunday morning, I was drinking coffee and reading the Australian Magazine, consumed by an article about a family of four traveling across Australia, who became stuck somewhere in the middle and relied on the kindness of strangers to survive the 7 days. As I finished, a gentleman in his 70s asked what it was, as I was clearly engrossed.

He found it interesting why I chose that article; was it the title, was it the magazine - the publication, was it guaranteed good reading.. do I have a special interest in outback adventure stories. He picked up a catalogue from wheel and burrow sitting on the bench in front of him. There were table settings that looked like Christmas Day, on every page a new Christmas - coastal, traditional, colourful, minimal. It was a feast for the eyes. He said how clever it was, instead of an itemised product catalogue, they created a scene - our scene. Our table was set with all the foods we love, with the recipes to the favourites. They have successfully inserted their product into our life.

For us reading it, it’s simple. I want what they’re having.

We began chatting about marketing, how it’s changed over his career as a Financial Advisor, what’s important - and what’s not. He asked, how does he attract them.


Everyone knows about them. They’re mysterious and fickle, get a bad wrap in almost any situation, they are Gen Y.1 millennials. The Them beyond Them is Gen Z, and They are in a league of their own. They are the now aged 3-23, born between 1995-2015 and they are going to rule the world. They are the Them you want.

Gen Z see the world differently. They see two worlds. A physical world, and a digital world and as far as they are concerned, both are reality. For the majority, their digital footprint provides a lifestyle - their bread-and-butter, networking, building a reputation. Digital is their mojo. That they do it - that is, Life, how they want.. In a digital world unencumbered by the physical world restrictions. To make yourself - your product, relevant to them, to evolve with Gen Z, you need to evolve how you think about your product. Reimagine your product in the digital world, then sell it.

“90% of my business is in their 60s.” Which is a great reason to rethink the malleability of your bread and butter, to turn it into something they will want to have with their breakfast.

To Start

  • Authenticity. You must tell the truth.

  • No cliches or sales pitch.

  • Make Money Fast- just won’t work here. They just don’t care. There are other currencies that are more important. Other currencies they care more about, and these currencies provide them with what they need to survive, and thrive.

  • No long winded BS. Time is different in their world.. The best part of your story needs to be at the start.

  • Instead of talking about you, talk about them. Explore their world.

  • You don’t need to talk about you. Baby boomers, Gen X, Gen Y.2 don’t mind the stories. These guys, not so much. If they want to know, they will know.

  • Networking is still valid, they just do it differently. You don’t need to be in the same physical space as someone to have a relationship and form a trusting partnership.

  • The advertising school of the 90s and 00s said to propose a question at the end. The Clickbait. Don’t do that. You’re targeting a generation of buyers who know everything - who have the power to learn whatever they need to know quite easily. They don’t need to come to your seminar- they have youtube. They don’t need to attend a workshop to discover if they like your product- they’ve been through your website and social media, and chances are, if they haven’t bought it, they haven’t bought you.

  • The 70s, 80s, 90s sold us perfection- a uniform, conformity.. Keeping up with the Joneses. They don’t like the Joneses.

  • You pose a question, ‘do you want to have perfect skin’ - they will ask you, ‘what is perfection, do you think i’m not enough, who are you to say what is perfect.’ They are all about “Be You”.

  • Aspirational marketing is not their mojo. These are the kids who, following the decades of supermodels, Kardashians, and reality TV, embraced norm-core. Leaving the house intentionally looking bad.

Appeal to them with honesty. With clear purpose. Without a pitch. With the facts.

  • They are about visuals, aesthetics and appreciate art.

  • They like technology, for them technology is as much convenience as it is trust - this is how they’ve grown up and what is familiar.

  • They are sceptical.

For our financial advisor, this isn’t going to be a piece of cake. He has to completely re-imagine his product, the supply, and application, in the life of his new audience.

Re-imagining your product

  1. Digitalising your product. If your product is your product , rethink how it is accessible. Is it digitally available - can it be turned into a podcast. Our Financial Advisor isn’t getting the numbers for his conferences, he wants to take his course to capital cities. Sure this is to write off a holiday as a tax expense. First, he could turn his conference into a podcast, a 12 part series that anyone can subscribe to, a pay to play for as little as $6. The expenses for him would be minimal, the reach would be maximised, making it more accessible to a wider audience. His clients in their 60s know how to play a podcast, their grandkids do, and so does their local barista.

  2. Make it tangible. Show them how it works, create a story, paint a picture… but not your picture- your lightbulb moment isn’t enough to bring them over the line. It is an important piece of the DNA of your product, but what they need is a connection to the now. Imagine their life - the life of a person who has information at their fingertips, who has grown up digitally - who spend all their time connecting with other people. Financial Advisors personal story of finding his secret to success won’t resonate - they don’t share the same concerns, they are generations apart. What they want from him is knowledge - what does it look like if their life has his product in it? What does it look like in their digital world.
    Yes - this is the same product, it’s knowledge, after all. It’s just marketed, communicated and applied differently.

  3. Appeal to a broader people. Broad social marketing is more than the token mixed race, skinny person, tall person, disables person, or female in a boardroom. Social marketing is emotional. Superficial segments won’t capture their attention, but interests will. Environmental, Cultural, Family, Introvert - there’s ownership of personal oddities. Conforming to fit a norm isn’t as aspirational as 90s advertising made it out to be. Let go of conventional and aim for weird.

In case you missed it..

Gen Y.1

Millennials or Get Y.1, age 24-28. They like what they like because they like it. It’s good because they say so. They are easily influenced, easily swayed. They can be a slave to social media and are more inclined to follow a trend.

Gen Y.2

Millennials of Gen Y.2, age 28-38. They are closer to their parents, (largely) the baby boomers in their thinking; work hard, buy a home, have a family, get life insurance, send kids to private school if we can afford it. They want the The Australian Dream. They are the formula. Your product, or service can probably relate to them in the same way it was shown to their parents.

Gen Z

3 - 24. The minds of Gen Z are wired to see everything as a potential. They don’t see the boundaries of their town, or country. They want to discover and break away from norm and conformity - they have aspirations, not too far from their parents, but the method of achieving this is far from theirs. They aren’t consumed by technology, it’s part of daily life, they understand its potential for productivity and can use it.

There is a re-imagnig of the world taking place, and it’s largely driven by the Gen Y.2 and Gen Z. Gen Z are the new thinkers, the pioneers, they are concerned with themselves, very much consumed by their own world - including the air they breathe. They are anti industrialisation and mass production, they are living in a world where there is zero waste and AI is normal, so imagine a world like this, and where your products fits.