For the last several years, Gen Z and millennials have been accused of "killing off" certain industries. In an ever-evolving landscape of consumer behavior, Gen Z and millennials have been a driving force behind the transformation and decline of more "traditional" industries.

Cable, diamonds, alcohol, landlines, malls, car ownership, the meat industry, fitted sheets and even cold-hard cash … the list of products and industries members of the younger generation are writing off and making irrelevant, whether they mean to or not, continues to grow. This shift in ever-changing and evolving trends, however, presents an exciting opportunity for advertisers to adapt and successfully market products to these two tech-savvy and socially conscious generations.

Why aren't these industries finding success?

Changing and evolving consumer preferences are driven by complex factors — dire financial situations, certain ethics younger generations want their products to embody, an endless marketplace of available options and a societal shift towards a greater focus on health are just some reasons that explain this evolving phenomena.

A large majority of millennials and Gen Z face financial burden. The cost of higher education has risen dramatically, and many millennials entered the job market not only burdened with substantial student loan debt, but during or shortly after the 2008 global economic recession. This debt can not only delay major life events and purchases, but also causes individuals to cut out certain products and spending that they deem unnecessary.

The availability of such vast, diverse and innovative alternatives to so many products and experiences also plays a role in these changing consumption patterns. Before, when you wanted to find a new outfit or beauty product you had to drive to the mall, walk around and browse several stores. Now, retailers are in the palm of your hand thanks to targeted advertisements taking over social media pages.

And it's not just clothes or makeup. Whether it's the rise of non-alcoholic beverages or plant-based meat substitutes, millennials and Gen Z have more choices across countless sectors compared to previous generations, allowing them to align their consumption habits with their specific values and preferences.

Finally, millennials and Gen Z tend to value experiences over material possessions. In fact, these younger generations travel more than any other demographic.This shift in priorities has led to a decrease in spending on certain products, but has caused other industries such as travel and tourism to flourish.

How to attract Gen Z and millennial consumers with your marketing strategy

To successfully market products toward Gen Z and millennial shoppers, advertisers need to understand the values and preferences that drive these generations. Here are some key strategies to consider.

Authenticity is key

Gen Z and millennials value authenticity from brands. They are more likely to support companies that have ethical business practices or show support for social causes. Advertisers should focus on creating campaigns that showcase transparency and a commitment to positive social impact.

Embrace digital platforms, social media and influencer marketing

As "traditional" mediums (aka brick-and-mortar retailers and print advertisements) continue to fade into the background, advertisers must shift their focus to digital and social media platforms where younger generations spend the majority of their time.

Apps like TikTok and Instagram, along with influencers, provide endless opportunities for engaging with your audience. Investing in shareable, creative and organic content is crucial to capture their attention in a crowded online space. Collaborating with influencers who resonate and relate to Gen Z and millennial audiences can also help establish genuine connections.

Emphasize sustainability

Environmental consciousness is a significant factor for Gen Z when making a purchasing decision. Advertisers should emphasize sustainable practices and eco-friendly products in their marketing campaigns. Brands that demonstrate a commitment to sustainability are more likely to attract and retain these customers.

Create interactive and personalized content

Interactive and personalized content engages these consumers more effectively than traditional advertising methods. Augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and personalized online experiences can capture their attention and create memorable brand interactions, especially in the beauty, fashion and travel industry.

Gen Z and millennials are challenging retail trends

The so-called "killing off" of certain industries by Gen Z and millennials doesn't have to be considered negative or destructive; it's transformative. These younger generations challenge outdated norms and push industries to adapt to their evolving preferences. Advertisers have the opportunity to be more creative and forward-thinking in their marketing strategies, constantly evolving and growing.

By understanding these new norms, advertisers can create campaigns that resonate with such influential demographics. Embracing values like authenticity, digital platforms, social media, sustainability and more will not only help advertisers survive in this changing landscape, but they will thrive in a future where Gen Z and millennials continue to shape consumer trends.