Hands up, who got into DIY during lockdown? It seems we weren’t the only ones.

With nothing much else to occupy us, it is reported that 48% of Brits were inspired by lockdown to get stuck into their latest renovation and DIY projects.

According to a report made by Aldermore bank, younger adults appear particularly keen to have a go themselves, with six in 10 (60%) 18 to 34-year-olds (a mixture of Millennials and Gen Z) having taken up a DIY project during the lockdown or planning to do so in future.

People aged 18 to 34 were also more likely than the older generation to say they planned to give furniture a new lease of life by “upcycling” it as a DIY project. Aldermore Bank found.

Renovation spending was also up a whopping 70% among millennials (ages 25-39), according to the 2021 Houzz & Home survey. And with the cost of housing at an all-time high, many have turned to homes in need of work to get themselves onto the property ladder. In fact, in the US 56% of millennial buyers purchased a home that required renovating due to the limit on housing inventory during the pandemic.

So, it would seem we’re not all sat blowing our deposits on avocado toast and flat whites, as the headlines would have you believe. The millennial and Gen Z generations are the new target market when it comes to renovations and projects in the home. So how can businesses in the DIY space target the literal new renovators on the block? These brands can learn a lot from the retail giants doing it right.

#1 Be authentic and show personality

Focus on content-driven, authentic media. Selling without selling is the aim of the game here. In a world full of rich, eye-catching content, sales-y ads and pushy posts stick out like a sore thumb. They’re lazy and just aren’t going to work for savvy generations deciding where to put their renovation budget; put your customer first and focus on them. 

90% of millennials say authenticity is important to them, and they’re a generation likely to jump ship if they find a better offering. So, building a real brand-consumer relationship is top of the priority list.

A great example of a brand doing authenticity and purpose-driven messaging right is Patagonia. The brand’s mission statement and core values feed into everything the company touches, not just its marketing messaging. Their hugely successful, “Don’t Buy This Jacket” Black Friday campaign focused on the negative culture of consumption and protecting the planet for future generations while promoting their reduce, reuse, and recycle ethos. Where some brands have used similar messaging in token marketing campaigns to tick the ‘we’re green’ box, Patagonia’s authentic core shines through. 

Image sources: patagonia.com & wornwear.patagonia.com

#2 Invest in influencers

When it comes to targeting the Millennial / Gen Z mix, influencer marketing should be seriously considered. Although these tech-savvy generations are fully aware that sponsored shoutouts and content are paid for, honest and open reviews show time and time again that influencer marketing works. In fact, a study run by Social Publi found that almost 83% of marketing professionals found influencer marketing to be effective, with 42% stating that influencer marketing provided a better ROI than other marketing methods.

Image source: socialpubli.com

In the same way, a personal recommendation from a friend makes us way more likely to purchase a product or service. Influencer marketing allows brands to connect to their potential customers on a much more personal level; something we know works wonders when it comes to marketing to Millennials and Gen Z. However, it doesn’t come without its challenges, so here are some tips to get you started:

  1. Check the audience - does the influencer’s audience match who you’re trying to target? Do they have demographic data? Can you confirm the validity of their followers? Eg: fake accounts etc. 
  2. Engagement over reach - we have found as an agency group that some of the best results come from influencers with less than 100,000 followers. Opt for engagement over reach and use mid-level influencers rather than the top % or celebrities. This has shown to improve engagement and campaign performance.
  3. Set clear goals - what are your goals for the campaign? How are you measuring ROI? What does success look like? These may seem like obvious questions, but having the answers ensures you and your influencers begin your relationship on the same page and can easily measure success. 

#3 Audience(s) as ambassadors

When it comes to Millennial / Gen Z marketing, your greatest asset is your current audience. For a generation that thrives on authenticity and honest reviews, what could be better than the advocacy of your current customers? Embrace user-generated content, encourage input, and bring your audience in to interact. When it comes to leveraging a loyal customer community, look no further than GymShark. It is arguably one of the most influential brands of the 21st century, yet in 2016, no one had heard of them. In an interview with Vogue Business, founder Ben Francis credits the rise of GymShark to influencer marketing, its devoted fan community and its choice of a direct-to-consumer model. “We know every single customer that has ever bought from Gymshark from the first order.”

Image source: GymShark YouTube.

#4 Respect lack of time

Writing a long-winded article to get Gen Z into your stores? I’m afraid that’s unlikely to work. Respecting lack of time is one of the key considerations when it comes to marketing to Gen Z and Millennials. They’re tech-savvy users with digital products at services at the forefront of everything they do. They are used to filtering out ads and generally ignoring anything that doesn’t grab their attention within a matter of seconds. They’re used to scrolling through short-form content on apps such as TikTok and Instagram and absorbing content quickly and easily. So how can your brand stop them in their tracks?

  • Use video-rich content to grab attention. In a world of noise, long-worded sales-y ads or stagnant posts aren’t likely to work. 
  • Keep your marketing succinct and crystal clear.
  • Get to the point early. 
  • Use platforms these generations love and create content that fits the mould. Go where your audience is, don’t expect them to come to you. 

Key takeaways

So, with the new DIYers on the block, home and garden brands have a new and exciting opportunity to pivot their marketing towards a generation seeking authenticity, fresh perspectives and much more of an interactive approach to their customers. Personality, rich content, and audience involvement are key. So, if you can do all of that within an attention-grabbing short-form video, you’re right on the money. 

If you'd like to learn more about selling to this market, take a look at; 

This blog was originally published via The Drum on the 5th of July 2022.


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