Gen Z is one of today’s largest markets, and they will continue to grow in buying power and market sway as they age. However, Gen Z has also become notoriously difficult to reach through standard marketing and advertising practices. So how does your small business reach and leverage Gen Z social media users? Today our friends at 101 Management Inc, share their thoughts on marketing to Gen Z.
If your target customer is primarily from Generation Z—that is, anyone born from 1997 to 2012—our social media management experts want you to know about special techniques you’ll need to use to effectively capture their attention and their dollars.
That’s because Gen Z is different from previous generations. For one thing, they’re the first to grow up entirely in a digital world. Telephone books and cable TV are ancient artifacts to them. For another, they are more racially and ethnically diverse than even Millennials.
And, most important for marketing purposes, they are the largest generation ever in our history, comprising about 40 percent of all consumers. And their buying power is staggering: an estimated $44 billion. Add in their influence on their parents, and that figure soars to a whopping $200 billion in potential annual sales.
So whether you sell products or services, you have to find strategies for marketing to Gen Z.
Gen Z is connected
As Pew Research Center noted recently, “The iPhone launched in 2007, when the oldest Gen Zers were 10. By the time they were in their teens, the primary means by which young Americans connected with the web was through mobile devices, Wi-Fi, and high-bandwidth cellular service. Social media, constant connectivity, and on-demand entertainment and communication are innovations Millennials adapted to as they came of age. For those born after 1996, these are largely assumed.”
Largely because of the immediacy of social media, they have a notoriously short attention span, about six to eight seconds, according to researchers. At the same time, however, once something captures their attention, they become fully engaged.
Gen Z is tuned in
The nine- to 24-year-old age group is highly social, communicating primarily through social media and texting, but surprisingly enough, they also communicate through the old-school medium of email.
And 75 percent list a mobile phone or smartphone as their top device preference, both for interactive communication and for making purchases.
They’re also on the forefront of environmental and social justice causes, with 60 percent telling researchers they want their jobs to positively impact the world, and 80 percent saying products they buy must have meaningful environmental or social value.
Gen Z is savvy
Because this cohort has a world of information literally at its fingertips, they can quickly spot brands that come across as inauthentic or even shady. Transparency, honesty, and credibility are critical qualities in brands that successfully market to them.
Unlike previous generations, they primarily rely on advice from friends (i.e., through social media) to make buying decisions. That means old-fashioned ads, flash sales, and other time-honored sales techniques are less likely to persuade them. They read reviews, too—at least three before making a buying decision.
So how can you reach this unique cohort? Here are three ways to get you started marketing to Gen Z.
Go where they are
Social media is crucial for marketing to Gen Z. They live on their phones and switch from screen to screen at a far higher rate than Millennials (five at a time, vs. three at a time).
Their top social media preferences are Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, and TikTok. And forget about Facebook for this group; they consider it a platform for “old people.”
Since they appreciate word-of-mouth recommendations, be sure to incorporate testimonials and other user-generated content (UGC) in your posts.
Don’t patronize them
Unless you are a part of Gen Z, don’t try to speak their “language” by throwing in jargon you don’t really understand. It’s like swimming with dolphins and repeating their clicking sounds back to them: You can reproduce the sounds, but you’d be speaking gibberish. They wouldn’t understand you.
Instead, be yourself, and be transparent. Let them in on everything about your business: why you started it, what you hope to achieve, things that frustrate you and things that amuse you.
Especially, emphasize your company’s commitment to social or environmental issues, or how you’re trying to make a difference in the world. If you use sustainable ingredients, be sure to let them know. If a portion of your proceeds goes to an important cause, remind them of that.
Partner with them
Gen Zers want to help shape their world (and the world), and that includes the products and services they buy.
If you’re thinking of launching a new product or service, ask for their input. Ask them how best to market what you’re selling. This approach creates automatic UGC and engagement.
Ask them how often they want to hear from you, on which platforms, and what specials or events or alerts they want to hear about from you.
The good news is that this cohort is fiercely loyal to a brand once they find one they like. Given their buying power, it’s worth your while to pay special attention to them.
Need an updated vision for reaching Gen Z? Give us a call and let us develop a personalized strategy to help your business meet its goals. (936) 637-7593