5 Ways to Market to Gen Z

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As we all know, with each new generation comes a different mindset, behaviors, and attitudes. For those in the role of marketer, it’s important to keep these differences in mind when trying to reach our intended audience. If you’re trying to advertise a product or service to Generation X, the strategies should look completely different when trying to advertise the same product or service to Generation Z.

Marketing to Gen Z is something every company needs to consider. Gen Z will make up roughly 27% of the workforce by 2025. With increased income comes stronger buying power, and Gen Z speaks with their dollars.

Who is Generation Z?

Generation Z includes those born in the mid-1990s to the early 2000s. Gen Z includes today’s teenagers and those in their early 20s. That means the oldest members of Generation Z are in college or just graduating, thus entering the workforce and starting to make their own buying decisions.

How to Market to Gen Z

Marketing to Gen Z is unique in the way they find ads and connect with messaging. Here’s how you can reach the Gen Z audience through key marketing strategies:

1. Video Content

The best-performing content on any social media platform is video. Visual content is easier for all audiences to digest, but Gen Z is more likely to watch a video than to read a post or article. According to Think With Google, surveys show that a majority of teenagers and young adults turn to YouTube videos to expand their knowledge on a subject, or learn a new life skill, as well as for entertainment.

2. Develop Mobile-First Content

Recent studies show 75% of Gen Zers prefer mobile devices to other options. When marketing to Gen Z, media is mobile-first. The generation is more likely to engage with content designed for mobile devices, such as videos, stories, and GIFs.

Additionally, 25% of study respondents stated they spend more than five hours a day on mobile devices. Activities include shopping, texting, and chatting with their friends as well as playing games and accessing entertainment and news. 

3. Customer Engagement

As mentioned earlier, Gen Z expects brands to engage with their customers. Brands that acknowledge and reply to Twitter and Instagram mentions from customers perform best with this generation. This level of engagement and customer service is essential to Gen Z determining the authenticity of a brand and building brand trust.

When executed well, brands will see a boost from user-generated content. Gen Z is generous to the brands they favor and will encourage their friends to use their spending power to rally behind companies they trust.

4. Social and Environmental Responsibility

Larry Milstein explains, “Gen Zers are much more inclined to vote with our dollars, and believe a brand’s values are a reflection of our own.”

While not always consistent, Gen Z is careful about the companies they choose to support. 55 percent of Generation Z choose brands that are socially responsible or environmentally friendly. Companies making efforts to reduce their carbon footprint, contribute to charitable organizations or provide benefits to support their employees are all looked at favorably by Gen Zers.

Social issues often feel like a field full of landmines these days, and some brands have certainly been harmed by poorly executed marketing campaigns. While the instinct may be to avoid taking a stand on anything, that’s also a mistake. 

Your brand has the ability to align your social responsibility with your mission statement. For example, as a small business filled with entrepreneurs, SMA Marketing extends microloans around the world through Kiva. We invest in other businesses as we grow our own company!

5. Have a Social Media Presence

Ultimately, Generation Z is a group that researches brands as a whole before investing or purchasing. As we’ve already said, they are searching for a company that they can trust. The reality is they are looking for these connections on social media. Gen Z seeks companies trying to make the world a better place and will hear their voice when needed. The best way to get their attention is with short, entertaining videos on social media platforms like Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok. Which platform should you focus on? Well, that depends on your products, service, and buyer persona. You may find that your public social media channels don’t receive a lot of interaction, but an online community connect to a platform thrives. Experiment with the tech and see what works. 

6. Sell Experiences

One trait Gen Z (and Millenials) is known for is favoring experiences or making memories rather than owning material goods. For brands who are selling material goods, your strategy should make owning the product seem like an experience. For example, clothing brands like Chanel and stores like Bloomingdale’s are creating pop-up shops based on trucks and vans, putting a spin on the food truck trend.

To get started on your Gen Z marketing campaign, download our free guide to planning an inbound marketing strategy.

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