Marketing to Gen Z: How to do it the right way

Marketing to Gen Z: How to do it the right way

For a very long time, the most common question I was asked was, “How can we reach millennials with marketing?” »

Today, the wheels are turning, and the main goal for many marketers is to reach a new generation of content-hungry consumers. And the question is, how do we target our marketing to Gen Z?

Generation Z, or “Zoomers,” is a pretty unique group of young adults and teens.

On the one hand, they have never known life without the Internet.

On the other hand, they bring enormous buying power to the table.

Interested now?

Let’s see how we can use available research, surveys and data to improve our marketing strategies and campaigns to reach the next biggest generation: Gen Z.

Is Gen Z hard to market to?

Generally, companies want to reach the widest audience to get the most return, right?

Well, Millennials may be the biggest consumer group today, and baby boomers have the most money to spend, but the power of Gen Z is growing.

A recent Bloomberg report shows that these young students and professionals have a disposable income of $360 billion.

This number will only increase.

Marketers are struggling with the best ways to market to Gen Z so they can get them to buy because traditional marketing methods just don’t work.

However, this turns out to be tricky, as Gen Z pays attention and spends money differently than previous generations.

What is Generation Z?

Generation Z is the collective of people born between 1997 and 2012. This makes the oldest people in this generation in their mid-twenties and the youngest about to become a tween this year.

The next generation after Generation Z is called Generation Alpha.

Zoomers are truly digital native. They have been online since childhood, using the internet, cell phones, social media, and even shopping from an early age.

Super comfortable with research and data collection, they have no problem moving from online to offline universes.

They are also the most educated generation to date.

How is Gen Z marketing different from other generations?

Well, they differ a bit, actually.

First, we need to understand what matters most to each generation.

This is often formed by the big events that happened during their formative years.

For example, while status is most important to Generation X (born between 1960 and 1979), Generation Y (born between 1980 and 1994) values ​​authentic experiences.

So what matters most to Gen Z?

According to research by McKinsey, the main driver of this generation is the search for truth.

Once marketers understand that Gen Z is very comfortable researching information and crossing data sources in their quest for truth, they will understand what content to produce to reach them.

Some additional information about Generation Z

Zoomers are faithful

It’s true! They are not as fickle and easily influenced as we first thought.

In fact, a report from the IBM Institute for Business Value and the National Retail Federation revealed some interesting trends around Gen Z and brand affinity.

  • 59% of respondents say they trust the brands they grew up with.
  • 46% of Zoomers cited having “a strong connection or loyalty” to a brand.
  • 66% stick to buying a favorite brand for a long time.

It shows that they want — and absolutely can — build and maintain relationships with the brands they connect with.

For this reason, it’s so important for brands to grow their Gen Z following.

Zoomers influence the whole family

This is true simply because the majority of Gen Zers are not yet fully independent adults and still live with their parents.

However, they generate income and influence family expenses, including food and drink (77%), furniture (76%), household items (73%), travel (66%) and outings to the restaurants (63%).

11 Strategies to Market to Gen Z

Whichever generation you are targeting, you need to understand who your ideal customer is.

You can’t just say, “We’re selling to Gen Z,” and that’s it.

You need to do the work to deeply understand who your target audience is: what their challenges are, what they like to do, what they love, what puts them off, and most importantly, what they expect from you. .

So this is the first step in marketing to Gen Z: get to know your audience.

However, this is true for all generations, not just Gen Z marketing strategies, which is not the subject of this article. We want to explore how brands can reach Gen Z in particular.

The best way to reach them is on social media and align yourself with their progressive approach to life. Here’s how.

1. Create channel-specific content

By this I mean that there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to multi-channel marketing.

Marketers often replicate a campaign and release it across multiple channels.

But there is a better way.

Create content that you share on TikTok with the TikTok audience in mind. Ditto for LinkedIn, Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, TV, etc.

These audiences are not even the same from a distance.

In fact, Gen Z prefers brands that know how to use each social media platform in unique ways, just like they do.

For instance:

  • Instagram for ambitious posts.
  • Snapchat for everyday moments.
  • TikTok for fun and trending challenges.
  • Twitter for news.
  • LinkedIn for career-focused content.

You need to integrate with the online social community you post to if you want your paid or organic content to be successful.

2. Be brief

Personalize content that appeals to a short attention span.

Gen Z loves platforms like Snapchat, TikTok, and Instagram that favor short videos.

Also, don’t forget to create mobile-optimized content.

3. Use video – a lot

This point follows from the previous one.

This first mobile generation devours video on its smartphone.

Although it’s no secret, it’s extremely effective in reaching that generation that grew up on YouTube and now TikTok.

4. Authenticity Champion

It is vitally important that your brand tone, voice and personality exude authenticity and credibility.

Show the people and values ​​behind the brand.

Invest in building lasting relationships.

Why? Generation Z prefers authentic brands. Also fun.

Use bloopers, behind-the-scenes videos, staff interviews, and anything else that can help foster a human connection.

Consider how most TikTok videos are shot on personal devices rather than expensive equipment or carefully produced videos.

Even if your budget is huge, you still need to keep it real.

5. Be transparent and accountable

It’s because the Zoomers are after the truth, remember?

The credibility of your brand is therefore very important for this generation of consumers.

The good news is that if you make a mistake, they have open arms for you when you take responsibility, are transparent, and accountable for change.

6. Go to influencer

I know you know this.

But I want to suggest a slightly different approach.

Rather than simply paying the influencer as a distributor of your products, position the influencer at the center of a strategy on their own.

The influencer still dominates this generation.

A recent report shows that 24% of Gen Z women and 16% of men are guided by influencers when it comes to purchasing decisions.

This is done commercially with great success with direct purchases, especially in China.

Influencers are a must in your marketing budget. They bring the community you want to reach.

No scripts, just authentic, transparent and fun.

7. Invite Gen Z to participate in your marketing

Novel, right? Don’t send your PR team to ask.

As long as it’s authentic, real, and fun, you can ask if they’ll be interviewed on camera.

You can ask if you can share their tweets or comments about your product.

Ask your best customers or Gen Z employees to contact them for this.

Good or bad, this kind of transparency creates real and lasting connections.

8. Invite everyone to create

Take advantage of platforms like TikTok that encourage content creation, engagement, and interaction.

If you can start a hashtag, trend, or challenge, like the Coca-Cola Challenge, you get incredible exposure.

Or join an existing hashtag and ride the wave.

9. Be fun and adventurous

Keep it fun.

I know that Zoomers are very sensitive to socio-economic and environmental issues, but the escape offered by social platforms attracts them to fun content.

Don’t shy away from creating adventurous and fun content.

10. Leverage user-generated content

Given their quest for truth, I find that user-generated content (UGC) often performs best with a Gen Z target audience.

What does this look like in your campaign?

Use images of real people and real customers rather than a photoshopped image.

Why is it good for business? Well, a recent survey shows that nearly 80% of people cite UGC as a reason to buy.

When asked to choose between a user-generated travel photo and an in-stock travel photo, 70% of Gen Zers say they’re more likely to trust a business more when it uses photos of real customers in its advertising.

11. Don’t give up on omnichannel marketing

Yes, we know Gen Z loves their phones.

However, they also like physical stores.

In fact, three times as many Gen Zers say they buy from a real retail store than online.

You must therefore reach the Zoomers at all their water points: social networks, YouTube, e-mail, streaming, etc.

Need more proof?

According to a report by Pitney Bowes and the CMO Council, 88% of Zoomers actually prefer a mix of digital and physical marketing.

Final Thoughts

The most important takeaway from all of this data is that Gen Z is not a secret entity. There is a large amount of data that reveals what they prefer when it comes to marketing and spending.

The best way to achieve them is to use platforms and tools wisely, with thought and with clear intent.

Whichever way you do it, you need to think about your marketing strategy to Gen Z consumers.

Their number, their influence and their purchasing power are increasing day by day.

Gen Zers are loyal and want to build relationships with authentic brands that stand for something.

Here’s to successful marketing to Gen Z when you use the information at your disposal to guide your strategies.

More resources:

Feature image: Nadia Snopek/Shutterstock

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