Gen Z is the first age group to have grown up fully in the digital era. Marketing to this group presents challenges given how quickly digital trends come and go. In this post, we’re going to tell you everything you need to know about this generation and some of the ways your business can appeal to these consumers.
What is Gen Z?
Generation Z is made up of those born between 1997 and 2012.
Right now, those that belong to Gen Z are roughly between the ages of 9 and 24 years old. In December 2015, Entrepreneur wrote that Gen Z has a buying power of $44 billion, and it was expected to grow. As a digital marketer, it’s important to understand this up-and-coming generation: who they are, what they value, and how they want to spend their time and money.
How is Gen Z Different from Millennials (Gen Y)?
While Gen Z and millennials are alike when it comes to their familiarity with technology, it’s important to recognize the key differences between the two generations if you plan to market to them. Here are some common characteristics and interests of Gen Z:
- Dependent on technology, as they grew up with and have a deeper connection to it
- Often interested in gaming or music
- Typically very active and present on the internet and social media
- Read reviews and rely on word-of-mouth for purchasing decisions
- On top of trends and quick to research issues
- Tend to be more open-minded and accepting of others
- Interested in making a difference and enacting change
- Appreciate quality products and brands that demonstrate value
Marketing Strategies to Reach Gen Z
Understanding Gen Z is essential if you want to attract those customers to your brand. Let’s get into some tips on how to market to Gen Z.
1. Create Engaging and Interactive Content
The first step to reaching your Gen Z audience is to create eye-catching content that interests them enough to make them want to engage with it. Engaging with your audience will help raise your brand awareness. It’s also important to try out different kinds of content that users can interact with—quizzes, polls, and infographics are a great place to start.
2. Take Advantage of Social Media
The National Retail Federation found that Gen Z spends 4.5 hours on social media daily, with the most popular platforms being Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok.
Your brand likely already deploys a social media strategy. Given what we know about Gen Z behaviors and preferences, social media tactics to reach them could include the following:
- Developing informative, educational content in the form of short-form videos rather than image posts.
- Using trending hashtags to expand your audience and boost engagement on your posts.
- Responding to comments from users or using direct messaging, which creates a more personable experience.
- Creating polls to invite followers to give input on new products and services.
3. Use Video
With Gen Z spending a significant amount of time on YouTube and TikTok, it is evident that video has become an effective tool for digital marketing. Both Gen Z and millennials significantly increased their mobile and social media video consumption in 2020, according to a study by Omnicom Media Group and Snap Inc.
The key to creating engaging video content is making sure it is personal, relatable, and shareworthy; sometimes the shorter the video, the better. Currently, TikTok’s maximum video length is 3 minutes, while Instagram Reels is 60 seconds.
4. Practice Social Listening
With social listening, you can get a better idea of what topics and issues your customers find most important. It will help you to understand what they’re talking about and how they feel about it.
It’s important to embrace feedback and reviews from customers and improve upon them to help manage your brand image, or how your brand is perceived by customers. Maintaining a positive online reputation is key to building trust. Gen Z appreciates businesses that humanize their brand. Inserting your brand’s “voice” into marketing and communication efforts creates a user experience that is both more personable and memorable.
Forbes described 2021 as the Age of Transparency for Gen Z. It’s important to be transparent about where you stand as a business on societal issues because, well, Gen Z cares. Taking a neutral stance on social justice issues out of fear of offending someone can actually hurt your business more than it can help; silence is louder than you think.
Gen Z values authentic experiences. This “preoccupation with authenticity” causes the majority of Gen Z to scrutinize the motives of large brands, making it difficult to maintain trust with them. It’s vital to amplify your brand’s values and align your actions and marketing messaging appropriately. Take the opportunity to revisit your brand’s core values.
The high expectations that Generation Z consumers have can be a little intimidating. Make an effort to create visually appealing, share-worthy content without compromising your beliefs. There’s value in using your brand to tell a story; be realistic and relatable.
Looking to reach Gen Z but not sure where to start? WTM can help you develop a strategy to acquire loyal Gen Z customers utilizing a variety of digital marketing tactics. Contact us for more information.