The ABCs of Marketing To Gen Z

One of the most fundamental concepts when it comes to marketing strategies is knowing your target market. Without an understanding of who your audience is, how they think and what they want, even the best digital marketing agency in Brisbane (or the world for that matter) is going to find their campaigns falling flat.

As far as inter-generational marketing goes, marketing to Gen Z might be one of the toughest challenges the industry has faced. Who are they? Why are they important? How do they think? And how do you market to them?

Let’s dive into the ABCs of everything marketing to Gen Z.

Gen Z – a new generation

Gen Z is the demographic term used to refer to people born between the years of 1997 and 2012. In many circles, they’re referred to as digital natives and for good reason. They are the first generation to grow up with the internet and associated technology forming a significant and integral part of their lives.

This means they’re pretty unique. Unlike all the generations that preceded them, ‘Zoomers’ don’t know what life was like without the internet. From using the internet itself to access to smartphones, Gen Z have lived their entire lives being exposed to social networks, the world wide web and ecommerce websites.

This has fundamentally influenced how they have grown up and impacted their habits in terms of consumption, communication and character.

In a nutshell, they are largely considered to be among the most globally-oriented, diverse and content-hungry generation. Despite their exposure to the wide, wide world, they’re individually minded and highly interested in social, political and hot topic issues. Even their prioritisation of ‘the search for truth’ is relatively unique compared to other generations. In many respects, they are among the most educated generations to date.

The marketing challenge of Gen Z

Baby boomers are currently the generation with the most money to spend, which in many respects makes them the consumers with greatest abundance. Millennials currently form the majority of consumers, which means they’re the most abundant consumers.

However, times are changing. Gen Z are growing up and as they do, their consumer power, access to increased disposable income and market influence is growing as well. Marketing strategies and channels that worked with baby boomers and even Gen X are no longer the right ways of going about connecting with Gen Z. Traditional marketing may still have its place and utility, but a fundamental shift needs to occur for effective captivation of Gen Z’s attention and interest.

Marketing to this newer generation can be challenging for those unaware of the subtleties of their mindset. For example, Gen Zers tend to be a lot more loyal to brands. While other generations might be swayed through competitive pricing, improved features or new product lines, many younger consumers prefer to stick with brands they feel affinity to, are accustomed to or have grown up with.

Additionally, due to being digital natives, highly educated, and highly individually opinionated, Gen Z consumers exert considerable influence over their friends and family. From a marketing standpoint, this of course presents even greater potential for success with the right campaign and strategy, and conversely even greater opportunity cost through the wrong approach.

A note on generational generalisations

It is important to note that while we refer to Gen Z as an homogeneous group, and there are certainly trends amongst the generation, every person is unique. As they are in any generation. Characterising Gen Z as a group should not give you the false impression that a one-size-fits-all marketing approach is the best option. People are different and vary, even within a group such as Gen Z.

However, for simplicity and practicality, we’ll continue talking in generational generalisations in this article. Though we highly recommend you speak to a professional marketing agency, like our team here at GO Creative, for a more nuanced, targeted and integrated marketing approach.

Tips and Tactics for Marketing To Gen Z

1. Use the channels they use

Baby boomers might be most familiar and comfortable with traditional channels of marketing, such as TV ads, radio, newspaper or print. However, in a world of saturated content and many, many channels, a single approach to multiple channels won’t make the cut.

Of course, it should go without saying that you should be marketing through the channels that Gen Z actually use and trust, such as TikTok, Snapchat, and Instagram. However, simply knowing the platforms your target audience uses is just the first step.

While from the outside it might seem like different social media channels are the equivalent of different TV channels (i.e., fundamentally the same), the truth is the opposite. There are subtle but integral differences between the way Gen Z uses Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok, for example.

For instance, Instagram is used for content curation, from perfect holiday snaps to aspirational quotes. Snapchat is used as a tool for sharing everyday life moments. While TikTok is (largely) purely fun and filled with trends and viral dances or challenges.

Make sure to consider what and where you’re posting your marketing content before sharing.

2. Emphasis on video

Gen Z consumes, first and foremost, videos on their smartphone. In fact, young adults and teenagers are spending more time on TikTok than watching TV!

Effective marketing to this generation must be focused primarily on sharing short videos that caters to their brief yet insatiable attention span. Long, highly polished and produced videos are simply not going to cut it.

Keeping on top of trends with short, punchy and relatable content is a far more effective way of marketing to Gen Z.

3. Focus on authenticity

You might feel like a focus on authenticity in marketing and advertising is nothing new. After all, no consumer wants to feel like the brand they’re supporting is inauthentic.

For Gen Z, this prioritisation of authenticity is taken a step (or two) further. They want to engage with a brand’s personality and the people behind the posts/videos/content. The last thing they are looking for when building a long-term association with a brand is that the marketing content is bland, corporate and–the ultimate sin–inauthentic.

Bear in mind these principles of authenticity:

  • Be accountable.
  • Be transparent.
  • Be personable.
  • Be real.

4. Leverage influencer marketing

Influencers are more than a loose term thrown around about anyone with a significant number of followers on social media. A true influencer will, as their name suggests, be able to influence the opinions and therefore purchasing decisions of their fans and followers.

Businesses and brands can leverage the power of influencers to promote their products. The effect an influencer can have simply cannot be matched because–remember the focus on authenticity?–a trusted influencer goes a much longer way towards convincing and changing the behaviour of Gen Z than any marketing campaign can.

Remember: Though there is nothing wrong with influencer marketing, there are still ethical and legal obligations to consider. All paid sponsorship must be done in accordance with relevant regulations as well as in line with public opinions and perceptions.

5. Channel your inner creative

Gen Z might focus a lot on social and political issues, but when it comes to media consumption their first love is fun and adventure. All of your Gen Z marketing content should be as fun, light-hearted and bouncy as possible.

Of course, professional marketers can help do this for you. But for those of you looking for extra tips, here are some ways of infusing creativity and fun into your marketing:

  1. Hire Gen Z marketers.
  2. Invite customers/clients to partake in your marketing.
  3. Crowdsource ideas from your followers.
  4. Try out new ideas and be bold.
  5. Keep on top of recent trends.

Need a marketing hand? Let’s GO!

Connecting and marketing to Gen Z can be a struggle for some businesses but the potential and opportunity is tremendous. The team here at GO Creative might be known mostly as a web development company, but the truth is our digital marketing agency in Brisbane is more than capable of providing holistic, targeted and tailored marketing consultation to businesses of all sizes and types.

We’ve made it our business to understand marketing across demographics, Gen Z included, and we’d love nothing more than to share our expertise with you for the benefit of your organisation. Keen to know more? Get in touch with us for a stress-free and pressure-free chat today!

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