Although Generation X and Millennials (Generation Y) currently hold the largest share of spending power in the United States, Generation Z is fast on their heels. With each new generation, marketers have to do their research and learn more about the communication styles and experiences they prefer.
Individual preferences and expectations vary, of course, but national and international events, economic health, and cultural forces shape people during their formative years, creating large groups of people with similar spending habits and priorities. Gen Z is no exception—although they do have the distinction of being the first generation to grow up with technology almost from the very beginning.
What’s Important to Gen Z?
If you want to market to Gen Z, you need to understand what has influenced their spending habits first. Unlike Millennials, who grew up in relatively prosperous economic times, many members of Gen Z were born into a recession. This means that they are more conservative financially, avoid debt, and are extremely cautious about risk-taking. Gen Z is practical and has had to grapple with crises such as climate change from an early age, making them less idealistic.
They’re also incredibly tech-savvy and social media is just a fact of life to them. They are likely to follow influencers on social media, turning to them for recommendations. But although they are tech natives, they love in-store experiences, combined with the convenience of paying with their phones, watches, or other tech accessories.
It’s also important for marketers to realize just how much Gen Z values authenticity from brands. They want to be engaged on their favorite platforms and they want to hear about brands from people they find relatable, not celebrities or other huge names.
Promote Your Values… With Micro-Influencers
As a marketer, it’s essential to realize that brands have values. Why was the brand created? What is the larger vision for the company?
In order to market in an authentic way that speaks to Gen Z, you need to align your brand with influencers who share those values. Influencer marketing on social media is an important strategy in today’s digital marketing toolkit. It’s the latest and greatest in word-of-mouth marketing and can be surprisingly cost-effective by using micro-influencers.
Gen Z isn’t really concerned with status, and they aren’t going to be impressed by big-name influencers. It’s actually more effective to partner with lots of smaller influencers who are mostly posting for family and friends. Brands can promote their values and earn more customers without spending a fortune since many smaller influencers are willing to create promoted posts for nothing more than a free product!
Tell Your Story in a Relatable Way
Marketing is all about telling a story. This is an essential rule, regardless of the generation you’re targeting. But how you tell your story will change a little based on demographics. When marketing to Gen Z, relatability is key. You can’t just tell any story—you have to make it relatable to your audience.
Making your story relatable involves really getting to know your audience. What struggles are Gen Z dealing with? What’s going on in their lives and how can you relate your brand story to those details?
Benefits alone won’t sell someone on your product or service. You have to tell a good story and show how it relates to your customers’ lives.
Create Quick, Easy, and Informative Content with a Focus on Video
Gen Z is the first generation to grow up with social media from a young age. They’re much less likely to read long-form content and they’re used to quick hits of information from infographics and video content.
Put a focus on visual content, especially video. Make your content easy to consume, informative, and entertaining. Everyone has a million ads and web content competing for their attention these days. To stand out, you need to create content that caters to a shorter attention span and is engaging.
It’s not always easy to shift gears and market to a new generation. But the good news about Generation Z is that they’re the world’s most experienced internet users. If you meet them where they’re comfortable, stay authentic and tell a good story, chances are that you’ll end up with some very successful campaigns!