5 Essential Strategies to Market to Generation Z

By: Dahlia Farhat

Marketing to Millennials has been fun, but now it’s time to shift our focus to the up and coming generation, Generation Z, a cohort consisting of anyone born between 1996 and 2009. Of course, we still have to market to Millennials for years to come, but as Generation Z is starting to enter the workforce and gaining buying power, it’s time to understand their mindset and build our Generation Z customer base. The first thing you’ve got to know is that marketing to them will not be easy. This generation is unique and different from the previous ones. They are the first generation to grow up immersed in technology. Unlike millennials who are tech-savvy, Gen Z’s are tech natives, who grew up with iPads and mobile devices, and do not remember a time before the internet.

Wait till you hear this: They don’t check their emails, have an attention span of 8 seconds, and basically ignore any business that isn’t online!

Don’t worry or feel pressured though, we are here to help!
Here are five marketing strategies you can use to reach out to Generation Z and increase your brand awareness, leads, and sales.

1. Sell Experiences, not Products

Advertising fatigue - the feeling a person gets after a digital ad follows them everywhere they go online - is the exact feeling Gen Z is facing. Gen-Zers are not interested in hard sales. Why? Well, it’s because they have grown up with easy access to the internet and they are just immune to marketing campaigns that feature direct and insisting language. The hard sales approach is designed to persuade a customer into buying a product or service in a short time, without weighing out their options. This would never work on members of Generation Z, as it is way too obvious for them and they can easily spot poor advertising attempts targeted at them. Plus, they don't want to hear about why your product is so amazing. They want to know how your product can impact their lives and what benefits it can bring them. It was reported that 78% of Gen-Zers choose to spend their money on experiences rather than buying something tangible. Thus, it is the experiences they seek from a product, not necessarily the features it holds. Sharing experiences have become the norm for members of Gen Z.

Take Zara for example. Zara’s success is built on affordably priced clothing, limited quantities, and focuses on the imitation of designer brands. So, you might wonder why Gen- Zers buy into their brand? It’s that fast fashion experience, which is their formula to success. The combination between frictionless shopping in a highly curated environment, combined with the scarce supply of clothing and continuous introduction of new styles every other week, is what gives Gen-Zers the ability to quickly and efficiently navigate through the store or online to find their hidden gems. Gen-Zers have complete access to the latest fashion trends that is projected through all of Zara’s marketing channels. If you go to their Instagram, you will see fashionistas dressed in catwalk designed clothing, projecting high quality and luxurious flair. That just goes to show how good they are at selling a fast fashion experience. You’ll see exactly what we mean when we say they know how to sell an experience. Don’t you also get that classy vibe projected through their clothing and that you need to get it now before it's not available?

2. Partner with Micro-Influencers

Say goodbye to paid actors in your commercials or social media advertisements. Unlike Gen X or Millennials, Gen-Zers are not interested in celebrity content. Gen-Zers want to hear from someone that they can relate to. Google stated that 70% of Gen Z Youtube subscribers relate more to Youtube stars than traditional celebrities. Therefore, if you are going down the influencer route, opt for micro-influencers. Micro-influencers are individuals with around 1000-100,000 followers on social media. Members of Gen Z see micro-influencers as a trusted source and even as their virtual friend. Your marketing campaigns should consist of individuals that share the same struggles, beliefs, or mindset of the Gen Z audience you wish to target. According to research conducted by Fullscreen, 44% of Gen-Zers bought a product that was recommended by a “digital creator.” Also, micro-influencers drive a 60% higher engagement level and 22% more of weekly conversions than influencers with large followings.

Calling out all small businesses out there, you're in luck. This is because micro-influencers are far more accessible and cost-effective than celebrity influencers. Small influencers would be happy to share your product on social media or in a video if you offer them a free sample. It would also be effective to offer micro-influencers 3 free samples: one for themselves, and to use the other two in a giveaway to reward their followers and increase engagement with the brand. Something important to note though is that perfectly curated and staged images on Instagram, for example, just won’t cut it. Millennials fell for aesthetically pleasing images of products, however, Gen-Zers are ditching brands that use this social media or influential marketing approach. Members of Generation Z favor a brand that showcases its products in a more unfiltered and authentic way. So, be sure to keep that in mind and start reaching out to micro-influencers in your niche. For more information on how to connect with micro-influencers, get started by reading this article: Influencer Outreach: How to Connect with Micro-Influencers.

3. Highlight your Dedication to Privacy

If you respect Gen-Zers' privacy, they will respect your brand. According to Research conducted by NGen, 88% of members of Gen Z agreed with the statement: “Protecting my privacy is very important to me.” Additionally, according to the survey, Uniquely Generation Z, conducted by IBM, less than a third of Gen-Zers are comfortable with sharing their personal information, other than contact or purchase history, online. On the other hand, 61% of them said they were fine sharing their personal details, as long as they were sure that the brand taking that information could be trusted and would protect it.

This is the perfect chance for your business to shine amongst all others. A NEED is recognized, all you have to do is DELIVER. So the next time you need to collect some personal information from a Gen-Zer, make sure to do so with transparency and highlight your commitment to keeping their data safe and secure. Gen-Zers gravitate towards brands they perceive as transparent, honest, and straightforward regarding their business practices. Furthermore, Gen-Zers likes working with more anonymous and private content on apps such as Snapchat, Whisper, and Secret. Thus, brands should engage on these channels to connect one-on-one with Gen-Zers, just the way they like it.

4. Create Story-driven Campaigns

Compared to Millennials who have an attention span of 12 seconds, Gen-Zers only have an attention span of 8 seconds, which is less than a goldfish. It is getting more difficult to reach them. Additionally, members of Gen Z can bounce between 5 digital platforms at the same time (screens), while Millennials can only bounce between 3. This means that Gen-Zers hate non-skippable ads, pop-ups, and long-form content. On average, a Gen-Zer will click skip on an ad after 9.5 seconds. So, if you're thinking about targeting Gen Z with video ads, it would be best if you opt for short format content such as Youtube bumper ads, which only last 6 seconds. Don’t think about trying to target them with blogs, because they won’t read it - Remember: attention span and engagement!

Reaching Gen Z all depends on you being where they are. So where are they? Constantly online and on social media. Did I also mention that they LOVE videos? So, all you have to do is create snackable video content for social media. Snackable content is short, sweet, and filling - the perfect recipe to catch Gen Z into your customer base. This is where Instagram Stories, Snapchat, and Facebook stories can come into play. Creating bite-sized videos on these channels can really make a difference, as Gen Z will have something easily accessible, understandable, and attention-grabbing to consume. Stories are also great because Gen-Zers love sharing content and could easily share the most engaging content with friends and family directly.

5. Optimize the Mobile Experience

Generation Z is highly mobile-oriented. They spend an average of 4 hours and 15 minutes on their phones each day and 15.4 hours per week - more than on any other device. Gen-Zers use their phones for everything. They have even developed into a generation of mobile shoppers - most of them use their smartphones to purchase things online. It is not surprising that Gen-Zers prefer to shop online rather than go to an actual store. The main reason they prefer this is for convenience. Online shopping allows Gen-Zers to find better deals, see multiple brands, and is faster than physically going to a store. Therefore, make sure your business is optimized for mobile devices through a responsive website and always creating content with mobile devices in mind. Learn more about how to design a website for Gen Z by reading this comprehensive article: Designing a Website for Gen Z: How to Capture a Generation.
Final Thoughts

Marketing to Generation Z will not be easy. At first glance, Generation Z and Millennials seem pretty similar, and you might think that refined marketing tactics used for Millennials could be used to target Generation Z. But once you’ve scratched the surface, you'll see that there is much more to take into account. Even young millennials that thought they knew everything about Gen Z were wrong. However, don’t be discouraged! We believe that by incorporating these tips into your digital marketing strategy, you will be able to boost your brand’s trust and loyalty with your new audience. Embrace the changes and discover all the new and exciting ways you can promote your business!