These days, everybody wants to market to Gen Z. After all, they’ve become the new generation of consumers. Gen Zers carry $143 billion in spending power – enough to make any brand jump on the bandwagon. However, they are also a tricky group. Since they hold high expectations for companies, they’ll certainly expect you to take a stand on key policy and social issues. So, traditional marketing won’t work for them.
Like millennials, Gen Z is constantly online. Yet, they only have an attention span of eight seconds before they move on to something else. So it’s vital to know how to authenticate your marketing in a way that appeals to these digital natives.
Why traditional marketing won’t work
Generation Z is becoming the most powerful influence among people of different ages and incomes. What’s more, it’s becoming the most populous generation worldwide, on track to surpass millennials. In fact, Gen Z makes up at least 20% of the U.S. population and is considered the most diverse of all generations.
Essentially, Gen Z impacts the way people consume brands and connect with them. Gen Z is transforming the business landscape – and new companies must understand how to offer value to their consumers.
Gen Zers are the first digitally centric group with the power to watch whatever they want at any time. They can select a wide range of content with the swipe of a finger. And since they have such short attention spans, brands need to consider how their audience uses each platform.
Startups should have an even deeper understanding to establish meaningful connections. Gen Zers can see right through a brand’s “authenticity.” With the overload of information they’ve had to experience, it’s only natural that these consumers build a moat around authenticity to survive the overwhelm.
That’s why traditional marketing would be a bad idea for startups. Remember: This generation grew up alongside the evolution of mobile technology. So they’re constantly on the lookout for content that speaks to them. Furthermore, they’re unique individuals. For entrepreneurs to attract this consumer group, being strategic and relevant is key.
How to authenticate your marketing to Gen Z
1. Get hyper-personalized
Startups need to go deep with their segmentation. Gen Z wants new products and services, especially ones that cater to their unique, specific needs. While this generation has a lot of spending power, they’ve made it a lifestyle choice to save their money. Gen Zers don’t trust brands as much as millennials do. Plus, they value their independence and their own identity.
Startups need to go deep with their segmentation.
Therefore, brands need to cater to Gen Zers individuality. Consider offering specific solutions that appeal to them. For instance, it’s beneficial to customize content based on their activities and likes. However, you shouldn’t just stick to one commonality over the specifics of individual consumers.
For example, suppose you sell drinks. It’s always a good idea to cater to them with options. For instance, offer drinks that can boost energy for those on-the-go while providing a diet option for those into wellness and fitness.
2. Avoid cringeworthy campaigns
If you start a campaign mimicking popular memes and conforming your message to their language – for example, referencing your products as “lit AF” – you’ll most likely get eye rolls and face-palms. First, younger audiences won’t flock to a startup trying to fit in with this crowd in the hopes of establishing credibility. They’ll immediately know what you’re up to and won’t go for it. Additionally, if you’re launching a campaign in a few months and it involves a meme, they’ll all have moved on past that trend.
A more sophisticated approach is to deliver a campaign that speaks to their values, lifestyle, and culture. Consider partnering with a Gen Z influencer that speaks to them. Influencer marketing campaigns should be about transparency and personalization.
Instead of paying a content creator to repeat slogans and sales pitches, allow the creator to shape the brand’s messaging with their perspectives. That way, they can share in a way that resonates with like-minded individuals.
3. Connect and nurture to build authentic relationships
Gen Z exists on a plane of individual variation. The best way to identify with and honor their differences is to engage and interact with them on social media. Since Gen Zers are digital natives, personal connections with brands are something they value. In fact, 77% of Gen Z consumers say it’s important for brands to customize interactions.
Go beyond ways to advertise to this audience and think about how you can form connections. For instance, if you hired a Gen Z influencer, view the partnership as more than an age-appropriate promoter. Understand who Gen Z is and what they value most. And establish the partnership as an ongoing relationship. This strategy helps build connections and conversations.
Furthermore, it always helps to reach out casually. If you seem too formal, you might not have the ability to capture this audience’s attention. Therefore, it’s all about getting personal, establishing relationships, and creating a community.
4. Create digital experiences
When connecting with this young generation, you have to focus on how they interact with each other online. To Gen Zers, their digital life is just as important as their analog life. Since everything is online, they bond with brands differently than older generations. For instance, they prefer to stream music, play video games, and watch YouTube videos over watching TV and movies. So digitization is the key.
Their desire for activity rather than passive consumption shows how important it is to create online moments. Consider streamlining your services with an omnichannel approach. Gen Z expects their online experience to be AI-driven, predictive and easy to use.
For example, your startup can bring the physical in-store experience with virtual and augmented reality. However, it’s also important for startups to balance technology and human empathy.
5. Produce engaging content
It’s no secret that content is the overarching influence on consumer action. Yet, for your marketing campaign to perform well, it must be engaging. However, your content can’t only be a one-way channel. You must listen and engage in discussions to target specific audiences with compelling messages.
Avoid wasting time and effort trying to latch on to the latest trends, though. Brands that take this approach rarely get it right. Instead of creating hype around your product with fads, try reaching your audience by choosing the best platform and learning about their behaviors.
For instance, brands that choose to post content on TikTok keep it short, sweet and entertaining because of their audience’s short attention span. Meanwhile, their content on YouTube will feature long-form videos since this audience prefers to use this channel to learn more about products.
Marketing successfully to Gen Z
With hard work and dedication, and taking time to understand your Gen Z customers, you’ll reap the reward of having their attention.
Ultimately, attracting Gen Z starts with knowing that audience’s individual needs. Then, you can launch a campaign successfully by keeping it personalized, highly engaging and futuristic.