Why Your Marketing Needs a Gen Z Makeover?

Why Your Marketing Needs a Gen Z Makeover?

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    Gen Z is a unique generation, shaped by different experiences than those who came before them.  There’s no single definition of exactly who belongs to Gen Z, but the Pew Research Center defines it as anyone born in or after 1997.  This generation is growing in influence and spending power, making them a valuable target audience for marketers.  However, reaching Gen Z requires understanding their preferences and what makes them tick.  This blog post will explore some key strategies for effectively marketing to this important demographic.

    Generation Z: The Digital Natives

    Generation Z, also known as Zoomers, are people born between 1997 and 2012. This means the oldest members of Gen Z are in their mid-twenties, while the youngest are about to enter their tween years (ages 9-12). They are the generation that follows Millennials and precedes Generation Alpha.

    What makes Gen Z unique is that they are truly digital natives. They have been using the internet, mobile phones, social media, and even online shopping since they were very young. This constant online connection has made them comfortable with researching information and collecting data. They can easily switch between the online and offline worlds.

    Gen Z is an important demographic for businesses to reach. While Millennials are currently the largest group of consumers, and Baby Boomers have the most money to spend, Gen Z’s buying power is growing rapidly. A recent report by Bloomberg states that Gen Z, even though young students and working professionals, already hold a significant amount of disposable income – a whopping $360 billion. This number is expected to increase substantially in the coming years.

    However, marketing to Gen Z is proving to be a challenge. Traditional marketing methods don’t resonate with them because they pay attention to and spend their money differently than previous generations. This makes it tricky for businesses to capture their interest and convert them into paying customers.

    Marketing to Gen Z vs. Millennials in 2024

    Millennials and Gen Z are often called “digital natives” because they grew up with technology. A recent Statista study highlights this, showing that 62% of both generations purchased something due to social media marketing in March 2021. However, there are some key differences between these two groups that marketers should consider. Let’s break it down:

    • Higher Education: Gen Z is more likely to pursue education beyond high school. In the US, 57% of Gen Z continued their studies compared to 52% of Millennials. This suggests Gen Z may have different career aspirations and financial situations compared to Millennials.
    • Diversity: America’s Gen Z is more racially and ethnically diverse than Millennials. 50% of Gen Z identifies as Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) compared to 39% of Millennials. This means your marketing should be inclusive and resonate with a wider range of cultural backgrounds.
    • Progressive Values: Both generations lean liberal, but Gen Z might be slightly more progressive. They’re more likely to support causes like same-sex marriage, racial equality, and using gender-neutral pronouns. Understanding their social values can help tailor your message to align with the issues they care about.

    How to Market Gen Z Effectively: 10 Best Practices 

    1. Putting Values First

    Gen Z isn’t just interested in what you sell, they want to know who you are as a company. Transparency and authenticity are key factors in building trust with this generation.  A whopping 45% of Gen Zers say a brand that appears trustworthy and transparent is much more likely to grab their attention.

    This means your social media marketing shouldn’t be all about pushing sales. Instead, focus on creating content that clearly communicates your brand’s values and shares your story. Let them see what you stand for.

    For example, if you’re a clothing company trying to reach Gen Z, be upfront about where and how your clothes are made. Are they produced ethically? What materials are used? This level of transparency goes a long way in building trust with this socially conscious generation.

    2. Speaking Gen Z Langauge 

    Communication is crucial for connecting with Gen Z.  Understanding their language is key. If you’re not familiar with their slang, acronyms, and humour, it’s time to learn!

    Here’s a simple plan: Follow Gen Z content creators and watch their videos. Pay close attention to the words they use, the funny terms they’ve invented (acronyms!), and the jokes they find funny. Once you get comfortable, you can start incorporating some of this language into your content. But be careful!

    Important Tips:

    • Learning takes time: Don’t rush the process.
    • Be genuine: Trying too hard to be cool comes across as fake.
    • Strike a balance: A sprinkle of Gen Z lingo is good, but overdo it, and you’ll sound awkward.

    The best way to ensure your content speaks their language? Hire Gen Z creators for your social media team!

    3. Be Real, Don’t Fake Support for Social Causes (Performative Activism)

    Now let’s talk about the importance of authenticity when it comes to social activism and brand messaging. Well, it goes hand-in-hand, Young people of Gen Z can spot performative activism a mile away, and it can actually hurt your brand.

    Here’s why: According to a study by Forrester, nearly a third of Gen Z reports unfollowing, hiding, or blocking brands on social media every week. Why? The study says “Gen Z doesn’t hesitate to cancel brands they feel are putting on a show.”

    This aligns with a recent Forbes article that states younger generations are more likely to base their shopping decisions on a brand’s real-world impact. They consider everything from how products are made and who makes them, to a company’s environmental practices.

    So, what does this mean for your brand?  

    Ditch the rainbow-washing for Pride Month, avoid using BIPOC employees simply for appearances in your content, and don’t claim your products are sustainable if they’re not.

    Instead, focus on genuine ways to support your community. Donate real money to worthy causes, amplify the voices of marginalized groups, encourage employee volunteerism, and participate in marches and rallies. These are all ways to show your commitment in a way that resonates with Gen Z.

    4. Building Trust with Gen Z Influencers and Creators

    Reaching Gen Z can be tricky. They’re less likely to follow traditional marketing strategies compared to older generations. But there’s a key way to connect: Influencers.

    A study by Morning Consult found that people between the ages of 15 and 21 are more likely to follow influencers on social media than older demographics. This highlights the importance of influencers for Gen Z marketing.

    The same study reveals another interesting fact: 24% of Gen Z women rely on influencers the most to discover new products. This trust Gen Z places in influencers makes them a powerful marketing tool.

    In short, influencer marketing taps into Gen Z’s desire for authenticity and trust. They want to hear about brands from people they trust, and influencers fit that bill perfectly. By collaborating with influencers, brands can speak directly to Gen Z in a language they understand.

    5. Capture Gen Z’s Attention Through Entertainment

    Attention spans are short these days, and Gen Z is no exception. According to a Morning Consult report, they’re drawn to influencers who can keep things interesting.  That means creating content that’s both informative and entertaining (think: funny, engaging, and delivered in a personal way).

    The survey results show just how important entertainment is. When deciding who to follow, humour and personality rank second only to the actual content itself.

    Gen Z also appreciates a good laugh, with a sharp and often dark sense of humour. The key is to be mindful and respectful, but don’t be afraid to show your playful side.

    Self-deprecating humour can go a long way. Take Lea Michele, for example. When a strange rumour about her reading ability went viral, she embraced it with a hilarious TikTok video. 

    The result? 

    Over 14 million views and a flood of positive comments. It was a smart move that proved the power of entertainment with this generation.

    6. Targeting the Right Gen Z Platforms

    Reaching Gen Z requires going where they are. To maximize the impact of your strategies, you need to be present on the social media platforms they frequent. Valuable resources like Hootsuite’s Global Digital Report can shed light on which demographics use specific platforms.

    For instance, if you’re aiming to connect with young Gen Z women, TikTok shouldn’t be overlooked. A 2021 Statista study revealed a surprising fact: TikTok is the third most influential factor impacting Gen Z females’ buying choices, even more so than traditional advertising channels.

    The study goes on to show that only real-life endorsements, like recommendations from friends and family, and seeing a friend or family member using a product, rank higher than TikTok in influencing purchasing decisions.  

    While Instagram ads and influencer posts on Instagram also hold significant sway, Facebook and Twitter ads appear to be less persuasive for Gen Z women when it comes to parting with their money.

    7. Discounts Attract Gen Z Consumers

    Studies conducted in May 2022 showed that discounts are the main reason why Gen Z consumers connect with new brands on social media. This means that even if other marketing strategies don’t capture the attention of Gen Z, a simple sale or discount can be very effective.

    8. Don’t Ditch Reaching Customers Across Different Channels

    While Gen Z spends a lot of time on their phones, they also enjoy shopping in physical stores.  Studies show surprising results –  three times more Gen Z shoppers prefer visiting stores compared to online shopping. 

    This highlights the importance of reaching this generation across various channels they frequent.  Social media, YouTube, email, streaming services – these are all important “watering holes” to connect with Gen Z.

    Final Thoughts

    Let’s end by dispelling a common misconception: Generation Z is not an enigma wrapped in a mystery. In reality, a wealth of data exists, shedding light on their preferences regarding marketing and spending. This information is invaluable for businesses hoping to connect with this influential demographic.

    Hope you like our blog .. share your thoughts on Gen Z marketing below … 

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