Marketing to Gen Z: Understanding the Next Generation of Consumers

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Generation Z — America’s youngest adult generation — is starting to flex its financial muscle. And if you aren’t tailoring your marketing strategies to include Gen Z, you’re missing out.

Gen Z (generally considered to be those born 1997 to 2012) is the successor to the millennials. The oldest among them are still a few years shy of 30; the youngest are just starting middle school.

Although this generation currently only accounts for about 20% of the U.S. population, it has tremendous spending power, with a combined $360 billion in disposable income.

But if you want a piece of that pie, you’re going to have to play by Gen Z’s rules.

Gen Z holds ethics and morals sacred. Seventy-three percent will only buy from brands they trust, and 71% will stay loyal even if that brand makes a mistake. This generation is also environmentally conscious and will pay more for sustainable products. They’re drivers of social change who champion diversity, equality and inclusion.

In short: Gen Z is a generation of bright young people who intend to make the world a better place while taking exactly zero crap from anyone.

So how do you market to Gen Z while staying within their clearly defined parameters? We have some ideas!

5 Tips for Marketing to Gen Z

Sell Your Brand, Not Your Stuff

Since the vast majority of Gen Z doesn’t remember a world before the internet, they understand they have plenty of choices. Thus, the game becomes less about marketing your products and services and more about marketing yourself.

Who are you? Why do you do what you do? What are your values and how do they align with theirs? By crafting a compelling brand story, you set yourself apart from the competition in Gen Z’s eyes.

Don’t Patronize

If you want Gen Z to patronize your business, don’t “patronize” their generation. They may be young, but they’re certainly not stupid, and they’ve learned to spot a scam from 10 miles away.

Pretending to care about what they care about isn’t going to fly. If you aren’t authentic and genuine in your efforts, they’ll notice. Paying lip service to their causes without any meaningful action on your part is a great way to get your brand on Gen Z’s blocked list.

Choose the Right Social Platforms

While Facebook marketing definitely still has its place in the world (81% of Gen X and 70% of baby boomers prefer it over other popular social media platforms), Gen Z gravitates toward different playgrounds.

If you want to meet Gen Z on their home turf, put your social media efforts into TikTok, Instagram and YouTube. (Gen Z spends a staggering 24 to 48 hours each month on TikTok alone!)

Partner With Influencers

If you say your product or service is good, Gen Z might be a bit skeptical. If their favorite social media influencer says your product or service is good, they’ll take it as gospel.

Gen Z dislikes advertisements on principle. But influencer marketing doesn’t feel like an advertisement. Because they’ve developed an existing “relationship” with the influencer, they’re more apt to see it as a recommendation from a friend rather than yet another brand peddling their products in their Instagram feed.

Go Hands-Off

While the older generations appreciate the ability to interact directly with a brand, most of Gen Z would likely rather face a four-day TikTok ban than make (or answer) a single phone call. In fact, 90% of Gen Zers are “anxious about speaking on the phone,” according to CBS News.

Instead, offer them ways to communicate with your brand that don’t involve direct conversation. Online chat features, social media messaging, text-based customer service and the ability to email your business (and quickly receive a reply) are the best ways to “talk” to them.

Gen Z Demands More from Marketers!

To keep pace with Gen Z, you’ll need to go above and beyond with your marketing tactics. From championing the causes they believe in to meeting them where they are to changing the way you communicate, it’s a whole new ballgame. Only those who study the rulebook closely will secure a win!

Do you need some help talking to the new generation? Mischa Communications speaks fluent Gen Z and we’re always willing to translate! Getting started couldn’t be easier.