Marketing to Post-Millennials: Insights from Insider Glacier Marketing Group
As a Gen Zer, Jordan Green knows how to market to younger generations. Green had already been developing content for social media prior to his decision to start Glacier Marketing Group. He says he wanted to do more than just start a business: he wanted to build a brand with the potential to positively impact people.
“I really wanted something that reflects my values as an entrepreneur and as an Alaskan,” says Green. “Something that was more than just about making money.”
Green chose the name Glacier Marketing to connect his business to Alaska without specifically using the state’s name. Likewise, he considered the forward progression of a glacier as an accurate metaphor for the forward progression of his company. And though he is young (nineteen and now in college), he says he has never let age stop him from contacting businesses with his ideas.
“I was able to get a strong start in my company after building hundreds of connections on an app called Clubhouse,” says Green. “My initial Glacier campaigns were connecting brands on TikTok to influencers to create organic advertisements.”
Quickly, Green realized that influencer marketing was the strongest form of marketing on the planet. Building his brand meant growing Glacier Marketing on Instagram and TikTok by making funny videos that caught the eyes of businesses in Anchorage that needed help with marketing. Given that he started the company during the pandemic, most of Glacier’s initial work was remote. Green attended business calls with new contacts every day during his senior year in high school.
“I made it my identity,” says Green. “I used any conversation with friends and family to get my brand out. I talked with a lot of people on social media about forming an agency and about possibly working together. For the first month alone, I spent time connecting with like-minded people. Some became clients and some became mentors.”
Eventually, Glacier Marketing caught the attention of business owners. As he worked with local businesses like the Anchorage Wolverines hockey team and concert promoter Showdown Alaska, word got out. Green says his clients talk with others about their collaboration after seeing positive results in content developed by the Glacier Marketing team. Producing several viral videos gaining a million or more in engagement allowed Glacier Marketing to expand its services out of state after Green left Alaska for Indiana University.
Jordan Green (right) started Glacier Marketing Group last year while in high school in Anchorage. Now he’s attending Indiana University Bloomington. Jack Nelson (left), in charge of Glacier Marketing brand relations, is studying at the Wisconsin School of Business in Madison.
Greek Life for Glacier
In addition to creating viral videos for multiple platforms, Glacier Marketing started matching brands and influencers serving similar demographics. This included finding talent and negotiating contracts between parties. Since Green started college, Glacier’s focus recently turned to college athletes who can now market their image without losing their amateur eligibility, thanks to a recent rule change.
“When that came out in July 2021, we pivoted from a broad influencer agency to having a specific focus on creating a service called Glacier Athletes,” Green says. “Once a college athlete negotiates a contract with a school team, we want to manage their name, image, and likeness while they’re off the field.”
As a fellow college student, Green says he can make a larger impact by helping peers who are also sometimes his friends. Since he sees them on campus, he can get to know them, discuss their goals, and reach them better than another agent who barely knows them. Glacier Marketing helps athletes create content, earn verification status on social media platforms, and build a strategy of profitable partnerships. This includes event sponsorships, brand sponsorships, and live activations, such as live streams, interactive games, and Q&As. Live activations generally result in higher engagement and interaction through gamification.
One way he builds these relationships is through his fraternity Alpha Epsilon Pi, with famous alumni such as Mark Zuckerberg, Ron Popeil, and music manager Irving Azoff. For some, Greek life is a major distraction; however, Green finds it a great way to develop working relationships with influencers, college athletes, and other entrepreneurs.
“Brands are interested in working with fraternities since they have a direct connection to the younger demographic they are trying to reach,” says Green.
Making An Impression
Jordan Green creates content at the 2022 Sundown Solstice Festival in Anchorage.
One college-age entrepreneur collaborating with Glacier Marketing is Bolun Li, founder and CEO of financial app Zogo. The idea for the app started after Li sat through a financial wellness seminar in 2018 as an undergraduate student at Duke University. Despite the important information, Li found it difficult to connect with the presenter or the material—and neither could most of his classmates, who were on their phones instead. Li and two friends decided to make financial education fun and engaging for young adults.
Li says that Glacier reached out to Zogo’s head of growth to develop content and launch a video campaign on social media. The campaign focused on encouraging Gen Z to download the app and explore the modules. The videos went viral, gaining 32 million views and 860,000 likes on TikTok.
“We are always looking for partnerships,” says Li. “Glacier is helping us reach our goals.”
Green says the key is developing relatable content. For Zogo, his team used a bare-bones approach that fits TikTok’s trendy and easily digestible content. He says brands often don’t realize that less is more when it comes to social media content. Brands may also avoid creating trendy content if they feel it is too juvenile or if they don’t understand how to communicate their message in a way post-Millennial consumers can understand.
Kari (Bustamante) Ellsworth, a part owner of the Anchorage Wolverines and former vice president of marketing and communications for the team, says working with Glacier Marketing opened her eyes to social media marketing. Ellsworth says Green contacted her about developing a social media strategy as soon as the Wolverines were founded last year as part of the North American Hockey League. Even though she has an extensive background in media, Ellsworth admits that Green’s deep knowledge of alternative platforms revealed options for promoting the team she hadn’t considered.
“I didn’t know what the heck he was saying,” Ellsworth says with a laugh, “and that to me highlighted a real flaw in my approach.”
Glacier focused on creating a strategy that targeted 13- to 18-year-olds on platforms like Snapchat and TikTok. Ellsworth says this is the general age of players’ younger siblings, who would come to the games to cheer them on and encourage their friends and families to do the same. She says it quickly became clear that younger age groups aren’t motivated by the same content as older generations, especially when it comes to humor. For the Wolverines to succeed, Ellsworth says the team needed a close connection with the community. She says Glacier Marketing helped her speak a language on social media that she didn’t know and didn’t have much time to learn.
The metrics on the first video developed by Glacier Marketing resulted in more engagement than previous content developed by the Wolverines. Ellsworth says much of the content seems off the cuff at first, but Glacier understood how to analyze the numbers, identify the trends, and create a more refined content that maintained a strong flow of engagement. Though there is always a period of trial and error when it comes to content development, Ellsworth says Glacier quickly identifies the ideal length of videos, type of music, editing style, and how much text to use.
“With younger generations, it’s important to be cool,” says Ellsworth. “Cool is harder the older I get. I don’t speak cool. Jordan is cool, and he showed me what he does to connect with this demographic and why.”
Green encourages business owners to start working with a marketing agency as soon as possible so they can stay relevant with their target market, especially if their target market is a younger generation. He says the biggest mistake is to rely on traditional marketing only. Traditional marketing is primarily offline communication like print, radio, and television. He says younger generations primarily stream their content instead of watching live TV. While they might catch an occasional glimpse of a business’ message through these means, it won’t be enough to develop the cult-like following that influencers, celebrities, and social media savvy brands can.
Mason Henderson (left), a soccer player at University of Wisconsin Madison, signed a contract in April for Jordan Green (right) to market his name, image, and likeness.
From a generational perspective, Green says Glacier Marketing is poised to work with businesses that are interested in developing brand acceptance by Gen Z and the up-and-coming Gen Alpha, the generation of children born between 2011 and 2025, recently dubbed “Mini Millennials.” Technology plays a major role in this marketing perspective. Boomers created personal computers and Web browsers, and Gen X took an active role in developing social media, but they are considered “digital immigrants,” born and raised offline and with basic computer technology. It wasn’t until Millennials that a generation lived more online than off. Big advances in online gaming, search engines, social media, cell phones, and streaming grew as they grew.
Then came Gen Z. The generation born in 1996 and the early-to-mid 2000s are considered the first “digital natives,” a group of people who never knew life without the World Wide Web. Gen Z uses social media platforms daily, to the point that it’s as natural as eating. Green says some older generations feel that social media content creation is a cumbersome process, preferring instead to focus on daily operations instead of marketing.
“And it might be that a company has a great product,” says Green, “but it means nothing if no one knows anything about it.”
While Green is still a teenager, he is highly aware of how quickly the industry is changing. As Glacier Marketing Group grows, Green says the company will need to become cross-dimensional and intergenerational to stay sharp. He realized this as he was checking out his younger sister’s social media feed and noticed the differences between their content.
“The world is so digital that it’s easy to freak out,” says Green. “We’re here to help businesses adjust.”