Marketing to Gen Z - How to reach them

Gen Z: This tech-savvy and socially conscious generation is quickly becoming one of the world's most powerful consumer segments. It amounts to a third of the world's population and controls an estimated spending power of $143 billion annually.

So understanding what makes this generation tick will allow you to unlock Gen-Z’s massive spending power.

Read on to find out more tips for marketing to Gen Z. There's no doubt that speaking to this unique audience is different from conventional marketing formulas, Stay tuned, and we’ll take you through different tactics to connect you with your Gen Z audience.

Who are GenZ?

With a birth range between 1997 and 2012, Gen Z is the first demographic group born after the internet was commercialised - making them true “digital natives”. Digital experiences are a key part of their upbringing and why smartphones are central to their lives. This group is highly engaged with technology, and more than half of them claim they stay constantly online. 

Marketers need to be mindful of how Gen-Z’s familiarity with technology shapes their attitudes towards brands, advertising and shopping experiences. This means brands need to make an impact but ensure it’s the right one. 

How marketing to Gen Z is different 

Marketing to Gen Z is a unique task since they experienced rapid digitalisation and interacted with distinctive channels and content formats. As digital natives, their long exposure to the internet and advertising makes them much easier to tune out and intolerant to marketing. 

Gen Z are advertising resilient

Reaching audiences seems to be more challenging than ever. With more distribution channels and content formats, engaging with customers is near impossible. 

A shift in focus, attention span, and approach has meant businesses have had to change their strategies to keep customers involved.

The days of radio and television have changed drastically, with digital transformations dominating the advertising industry. The emergence of social media has meant consumers are bombarded with content daily. Marketers now need to work even harder to make sure their brand stands out amongst their competitors. 

That being said, many digital marketing tactics continue to convert Gen X and Boomer consumers, so they will still play an essential role in many businesses' marketing strategies. However, Gen-Z and Millennials have become increasingly resilient against digital marketing tactics and require a different approach.

Gen Z prefer a different approach to brands

Gen Z is the most challenging group to market to as they no longer consume media the same way; they avoid advertising and have on average 8 seconds shorter attention spans. That’s why brands need to consider how essential those 8 seconds are to ensure they resonate with this audience. 

They no longer see traditional forms of marketing like billboards, magazines or television ads. They live in a near ad-free world where everything is readily available. According to Kantar Millward Brown’s AdReaction study, 69% of Gen-Z are most likely to physically avoid advertising. It’s no surprise considering the boom in streaming services like Netflix and Disney+, making the need for daytime TV non-excitant.

Almost two-thirds of Gen-Z consumers have been put off by traditional marketing, meaning marketers need to change tactics to win over this younger generation.

5 top tips for marketing to Gen Z

Once you’ve gained a better understanding of Gen Z, it’s time to start reaching them. It’s vital to develop a strategy specifically for Gen Z rather than just applying your overall approach to their age group.

We can’t give you tailored campaign instructions to attract your Gen Z audience, but what we can do is provide you with the ultimate tips to apply to your upcoming marketing campaigns, which are:

  1. Be socially conscious and embrace inclusivity
  2. Show authenticity and use UGC
  3. Use social media to cultivate genuine relationships  
  4. Build meaningful influencer partnerships
  5. Don’t be afraid to collab with micro-influencers

1.  Be socially conscious and embrace inclusivity

For good reason, Gen-Z is renowned as the socially concerned generation. Growing up with the internet at their fingertips and witnessing the disruptive change in technology and social conventions, Gen Z has a unique worldview based on inclusivity, curiosity, and reciprocity.

77% of Gen-Z want to see more diversity in advertising, and they embrace all lifestyle influencers to be presented in the media. If you want your content to resonate, don’t be afraid to talk about social topics such as climate change and celebrating diversity.

The key to avoiding performative activism is to carefully analyse the causes you support and to ensure your brand's values are compatible with Gen Zers. You don't have to support every cause, but you should go all in on the ones you do.

2.  Show authenticity and use UGC

Authenticity is an important value for Gen Z. They embrace quirks and flaws instead of chasing after perfection. Driven by values, Gen-Z can spot a disingenuous engagement a mile away. With digital options everywhere, they won’t hesitate to move on to a competitor that provides transparent communication and is constantly engaged with them.

In this case, being authentic is not just about creating more "real" content on social media but also about keeping people engaged with your brand. User-generated content reflects authenticity and allows your audience to market with you. Customers sharing your product or service on social media or posting a simple review on a forum can be useful resources to build your brand in a genuine way.

Use social media to cultivate genuine relationships 

The best place to start is meeting Gen Z in their primary space—the latest social media platforms. However, it isn’t enough to see social media as a means to simply engage with Gen Z. Placing an advertisement on either Instagram, TikTok, or Youtube does not guarantee that they will engage with it or even notice it.

Rather than focusing on ‘capturing’ the attention and interest of young digital audiences, brands should focus on cultivating a more genuine relationship with them. For example, interacting with your customers on their preferred social media platforms creates personalised experiences. Social media is an important touch point where brands can show their tone of voice and communication style to create an emotional bond with their customers.

Build meaningful Gen-Z influencer partnerships

According to Edelman’s 2019 Trust Barometer Report, 63% of Gen-Z trust what influencers say about a brand more than what a brand says about themselves. Making influencer marketing an effective practice to attract Gen Z to your business.

Why are influencers important to Gen Z?

Collaborating with influencers gives you access to a large audience of consumers who are already engaged and interested in what they have to say. This means you can reach your customers more efficiently and gain greater consumer trust and loyalty over the long term.

The younger generation appreciates what influencers have to say. They are called influencers for a reason, as they know how to speak to their audience. Connecting and speaking to their emotions strengthens their trust.

What does Gen Z look for in influencers?

When we talk about ‘influencers’, this umbrella covers a wide range of people. That means it's important to find the right people for the job. Size isn’t always the best solution. Considering that working with smaller influencers can have a much more significant impact on the effectiveness of the campaign and audience,

According to Gen-Z statistics, 69% think ads are disruptive and want to see ‘real people’ instead of celebrities. Eagle-eyed and attentive, Gen Z abandons all trust in celebrities who do endless commercial campaigns and are clearly "just in it for the money". It's important to find the right people who naturally fit in with your brand and the environment.

5. Don’t be afraid to collab with micro influencers

Now we all know that Gen Z wants authenticity. They are looking for a true voice to listen to, a voice to suggest their purchase decisions and even their lifestyles. The micro-influencer fulfils this need for recommendations in how they speak directly to their followers in a genuine and relatable way.

Working with micro-influencers who are also true advocates of your brand can be a great solution to effectively reaching this generation. Not only do they offer greater trust and loyalty, but their communications feel more authentic as they are much closer to their audience. Their grounded approach puts your brand in front of an audience and directly engages with them through social platforms. It is a great way to fulfil Gen Z’s need for visual communication and emotional connection with your product and brand.

Ready to take your marketing strategy to the next level and reach Gen Z? Great! Get in touch today, and we’ll make it happen. Take a no-obligation demo of our influencer marketing platform now.

Marketing to Gen Z FAQs

What does Gen Z want from brands?

Overall, Gen Z looks for authenticity and is likely to purchase from brands that align with their values. They prefer transparency in communication and look for entertainment in content creation to keep them engaged.

What are Gen Z trends?

Driven by digital, embracing diversity and social justice, and rising mental health concerns. Born in the digital era, new networks, features, and trends emerge daily, yet Gen Z remains forever digitally savvy. It is important to keep agile with your social strategy and constantly try new elements to reinforce your social engagement that align with your brand goals.


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