An In-Betweener Shares Secrets on Reaching In-Betweeners

An In-Betweener Shares Secrets on Reaching In-Betweeners

I’m a turn of the century baby. I was born at the beginning of Gen Z in 1997 – but I’ve never really felt like a Gen Z-er. Growing up, I was grouped in with the millennials – I remember hearing how people my age were lazy and entitled. Now, as I check my smartphone between sentences and have an 8-second attention span, I realize I may be a little more Gen Z than I thought. However, I will forever consider myself an in-betweener. You know, a little millennial and a little Gen Z? Why segment myself to just ONE generation? ¿Porque no los dos?

Girl Why Dont We Have Both GIF


There are about 19 million Americans who I vote fall into this “in-betweener” category. We’re ages 20-24 and are just beginning to start our adult lives (that whole working 40 hours a week thing and trying to cook more than ramen noodles in our college dorm rooms). Many of us have moved away from our parents’ houses and started “adult jobs” and many of us have thousands in college debt (READ: we have very little extra cash).

So where lies the in-between part of maybe being a millennial and maybe being part of Gen Z? In my case, it’s spending habits. While I have tendencies that align with millennials, I also have tendencies that align with Gen Z. I value experiences like millennials, but I value them a whole lot more if I get them for a bargain. I buy some things online, but I also like shopping at the store like Gen Z-ers. So how do I decide who wins my *limited* dollars?

Like Gen Z, I like companies I can trust. I want good products at a good price. And when I say trust, I want companies to own up to their mistakes. Remember when KFC ran out of chicken and owned up to it without passing the cluck? That resonated with me. I like their brand.

Like millennials, I want good customer service. If I can talk to a person without having to jump through all the automated messaging hoops, then I can 99% guarantee I will prefer your company. Cue me not having to yell “REPRESENTATIVE” in my phone 5 times before I can actually talk to someone.

In short, here are 5 ways to reach people like me, a kinda millennial and kinda Gen Z (you’ve probably heard of all of these, but this time, it’s a first-hand source!):

  1. Utilize Instagram, Twitter, AND Snapchat for ads– we use all these platforms daily.
  2. Don’t post the same things on each platform. We go from each platform back to back and if we see the exact same thing on each medium, we will ignore it. You can use the same concept, just modify it for each platform.
  3. Collaborate with influencers that accentuate your brand, clearly and honestly – we follow and listen to people we trust.
  4. Be authentic with your brand. If you started your company to support women and children – actually do things that support women and children (and then tell us about it in a humble vlog).
  5. Make interactions with your brand seamless (aka omnichannel). We want to see your brand personality come through in ads, social media pages, vlogs, AND in-store. You are ONE company after all – make it appear that way.

While you may have heard of all of these things before, there are still a lot of companies out there not doing them. Be the company that does these things, and win in-betweeners’ business for the next 70-80 years. It will add up!

Should you call out your competition?

Should you call out your competition?

Apple vs. Google, Hefty vs. Glad, Coke vs. Pepsi… the list could go on forever. Competitions suck – but they are inevitable. *cue Thanos* In lieu of the recent social media battles between CLIF Bars and KIND Snacks, it got me thinking about brands calling each other out on ‘flaws’ all the time. Is it really worth it to call out competition in YOUR ads? Has bashing the ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend ever actually helped your argument? Maybe in your lifetime, but not mine.

Comparative advertising is advertising your brand as superior in reference to your competition. This can be a side-by-side comparison of the newest Apple and Google smart phones, or it can be the Bud Light Knight trekking across the countryside to return a barrel of corn syrup to the Miller castle. Both ads directly call out the competition in a not so subtle way.

But does this work? With this type of advertising, you run the risk of law suits (MillerCoors sued Anheuser Busch in March over the Superbowl ad), dilution of your brand reputation (annoyed consumers over CLIF vs. KIND Facebook battles – see the Facebook post below), or worse, inadvertently advertising for your competition using dollars from your bottom line. Comparative advertising can unleash a beast – one that is much larger than bachelorette Hannah B(east).


First things first, if you decide to go this route, you must have all the facts. You cannot claim something that is untrue about your competitors – the law says so. Any John Cena commercial about “Hefty Hefty Hefty” being less expensive than “wimpy wimpy wimpy [Glad]” needs to be proven true to avoid getting *trashed* by the media and legal systems. Who wants to spend money on an ad campaign to have any results be *disposed* of in legal fees?

Also, do you really want to be known as the brand that bashes others to try to get ahead? A reputation takes years to build and seconds to destroy. While there are successful one-liners and sarcastic brand voices out there (think Wendy’s Twitter), if that’s not your brand and aligned with your brand’s values, you may want to stay away. People don’t like the Regina George’s of the world.

Finally, isn’t the point of an ad campaign to highlight your brand? Why would you want to bring up the competition when your brand should be front and center for the ad you are paying for? The “Share a Coke” campaign was monumentally successful and didn’t even mention their Cola Wars counterpart. Just a thought to sip on.

In all reality though, this type of advertising has been effective in the past and will continue to be in the future. When Wendy’s tweets get extra *beefy* in efforts to *fry* McDonald’s, they get thousands of likes and retweets – people think it’s funny. But when you have an all-out drag out on Facebook like CLIF and KIND, people get irritated, and your brand may end up with crushed nuts.


There is a very fine line between funny and irritating, and BMW and Audi have been driving that line for years.

So stay true to what you want your brand to be remembered for. Do you want to be that annoying aunt constantly posting replies on Facebook that no one even likes, be the sarcastic uncle who gets all the laughs at someone else’s expense, or be the mom who is proud of her kid and wants to tell the world? It’s your call [to call out your competition or not].

TL; DR (Too Long; Didn’t Read)

  • Comparative advertising can be effective if done well.
  • Be aware of claims you make in comparative ads – false claims can end up in expensive legal battles.
  • Stay true to your brand voice.
  • Your ad should elevate your brand, not your competition’s.
  • There are lots of puns so you should read it all😊


Are you brave enough for these big ideas?

Are you brave enough for these big ideas?

MAY 20, 2019

Guerrilla Marketing was the brainchild of the late Jay Conrad Levinson, Chicago advertising legend, who published a book about it in 1984.  The concept is still going strong.  Dare I say, it’s still big.


Guerrilla  Marketing tactics use the idea of disruption, interruption and surprise in public places. They make people stop, look, laugh, gasp, perhaps interact and most likely talk about what they saw. The tactics get emotional responses. They create a buzz, sometimes even news. And they’re remembered. So is the product.


That’s a darn big bang for your buck. Which is why Guerrilla Marketing is often perfect for brave and innovative smaller businesses (with brave and innovative marketing partners) who may not have big dollars to make a big impression.  It works especially well if you have a localized business. Yes, it’s for major brands too, and you’ll see a few examples of them here.


I’ll stop using words to describe it and just let you see and react to a few terrific examples from around the world.  They didn’t need any explanation in the real world, so I don’t think they need it here. Go ahead…be brave and bold!

Advertising in the Animal World

Advertising in the Animal World

Generally speaking, birds and animals advertise for an opportunity to pass on their genetic attributes. Similarly, businesses advertise to make that dollar-dollar-bill-y’all. Both animals and businesses seek to find some way to differentiate themselves from the rest of the pack…so to speak.

Some animals want to highlight their physical attributes while others (I’m looking at YOU Bower Bird!) want to show off what an elaborately decorated home they can provide to their mate. The Red Hill Crane does mesmerizing dance to appeal to just the right dance partner. While the Blue Footed Booby (Yep, that’s a thing!) shows off their sexy blue feet to impress the ladies.

Bowerbird Nest (Photo credit: Tim Laman /


Red Crowned Cranes (Photo credit: Evan Pike /


Blue Footed Booby (Photo credit:

All of these birds, as well as the gorilla with the most silver back, the buck with the biggest antlers, and the baboon with the reddest backside are trying to impress with what sets them apart from their competitors. Whoever can catch the eye and the attentions of their intended audience, wins.

So it is in business. We all have to identify what it is that we do better than the others, what sets us apart, what makes us special. And then communicate that to the world. Once we identify our core competency or our extra special widget, we then need to find the best ways to market that product or service to our target audience. If you don’t fully market what you have or do, then your business can never fully reach it’s potential. In other words, don’t be the booby who wears socks to the beach.