In today’s rapidly evolving world, understanding and effectively marketing to Generation Z has become a crucial task for businesses. Born between the late 90s and early 2000s, including myself, Gen Z is the first generation to grow up with readily accessible technology. Because our earliest memories include iPods, Gen Z is highly skilled at instantly recognizing traditional marketing tactics. Although they have their place, the standard, classic methods don’t quite work the same for this modern generation.
The Gen Z Experience
Gen Z has grown up amidst a constant barrage of advertising, so we possess the exclusive ability to quickly discern when something is merely a sales pitch; we prefer an authentic, humane connection instead. Gen Z is unique because we value both education and entertainment and remain loyal to those we trust. We have high ethical expectations, and our consuming habits reflect that.
Understanding Gen Z’s Preferences
To effectively market to Gen Z, it is essential to identify what is appreciated and disapproved of in a brand. Authenticity reigns supreme: we are unimpressed by perfectly polished content that lacks a genuine touch. Rather, we gravitate toward attention-grabbing material that resonates with our experiences and emotions. Gen Z appreciates companies that take a stand on societal issues, foster inclusivity and raise awareness. Additionally, user-generated content– as simple as existing reviews– holds significant value as it provides a sincere perspective on products or services.
To captivate Gen Z, businesses must adopt a different approach than ever before. Here are some effective strategies for content marketing to this generation:
1) Prioritize Entertainment and Education: Emphasize the entertainment or educational value of your content, rather than focusing on selling. A great example of this is Duolingo, a game-style language learning app that gained popularity by prioritizing captivating, funny and creative content. Although these videos themselves didn’t sell anything, they connected with young people and produced incredible brand recognition, therefore indirectly supporting their climb to the top of all educational apps.
2) Create Conversations: Engage with users by fostering conversations around topics they care about. This way, you can promote your brand transparently and authentically. For Gen Z, the comment section of any post has the potential to be even more compelling than the video itself. Reacting to comments as any average person, creating polls, asking questions, etc. is essential to promoting realness within your content.
3) Meaningful Influencer Partnerships: Forge partnerships with influencers who are relevant to your target audience. Gone are the days where any influencer can promote any product and people will listen; now, influencers generate positive reactions when they talk about products that relate to their usual content. Gen Z will detect if a product is out of the ordinary for an influencer to be promoting… and they will call you out on it. However, collaborating with influencers who share Gen Z’s interests and values– done the right way– can significantly enhance brand exposure and credibility.
4) Platform-Specific Approaches: Understanding the purpose and preferences of each social media platform is essential: Instagram for informational posts, Snapchat for casual moments, TikTok for trends, fun or educational videos, Twitter for news, and LinkedIn for professional and career content. Tailor your marketing efforts accordingly to maximize impact.
Marketing to Generation Z requires a thoughtful and authentic approach that aligns with our preferences and values. By prioritizing entertainment or education over sales, creating interesting content, fostering conversations, and establishing meaningful connections, you can capture the attention and loyalty of Gen Z. When you succeed in capturing the hearts of Gen Z, a powerful relationship can be formed, leading to long-term success in this dynamic industry.