oculus360 - Feb 6, 2019

Recognizing Millennials, Gen Z By How They Communicate In Online Comments

Every generation has its own unique set of expectations and eccentricities, foibles and fears. As most marketers are readily aware, however, millennials and Gen Z take this notion to new heights, with affinities and standards that distinguish them from their predecessors. As such, brands must have an accurate, fluid understanding of these critical age groups to engage them, develop brand loyalty, and win market share.

Fortunately, brands looking for insights to better understand the personality traits and psychographics of these key consumer segments now have powerful solutions at their disposal. As discussed in our previous thoughts on Recognizing Personality Types By How They Write Online Comments, O360’s AI-based solutions can efficiently mine the enormous digital landscape for consumer commentary that reveals critical personality traits from the individual user.

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As you’ll see, recognizing millennials and Gen Z based on their online communications requires precision, insight, and the agility to identify critical information from often nuanced and subtle commentary. Given the overwhelming impact both of these demographics already wield on modern commerce -- a notion that will only grow by the day -- brands are best-served understanding their significance and what makes them tick.


Understand Your Target Audience


Millennials and Gen Z are transforming the marketplace with both their buying power and unique expectations. Better understanding these critical demographics goes far beyond the basic tenets of generational marketing. Instead, an analysis of the fundamental differences is warranted -- often even between the two -- to reveal what makes millennials and Gen Z significant outliers from preceding generations. That analysis starts with the economic power each holds, a power they display at a far younger point in their collective lives than previous generations.

Millennials in the United States alone have amassed over $200 billion in annual buying power, naturally making them a critical demographic for brands to engage. Amongst the primary generations currently in the marketplace, millennials are least likely to frequent brick-and-mortar establishments, meaning there digital imprint is massive and ripe with pertinent information marketers can use to engage this often fickle segment.


Furthermore, they are highly motivated by recommendations from friends and family as well as the convenience of digital commerce. As such, they are often unresponsive to more typical marketing campaigns and require a high level of personalization from a brand's messaging to be compelled to purchase.

Although Gen Z is not yet as powerful a force in commerce as millennials, they're projected to become the largest generation of consumers within the next few years, already representing over $143 billion in buying power. Like their millennial counterparts, they place a high value on convenience and social influence, also demanding specific ethical standards from their preferred brands. For companies to find success in engaging the temperamental millennial and Gen Z demographics, they must not only take into account their particular expectations but, just as importantly, their preferred communication channels.


Communication Evolves


Gen Z is the first generation born and raised within our modern digital world, where mobile devices are just as commonplace as a television was for their parents. Technology comes as second nature to them, establishing a distinct familiarity and ease with innovation. This dynamic, also pervasive amongst millennials, has had a significant impact on how younger demographics ingest and metabolize information, form their perspective of the world, and communicate with one another.

While all three of those factors influence how brands engage millennials and Gen Z, it’s the communication channels in particular that form the basis of effective generational marketing for them. Social media, text messages, and information snippets reduced to headlines and short video clips have become mainstays for younger demographics, a highly-distilled method to consume data in both a macro and micro sense. In other words, whether collecting information about world events or having a conversation with a friend, their communication channels are digitized, truncated, and highly efficient.


Unless well-prepared to converse in this abbreviated manner, marketers can be easily left on the outside looking in. As curious as their shorthand might appear at first glance -- YOLO, SMH, BAE, and so forth -- there’s nuance and meaning in that dialogue that expresses emotion, belief systems, expectations, and narratives. While brands must be fluent and entirely comfortable understanding that specialized communication, that doesn’t necessarily mean they should attempt to overtly mimic it.

A vehement dislike for any lack of authenticity is one of the primary characteristics consistent through millennials and Gen Z. Given the dynamic nature of the digitized, bite-sized language they use, where a popular and bewildering acronym can be terribly outdated in the matter of a week, brands must be cautious attempting to speak in its completely pliable, ever-changing tongue. One false marketing step can have a cascading negative impact with lasting ramifications on brand loyalty.


Instead, marketers are better-served utilizing technology that helps them keep pace with that sense of linguistic evolution, understand the online conversations, and identify affinities, psychographics, personality traits, and the other components critical in developing accurate consumer personas.


O360 Interprets the Brave New World for Brands


Interpreting unstructured consumer data, particularly when cloaked in subtleties like the communication patterns of millennials and Gen Z, is precisely where O360’s AI-based platform is so useful for brands. Using a combination of integrated technologies like machine learning and natural language processing (NLP), O360 can identify, interpret, and analyze even the most nuanced online conversations. For instance, all of those curious sounding acronyms subtly transmit meaning and impact that can greatly inform and guide a brand’s message.

Likewise, often misinterpreted sentiment and sarcasm would ordinarily wreak havoc on marketing models, severely skewing the information culled from online commentary. However, since O360’s AI-based solutions are agile and learn with time and use, they are uniquely capable of combining efficiency and accuracy when analyzing the elusive meaning behind younger consumer commentary.

Further, since the entire process is automated and forward-looking, the combination of NLP and machine learning grows in lockstep with the language itself. The resulting data reveals those characteristics and traits that are so important in persona building. To that point, our Consumer Portraits tool streamlines the entire process, sifting through the data gathered from countless instances of consumer commentary to find insights that are pertinent to a brand, and use them to form dynamic, immersive personas that flex and change along with consumer groups.


Of course, a powerful solution like the O360 platform provides brands with significant abilities for all consumer segments, not just millennials and Gen Z. However, isolating the additional complexities behind communication between younger generations is an especially potent example of what O360 brings brand messaging.
READ NEXT: What Should Marketers Do With Consumer Insights?Understand how your target audience feels about your brand and products and where you fit into the marketplace relative to your competition. With O360 as a partner, you can transform those insights into illuminating personas, and continually hone your message to better engage every individual consumer.


Written by oculus360