Generation Z, commonly known as Gen-Z, is the budding generation of individuals who are truly digital natives. They have grown up seamlessly moving between the online and offline worlds, using dozens of online platforms as part of their everyday lives. Now, more than ever, the youths of the world are engaged in global conversations, social and political discourse, and commerce. With a spending power of over $140 billion, many marketers are asking themselves:
How do I connect with Gen-Z?
In this article, we dive into what makes Generation Z different from the previous generations and how that will affect your marketing strategy. Keep reading to learn more!
Who is Gen-Z?
Gen-Z is the group of individuals born in the mid-1990s to the mid-2010s. This group is the most diverse and best educated generation in human history. According to recent statistics, they are also considered the loneliest generation in human history. Growing up with the Internet, smartphones, and social media, these individuals have developed clear and strong values, typically including diversity and inclusivity, and a strong online communities. They are more likely to seek camaraderie through online communities than in person. With the entire e-commerce world at their disposal, they support brands that present the same values they espouse. Gen-Z also has a particular affinity for companies that build strong brand communities.
So, what strategies can you employ that are tailored specifically to Gen-Z, while still being inclusive of your current customers?
Let’s get into a five-step strategy you can put in place today!
#1 Establish Clear, Authentic Values
“Gen-Z’ers are much more inclined to vote with our dollars, and believe a brand’s values are a reflection of our own,” explains Larry Milstein, a Gen-Z expert.
This means members of Generation Z are more inclined to spend their money with companies whose mission aligns with their own. Larry continues to say “We’re 3x more likely than older generations to believe a company has a role in improving society.” Given this, businesses that want to reach the Gen-Z audience should be engaging in discourse that Gen-Z finds important.
Important topics to Gen-Z’ers include:
Climate crisis: 69% of Gen-Z’ers are severely concerned about the climate crisis.
Diversity: 60% of Gen-Z’ers say increased racial and ethnic diversity is good for society.
Social responsibility: 70% of Gen-Z’ers try to purchase from companies they consider ethical.
But how does a company engage in these conversations in an authentic manner?
The most important way – do so even when the world isn’t watching. For example, if your company values diversity you don’t need to make a statement on social media or your website saying, “we value diversity!” Your actions will show that via your staff members, advertisements, etc.
These topics are conversations that real people engage in daily; so, to convey authenticity, communicate with your audience like you would with a real person (instead of using too much corporate jargon and business lingo).
#2 Hold Yourself Accountable
We all know that no one, and no company, is perfect.
Gen-Z’ers respond favorably to organizations that recognize their flaws, or where they’ve previously fallen short, and demonstrate a clear vision to grow and learn from those flaws. Accountability and humility are cornerstone characteristics of a good company. Therefore, to maintain a favorable relationship with this generation, you should be actively asking yourself “Is my company doing the right thing? And if we aren’t, how do we address that and create clear goals that will demonstrate our progress?”
It’s okay to tell your audience that you do not have all the answers. Creating a space that holds humility and accountability as a priority will beget progress and growth.
#3 Find Your Brand’s Personality
Members of Generation Z are looking for companies with a unique brand identity. Unlike the generations before them, Gen-Z’ers do not have expectations of a “perfect and polished” company. As we have discussed thus far, Gen-Z’ers are looking for authenticity – a more humanized brand. Therefore, showing off who you are as a company can make-or-break your relationship with Gen-Z.
Feel free to promote your products and services in a fun and lighthearted way. Show off your employees from the C-Suite level to those with boots on the ground. If Tiktok, a platform with a predominately Gen-Z audience, has taught us anything, it is that Gen-Z’ers love to see brands being silly and personable rather than stuffy and always trying to sell something.
#4 Build Your Community
Building an online community is integral to your Gen-Z marketing strategy.
Gen-Z’ers crave a community of like-minded individuals. Therefore, you can start by partnering with influencers or thought leaders who share your vision to speak to the Gen-Z audience. Better yet, share testimonials or feedback from Gen-Z’ers who support your brand! Hearing from a member of their community speak of your company will make them more likely to engage with your content moving forward and eventually, purchase your products or services.
You should also speak directly to your online community. Respond to comments, ask them questions, comment on their content – show them that you notice and care that they are a member of your online space. By intentionally including your followers in your content and conversations, you are creating a space that Gen-Z’ers truly want to be in.
#5 Entertain Your Community
They say you have about eight seconds to capture someone’s attention online before they move on. The best way to capture someone’s attention is to entertain them!
The first thing you should consider is: is this content something I’d like to see in my feed?
Whether it is a LinkedIn post or a TikTok video, you should consider what a real person will think when they see it. Are you posting the content just for the sake of posting it? Or are you creating something that you genuinely enjoy, and you think your online community will enjoy as well?
You should create content that is either educational, entertaining, or valuable. Find what resonates with your audience and build upon that!
Marketing to Generation Z requires re-thinking conventional marketing strategies. Gen-Z’ers are value-conscious, love bold personalities, and are seeking community. Gen-Z marketing requires more than simply selling a product. We hope that these five steps will take you in the right direction when it comes to establishing a Gen-Z marketing strategy – after all, this article was written by a Gen-Z’er herself!