A Quick Guide to Marketing to Generation Z

Post-Millennials. Homeland Generation. iGeneration. Generation Z.

Label them what you will (or don’t, because they don’t like it), but you can’t ignore them. Gen Z represents a large piece of the market and is a huge opportunity for business growth – they hold $44 billion in buying power and $600 billion if you consider the influence on their parents’ spending! What’s even more fascinating is Gen Z is expected to represent 40 percent of the American consumer population by 2020. They might not be your demographic presently, but they’ll be sure to throw a wrench in how you conduct marketing if you don’t pay attention now.

Gen Z Defined

Generation Z is anyone born between 1996-2012 and represents more than a quarter of America’s population. Some on the older range of the spectrum are graduating college, while most are still living at home, which plays a large role in how Gen X and Boomers are being influenced to spend their money.

They value human equality, family, individuality, personal success, financial security, and authenticity/transparency. Generation Zers are innovators, entrepreneurs, do-gooders, and resourceful, especially since they grew up during a recession (however, unlike the depression back in the times of Baby Boomers and Traditionalists).

Unlike their Millennial counterparts, Gen Z uses their social platforms a bit more strategically: Snapchat for real-life moments (FOMO!), Instagram shares for who they aspire to be, and Twitter as their news source. They don’t entirely avoid Facebook, but Gen Z isn’t as prevalent on this platform.

Simple enough, right? If you look closely, you’ll find that Gen Z is really misunderstood. In fact, they’ll practically give you what you need to know to help them make a purchase decision. Don’t miss your opportunities; chances are, if you build it properly, they will come. Check out these tips to market to this formidable generation.

Keep it Digital and Use Your Data

Gen Z lives and breathes their mobile devices and social media. In fact, Gen Zers use five screens on average – a smartphone, TV, laptop, desktop, and iPod/iPad. And, although alarming, 79 percent of Generation Z consumers display symptoms of emotional distress when they’re kept away from their personal electronic devices. They prefer doing just about anything and everything online – shopping, learning, reading, etc. So why change up the scenery? Plus, with social and content marketing, there are opportunities to create lockable content to collect tremendous amounts of data on your buyers. Use it to your advantage.

Consider the following:

  • Leverage user-generated content
  • Focus less on landing pages, text, and email campaigns
  • Create unique and personalized campaigns
  • Use native social apps like Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat

However, it’s worth noting that Gen Z is far more private than Millennials. They love anonymous social media networks like Snapchat, Secret, and Whisper.

Simplicity is Key

One Mississippi; two Mississippi; three Mississippi; four Mississippi; five Mississippi; six Mississippi; seven Mississippi, eight Mississippi.

Would your brand’s messaging get the point across in those eight seconds? We hope so. The average Gen Zer has the attention span of about eight seconds. Forget long-form content. For this generation, it is a thing of the past. They want content that is relevant, precise, and can be instantly consumed. In addition, they prefer short texts to email. Engaging through video – like Instagram or Snapchat – is a big deal for this generation.

And, just a reminder: Traditional sales approaches just won’t work on Gen Z. Storytelling is the way to go with this group. You’ll want to communicate your value proposition (clear and quickly) and “why” your product or service will help them in their daily lives. Otherwise, you’ve probably lost them….

The Power of Searching and Sharing

Gen Z is considered extreme researchers. They know where and how to find information, and they use these tools to their full advantage in making purchase decisions. Whether it’s celebrity endorsements, customer reviews, comparison charts, or a promotion, they’ll do their homework to be informed on the good, the bad, and the ugly. If your brand has a heavy social media presence, you’ll want to consider influencer marketing with this generation. Genuine and well-planned influencer marketing can easily help boost your brand’s appeal.

Opinions matter – and, they’re not afraid to voice them. Whether it’s a product review or a political stance, Gen Z is prone to having strong opinions – especially in regards to brands they support. On the other end of the spectrum, they can destroy your brand with just one click. You’ll want to make sure you’re continuously engaging as Gen Z crowdsources their opinions before and after they interact with you, whether that’s a purchase, a service call, or an event.

All in all, Gen Z wants to feel a part of your brand and to make the world a better place. They’re typically committed to causes that align with their beliefs. If you give them a great experience from their research stage to their buying decision, you’re likely to be successful.

Struggling to connect with this generation? Let’s develop a solid Gen Z approach for your brand through social and content generation – contact us today!

Don’t forget to check out our other posts on Gen Z: Print from a Gen Z Perspective and Gen Z…What Makes Us Tick?

Article written by:

McKenzie Decker

Marketing Manager