A Guide to Marketing to Gen Z

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Generation Z, affectionately known as Gen Z, is a generation of tech-savvy, socially responsible youths born between 1996 and 2014. Why should marketers care about Gen Z? Gen Zers will have $44 billion in buying power. In addition, Gen Z accounts for 27% of the U.S. population. With the massive buying power and the significant population of the generation, Gen Z is impossible for marketers to ignore. 

1) Social media is Gen Z’s language, but they use it differently than everyone else

Gen Z and Millennials together spend the most time on social media out of all of the generations, with 43% of both Gen Zers and Millennials stating they use social media daily. However, the social media platforms Gen Zers and Millennials use differs. While Millennials tend to lean heavily towards Facebook and its messaging app (Facebook Messenger), Gen Zers are more interested in visual/video content. The four most used social media platforms for Gen Zers in October 2021, respectively, were YouTube (77%), Instagram (67%), TikTok (64%), and Snapchat (60%). One interesting point to note for marketers is TikTok’s exponential growth in the past year. In October of 2020, just 45% of Gen Zers used TikTok, but in only a year, that number has grown 19%. This growth should be an indication to marketers that TikTok could be an effective marketing tool. 

2) Keep it short and sweet

Eight seconds. That’s how long a marketer has to capture the attention of a Gen Zer. With attention spans getting shorter by the day, it’s becoming increasingly important to keep content short and engaging. Incorporating interactive content or using short-form videos can help quickly capture the attention of consumers. The short attention span of the younger generations is a large part of why social media apps like TikTok and Instagram have become so widely used, as these apps give marketers the opportunity to get their brand out there with only pictures and short videos. 

3) Share your brand’s values and beliefs  

Gen Zers want to better the world, and they have no problem speaking against (and not buying from) a brand that doesn’t. Gen Zers are 3x more likely to believe that a company has a role in improving society, so they will most likely not engage with a company that they believe doesn’t align with their ethical beliefs. In fact, 70% of Gen Zers try to purchase from companies they consider ethical. It’s important for brands to establish their values and beliefs up front, and ensure that if they speak out about social issues, it’s authentic and not just for reputation purposes. When companies exhibit authentic corporate social responsibility, it builds trust and loyalty with their customers, especially Gen Zers. 

4) Give your brand a personality

As mentioned above, marketers don’t have much time to make an impression on Gen Zers. Another important way to make your brand stand out to the younger generation is by giving your brand a personality. Gen Zers won’t be happy with the standard, curated content like generations before. They want to shop with a brand they can connect with, so they prefer companies with established personalities. For example, Nike has a personality of excitement, inspiration, and motivation. Their brand personality shows through their aspirational logo (“Just Do It”), ad campaigns (endorsements/commercials with popular athletes), and social media activity. Nike has established an extremely loyal customer base through showcasing its brand personality. Much like establishing your company’s values and beliefs, giving your brand a personality can help build trust among consumers. 

5) Don’t discredit influencer marketing 

Influencer marketing is a form of marketing that has blown up in the past few years. When most people think of influencer marketing, they think of large-scale celebrities like Selena Gomez and Ariana Grande. While big names like these can do wonders for your brand, for most companies it’s also very unrealistic to have the opportunity to work with mega-celebrities. Studies have shown that micro-influencers (anyone who has between 1,000 and 100,000 followers on social media) is actually more effective in driving engagement with Gen Zers than celebrities. Micro-influencers promote 60%  higher engagement levels and 22.2% more weekly conversions, while also being 6.7x more cost-efficient per engagement compared to larger influencers. Gen Zers prefer micro-influencers because they can relate to them more than celebrities, and therefore can trust what they have to say.

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Kaitlyn

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