On the surface, marketing to Gen Z may seem like a difficult and specialised task. With stereotypes such as their short attention spans and newfangled ideas that are impossible to grasp, companies have often struggled to connect with this new generation of consumers.
However, even though different demographics do indeed have their own trends, marketing to Gen Z is not actually as radically different from marketing to other generations as we may think. In fact, analysing their behaviour can really help marketers elevate their brand as a whole.
To begin with, Gen Z consumers grew up in the age of the Internet. Therefore, it is undeniable that many of them are used to floods of information. Additionally, many also came of age in an era of climate and identity discussions, and therefore may hold more related deep beliefs and core values from a young age.
That may be scary to some marketers. Yet, as we progress as a society, people of all age groups have adapted similar beliefs and attitudes. The good thing about Gen Z is that they are more vocal than previous generations have ever been, which can give marketers plenty of opportunities to learn and recalibrate their strategies.
In today’s landscape, a successful marketing strategy includes being authentic, caring, eco-conscious, and present on social media.
Authenticity and mission
If brands have been paying attention, they will have noticed that the young consumers of today prefer authenticity over anything.
It is not enough to give young consumers raw information about a product or service to get them to make a purchase. You have to take care of building a genuine relationship between the customer and the brand. Gen Z wants to know, more than any other generation, whether a brand will fit with their own unique identity and values.
But they are not the only ones. We all want to be listened to and cared for genuinely, and brands can gain a lot from being true.
Messages should therefore evolve from plainly informative to delightful, from ‘celebrity’ to down-to-earth, and from vague and general information to tailored facts and figures.
Environmental care and sustainability
Many Gen Z consumers grew up with hyper awareness of climate change and have witnessed its drastic effects in only two decades. Therefore, while consumers of all ages have been more mindful when it comes to making purchases, Gen Z customers often have the loudest voices and are representative of embracing sustainability.
For example, young people on social media have called out the bad practices and ethics of fast fashion, and they are eager to urge their peers to make better decisions.
Therefore, to create a successful brand in this day and age, enterprises should consider ways they can reduce their ecological footprint and include sustainability in their growth strategies. In addition to appealing to Gen Z, this can also be a huge draw for environmental-conscious consumers of all ages.
Social-consciousness and values
Thirdly, young consumers’ standards are very high these days. They are very empathetic and eager to make the world a better place, and they are willing to engage in social activities and help if they see a brand that shares their own values.
But catering to Gen Z’s behaviour is not the only reason socially-conscious companies are very successful today.
The truth is that many of us have always wanted inclusivity, and many of us have always been passionate about our values. We want to know that brands truly care, and we want companies to take action and show real support.
Gen Z’s ease with social media has helped us amplify this desire. Therefore, marketers that respond positively to their voices also respond positively to the rest of their brand’s consumer demographics.
For example, a company that supports the LGBT+ community should not just talk about it on social media to reach people of similar beliefs. Marketers should also demonstrate an understanding about LGBT+ culture, be respectful, attend relevant events, and donate to causes. This can create a connection with consumers of all ages which will become apparent when they decide to make a purchase.
Presence and responsiveness
According to a report from Response Media titled ‘Generation Z – The Newest Generation’, young people use different social media channels to fulfil different needs. On Instagram, they look for something they can aspire to. Snapchat or TikTok are places to share real, authentic moments, and Twitter is where they look for up-to-date information and connect with others.
However, when you think about this on a deeper level, you will realise that this is not just characteristic of Gen Z.
Sure, many young people are always on their phones. But social media is not just prevalent among young consumers – though they are arguably the best at navigating them. Consumers of all generations these days have active Twitter profiles, use Facebook to connect with family and friends, and run creative businesses on Instagram.
Because of this, the best results can be obtained when companies are present everywhere and always active. Credibility and sympathy for the brand can also be improved by cooperation with influencers who often have hundreds of thousands of followers who look up to them.
Finally, Gen Z consumers are just like everyone else when it comes to wanting a good deal. Businesses that have timely discounts cannot go wrong. They key is to promote them well.
A Campaign Monitor study shows that if marketers include information about a discount in the subject of an e-mail and provide percentage values (e.g. ‘30% off’), the chance of customers opening the message increases by as much as 68%.
Gen Z accounts for approximately 40% of consumers today and often have the loudest voices, which can be daunting to marketers. However, a closer look at their consumer behaviour will reveal that they are really not that different from any other generation.
In the age of hyper digitalisation, many of us have short attention spans and become disinterested in advertisements in just a few seconds. We also have little patience for brands that do not align with our values, and even less for brands that pretend to care about us but show no real action.
As the number of Gen Z consumers continue to rise, marketers can take this opportunity to listen to their voices and elevate their brands for all consumers, and they can start by being true, caring, and responsive to our changing world.