How to Market to Gen Z – A Comprehensive Guide

Gen Z1

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For any marketer, globally, engaging and interacting with Generation Z has increasingly become an indispensable part of any brand’s marketing approach. As of 2021, Gen Zers hold $44 billion in buying power and control 40% of global consumer shopping. They influence a huge chunk of social media trends and have become a dominant force of influence in the internet and popular culture.

Generation Years Born
The Silent Generation 1928-1945
Baby Boomers 1946-1964
Generation X 1965-1980
Millennials 1981-1996
Generation Z 1997-2012

While Brands across sectors constantly innovate ways to engage with Gen Z, generational gaps are often part of normal discourse. The 1960s baby boomers — in their twenties and thirties — blamed the previous generation for problems like unemployment, wars, worsening climate, stagnant career choices, and political corruption. The “blame game” subsequently continued to weigh on succeeding generations.

From a marketing perspective, when it comes to catering to the sensibilities of these different generations, the baby boomers prefer to engage through traditional means whereas millennials are an amalgamation of the traditional and the new world of the internet. The approach to appealing to Gen Z seems tricky to fit into a narrow box but it’s important we understand what drives them and defines their role and impact in the current times. 

Growing up in a time of rapid economic instability, social change, and vast digital innovation, Gen Z accounts for $143 billion in direct spending. Also, according to a report by CASSANDRA, 93% of parents say children influence family and household purchases. Currently, Gen Z’s biggest expenses are cars, groceries, entertainment, hobbies, studies, mobile phones, restaurants, fast food, and debt payments.

What Separates Gen Z from the rest? In a Nutshell

Gen Z, also known as “digital natives”, is more progressive, accepting of different values, and on track to become the best-educated generation. They are less likely to drop out of high school and more likely to enroll in college. They are more likely to opt for an activist government than the rest and also the most likely to say that climate change is being caused by human activity. Gen Z avoids stereotypical labels, is radically inclusive and evaluates options before purchase.

Gen Z is known for its familiarity with modern technology and the time they spend online. Therefore, for proper marketing to Gen Z, one must not only be active on social media but leverage the many different platforms to understand and connect with younger generations.

Here are some tips you must follow to market to Gen Z. Let’s take a look!

Showcase your brand’s values

One thing Gen Z cares about is a clear definition of what you stand for. The brand’s values, ideals, and principles should resonate with them, which is why it is important to dive into what Gen Z cares about. It greatly matters what causes you stand for.

According to a Mckinsey report, 81%, 79%, and 76% of Gen Z advocate against brands that are perceived as homophobic, macho, or racist; respectively. 70% of Gen Z try to purchase from companies they consider ethical and are three times more likely to believe a company should play a role in improving society. 61% of Gen Z pays more for ethical and sustainable products!

If you want to win Gen Z over, showcase your brand’s value through your social media posts, advertisements, marketing campaigns, and overall approach because that is where most Gen Z spend their time getting to know the world: ONLINE!

Pride Month, for instance, is a cause that Gen Z is behind. During the pride month this year, many brands showed support for the LGBTQ+ community garnering praise from Gen Z.

LEGO LGBTQ
LEGO's first ever 'Everyone is Awesome' LGTBQ+ themed set.

LEGO, for instance, launched its first LGBTQ-themed set while Old Navy’s Project WE Pride Tee raised over $1 million for the cause. Skittle launched its Pride Packs whereas Disney launched its Rainbow Disney 2021 collection in celebration of the 2021 Pride Month. Uggs, Mattel, Vans, Balenciaga, Dr. Martens, NYX Professional Makeup, Levi’s, and more launched limited-edition products with profits going towards charities supporting LGBTQ+ youths.

In India, Bhima Jewellery ran its #PrideAllYear campaign while Pathkind Labs, OK Cupid, Pantene, Starbucks, and MTV India all ran online campaigns showing support for Pride Month.

MTV India LGBTQ
MTV India's LGBTQ+ friendly campaign

If you’re a brand that passionately cares about an issue – be it hunger amongst children, education and empowerment of women, trafficking of humans, saving endangered animals, climate change awareness, mental health, etc. – be vocal about it in a tasteful way. Make Gen Z followers know that you care about such issues and will do your bit in helping the situation.

Personalization and memes

Even though memes have been around for quite some time now, they’re constantly evolving. The way millennials create and interact with memes is very different than the way Gen Z does. For Gen Z, memes are the new way to process existential horror and an uncertain future. Memes also help make light of serious situations and bring people’s attention to big issues.

For Gen Z, memes are an extended part of their own personalities. Gen Z memes are text-heavy, videos with background music, and, thanks to TikTok, feature the individuals themselves! Surprisingly, Gen Z isn’t at all averse to opening themselves up to the internet and interacting a lot more with personalized content.

For instance, over half (58%) of Gen Z is willing to pay more for products that are targeted to their individual personalities. When targeting Gen Z, personalization is a great way to drive sales and increase retention rates. Personalization can increase open rates and brand loyalty too!

Short videos all the way!

Short video content has become insanely popular amongst Gen Z. So much so that even YouTube launched Shorts for videos up to 15 seconds in length. After TikTok blew up globally, Instagram and Facebook, too, introduced short-length videos on their platforms. In fact, it was recently revealed that TikTik has overtaken Facebook as the most downloaded app in the world (60% of all TikTok users are Gen Zers) showcasing how popular short videos really are now.

According to an AdWeek report, 7 out of 10 Gen Z-ers would rather engage with several short videos than longer videos or TV series while 56% of respondents said full-length TV and videos demand too much commitment. Also, 89% of Gen Zers use YouTube, 74% use Instagram, and 68% use Snapchat on a weekly basis!

Fun Fact: Did you know that 25% of all TikTok users in the U.S. are between the ages of 10-19!

So, to leverage the rise of short-length videos, keep up with the latest trends on the king of short video platforms: TikTok. Trends from TikTok jump onto Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat in no time. Be it the Silhouette Challenge, Questions I Get Asked, Hopeful for Today, or I Was Busy Thinking About; each comes with a specific song choice and is used by individuals as well as brands to gain traction.

Gen Z appreciates it when brands understand their viral trends and jump onto the bandwagon. Many brands – like Netflix, McDonald’s, The Washington Post, Amazon, Target, Chipotle, Mountain Dew, etc. – do this with great results!

Use influencer marketing to reach your audience

According to a study conducted by Morning Consult, 16% of Gen-Z men and 24% of Gen-Z women take purchasing advice from influencers. There are numerous influencers in each category and across all platforms though not all influencers target Gen Z. Leveraging influencers to promote your brand, products, and services is an extremely useful tool.

A whopping 69% of Gen Z think ads are disruptive and 52% trust social media influencers for product and brand advice. In fact, 76% of Gen Zers follow at least one influencer, and 45% follow more than 10! Brands can identify influencers and use them effectively to market to their younger audiences without bombarding them with ads.

Make data-driven decisions

You can’t, and shouldn’t, build a marketing strategy around popular stereotypes about Gen Z. Instead, it’s important to make data-driven decisions that give you a clear understanding of the behavioral trends and how you can target them. Rely on rich and powerful data and analytics to receive actionable consumer insIghts about how you should go around marketing to Gen Z.

By using social media data, you’ll end up with valuable insights about your Gen Z customers, what they want, what they’re against, and understand them better than ever before. You’ll also be able to spot emerging and popular trends helping your brand’s overall strategy.

How does Locobuzz Help?

When you deploy a unified CX management Platform like Locobuzz to manage your entire online presence, you open doors to providing the best possible experience to customers. Locobuzz helps you listen to online users and the competition, manage and track your brand health by monitoring relevant hashtags, online brand mentions, communications, and online marketing campaigns. It also lets you spot emerging trends and discover the top and most useful influencers in your particular industry!

You can keep a keen eye on what trends your competition is leveraging, the type of posts racking up the most engagement, and devise creative marketing campaigns accordingly. Locobuzz helps brands make intelligent data-driven decisions strengthening their position and helps with establishing a clear brand voice and image across social media platforms.

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