Is Your Marketing Strategy Ready for Gen Z?

September 22, 2017

Move over, Millennials. It’s time to focus your brand’s marketing strategy on the next generation of consumers: Generation Z.

If your business hasn’t had a conversation about how to market to Generation Z, it’s time to make it happen. This demographic is quickly taking over the marketplace, and their unique online habits and traits might just require different marketing strategies than you’ve been using.

Did you know that by 2020 — just a few years into the not-so-distant future — Gen Z will account for 40% of all consumers? This is a particularly crucial statistic for eCommerce (B2C and CPG marketers, take note!).

Let’s not waste another moment, and get right into the heart of how Gen Z is different from Millennials, and how to create a marketing strategy that will reach Gen Z.

What is Generation Z?

Gen Z is made up of those born from the mid-’90s to approximately 2010. They’ve been given a variety of nicknames, such as Plurals, Founders, iGeneration, and even simply Post-Millennials (because we still can’t get over that fascinating Gen Y).

Gen Z makes up 25% of the U.S. population, more than either Baby Boomers or Millennials.

What does Gen Z want?

If Gen Z is your brand’s target audience, you should really understand what makes them tick. Unlike the experience-seeking generation before them, Gen Z is growing up in the middle of uncertain and unstable times. They appreciate the value of a dollar, and place priority on education, career, and savings.

What else do we know about Gen Z?

Gen Z traits that marketers should consider:

  • They’re first generation that never knew life before smart phones, Internet, and social media
  • They’re more realistic and future-focused than Millennials
  • Their attention is often split five ways: smartphone, TV, laptop, desktop and tablet — 66% frequently use more than one device at a time
  • They prefer shopping in-store to online for ease of trying on/ testing/ returning items
  • They have an “8-second filter” for digital content, and are often multi-tasking
  • They recognize the value of their attention to brands
  • They have no patience for ads, and are prone to skipping over online areas they know to always contain advertising content
  • They expect to find what they seek easily, and will move on quickly if they don’t
  • Gen Z expects the highest quality content on all mediums; according to an IBM survey, 60% will abandon a website or app that loads too slowly
  • They grew up adept at texting and use messaging apps more than other generations

Tips for marketing to Gen Z

Like all generation-based approaches, it’s always important to think about how you’ll use the information you gather from industry market reports.

Just as you should understand how much of your target audience (if any) is in Gen Z before marketing to them, remember that the online traits of Gen Z audience subsets vary from industry to industry. CPG marketing to Gen Z is going to be quite different from the way law schools market to them!

  • Curate a polished, vibrant look and feel on all of your digital content – and make sure it looks equally awesome across all devices
  • Use copy and visuals to create value for your Gen Z audience and help them to find or achieve what they want, rather than pushing your product at them
  • Be everywhere: don’t limit your marketing strategy to just one type of ad content or one social platform
  • Tap into the power of micro-influencers to reach them in an authentic way that they will trust. Read our Complete Guide to Micro-Influencer Marketing to get started!
  • Make information easily accessible, and quick to digest (in 8 seconds or less)
  • Place a strong emphasis on visual content — images, infographics, and videos
  • Allow ample opportunity for your Gen Z audience to provide feedback, contribute their opinions and content, and to feel like collaborators
  • Utilize messaging and shopping apps in your digital marketing strategy to allow Gen Z shoppers to quickly ask questions, find what they need, make purchases, and engage with your brand in real time — here are some great ideas!
  • Show — don’t tell — how your brand is making a difference in the world and why it’s worthy of their attention

What are common mistakes in Gen Z marketing?

Now that you’ve got all kinds of ideas for how to market to Gen Z, you’re ready to kick off your new and improved marketing strategy! Here are a few last pointers to prevent you from making a major blunder.

1. Don’t assume that Gen Z has a short attention span

While this generation expects to find results post-haste, that doesn’t mean they lack focus. Growing up with the answers to all of their questions only a few clicks away has made them incredibly self-reliant, and able to truly obsess over any topic that catches their interest. They can spend hours, weeks, or more researching any subject, which means they still appreciate thorough content — as long as it’s presented in an easily digested manner (think more visuals, less long chunks of copy).

2. Don’t use social platforms as a one-way street

Social media is not just a quick way for your company to broadcast its wares to teenagers! Of course you want to be in front of your audience, wherever they are, and Gen Z is all over social media. But instead of shouting about how awesome your brand is, use social to listen to what they want, and adapt both your marketing strategy and your products or services from those insights.

3. Don’t assume that Gen Z only wants the latest technology

While this generation is more tech savvy than any before, that doesn’t mean your brand should leap on every emerging tech trend in the hopes of impressing them. Place top priority on what will create the best user experience for them. For example, Gen Z are actually less likely to use voice search than other generations, because it isn’t yet as quick or accurate as text-based communication. Adopt AI, VR, and other tech only if you can deliver a smooth, efficient experience.

We hope that you now feel armed and ready to go forth and create your Gen Z marketing strategy. If you need help with social media, design, copywriting, or even adapting your website UI and UX to create a more optimal Gen Z experience, reach out to us:

Get your marketing ready for Gen Z

By Kendall Beck, Assistant Account Executive and Pam Berg, Content Marketing Specialist