how to do it right

The most common question I’ve been asked for a long time has been, “How do we reach millennials with marketing?”

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

Gen Z or “Zoomers” is a rather unique group of young adults and teenagers.

For one thing, they’ve never known life without the Internet.

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

Interested now?

Let’s take a look at how we can use available research, surveys, and data to improve our marketing strategies and campaigns to resonate with the next largest generation: Gen Z.

Is Gen Z hard to market to?

Typically, companies want to reach the largest audience to get the best ROI, right?

Well, millennials may be the largest consumer group right now, and baby boomers have the most money, but the power of Gen Z is growing.

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

This number will only increase.

Marketers wrestle with the best ways to market to Gen Z so they can convince them to buy, as traditional marketing methods don’t work.

However, this is proving difficult as Gen Z pays attention and spends money differently than previous generations.

What is Generation Z?

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

The next generation after Gen Z is called Generation Alpha.

Zoomers are truly digital native. They have been online since childhood, using the internet, mobile phones, social networks and even go shopping from a young age.

They’re super savvy with research and data collection, and have no problem moving from online to offline universes.

They are also the most educated generation to date.

How is marketing for Gen Z different from other generations?

Well, they are actually quite different.

First we need to understand what is most important to each generation.

This is often shaped by the major events that happened in their formative years.

For example, while status matters most to Gen Xers (born 1960-79), millennials (born 1980-94) are all about authentic experiences.

So what matters most to Gen Z?

According to McKinsey research, the main drive for this generation is the search for truth.

Once marketers understand that Gen Z are very keen on searching for information and comparing and cross-referencing data sources in their quest for truth, they will understand what content they need to produce to reach them.

A few additional insights into Generation Z

Zoomers are loyal

That’s correct! They are not as fickle and easily influenced as we first thought.

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

  • 59% of respondents say they trust the brands they grew up with.
  • 46% of Zoomers said they have “a strong connection or loyalty” to a brand.
  • 66% buy from a favorite brand for a long time.

This shows that they want and can build and maintain relationships with the brands they are associated with.

This is why it is so important for brands to nurture their Gen Z customer base.

Zoomers affect the whole family

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

However, they do generate income and influence family spending, particularly food and beverages (77%), furniture (76%), household goods (73%), travel (66%) and eating out (63%).

11 Marketing Strategies to Gen Z

Regardless of which generation you are targeting your marketing to, you need to understand who your ideal customer is.

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

You have to do the work to understand exactly who your target audience is: what their challenges are, what they enjoy doing, what they like, what turns them off and, more importantly, what they expect from you.

So that’s the first step in Gen Z marketing: get to know your audience.

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

The best way to reach them is through social media and aligning with their progressive outlook on life. Here’s how.

1. Create channel-specific content

What I mean by this is that there is no magic formula when it comes to multi-channel marketing.

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

But there is a better way.

Create content you share on TikTok with TikTok audience in mind. The same goes for LinkedIn, Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, TV, etc.

These audiences aren’t even remotely the same.

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

For example:

  • Instagram for sophisticated posts.
  • Snapchat for everyday moments.
  • TikTok for fun and trendy challenges.
  • Twitter for updates.
  • LinkedIn for career-focused content.

You have to fit into the online social community you’re posting in if you want your paid or organic content to be a success.

2. Keep it short

Customize content that targets a short attention span.

Generation Z like platforms like Snapchat, TikTok and Instagram, which favor short videos.

Also, remember to create content that is mobile-friendly.

3. Use videos – a lot

This point follows from the previous one.

This mobile-first generation devours videos on their smartphones.

While this is no secret, it is hugely effective in reaching out to this generation that grew up on YouTube and now TikTok.

4. Champion Authenticity

It is vital 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. Fun too.

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

Keep in mind that most TikTok videos are filmed on personal devices, not expensive equipment or carefully produced videos.

Even if your budget is huge, you have to keep it realistic.

5. Be transparent and accountable

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

Therefore, your brand credibility is really important to this generation of consumers.

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

6. Go to the influencer

i know you know that

But I would like to propose a slightly different approach.

Instead of just paying the influencer as a distributor of your goods, position the influencer as the center of a very own strategy.

The influencer is still calling the shots in this generation.

A recent report shows that 24% of Gen Z women and 16% of men let influencers guide their purchasing decisions.

This is being done commercially with great success with live stream shopping, 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 get involved in your marketing

novel, right? Just don’t send your PR team to ask.

As long as it’s real, genuine, and funny, you can ask to be interviewed on camera.

They can ask to share their tweets or comments about your product.

Get your best Gen Z customers or Gen Z employees reaching out to you.

For better or worse, this kind of transparency creates real and lasting bonds.

8. Get everyone to create

Leverage 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’ll get incredible exposure.

Or join an existing hashtag and ride the wave.

9. Be fun and adventurous

Keep it fun.

I know Zoomers are very much in touch with socio-economic and environmental challenges, but the escape opportunities social platforms offer mean they are drawn to entertaining content.

Don’t avoid creating content that is adventurous and fun.

10. Use user-generated content

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

How does that look in your campaign?

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

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

When asked to choose between a user-generated trip photo and stock trips, 70% of Gen Z say they are most likely to trust a company more if it uses photos of real customers in its advertising.

11. Don’t give up on omni-channel marketing

Yes, we know Gen Z loves their phones.

But they also love stationary retail.

In fact, three times as many Gen Z say they shop in a brick-and-mortar retail store than online.

So you need to reach out to Zoomers at all of their watering holes: social media, YouTube, email, streaming, etc.

Need more evidence?

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

Final Thoughts

The key takeaway from all of this data is that Gen Z is not a mysterious entity. There is a massive amount of data showing what they prefer in terms of marketing and spending.

The best way to reach them is to use platforms and tools wisely, with deliberation, and with clear intent

Regardless of how you do it, you need to consider your marketing strategy for Gen Z consumers.

Their number, influence and purchasing power are growing day by day.

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

Here is successful marketing for Gen Z when you use the insights at your fingertips to guide your strategies.

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Featured Image: Nadia Snopek/Shutterstock

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