10 Effective Marketing Strategies to Help You Reach Gen Z

  • Effective marketing strategies to reach Gen Z
  • How does Gen Z differ from older generations?
  • Importance of visually appealing content post-2021
  • Engaging with the younger generation and encouraging feedback
For some firms, marketing to Generation Z is intimidating as you may not know everything there is to know about this consumer contingent. However, figuring out how to market to a younger crowd is easier than you think, especially if you consider the characteristics of this generational group, often referred to as “iGen”, “Centennials”, and “Digital Natives.” Gen Z has emerged as a contingent worthy of attention, especially as its oldest members have entered adulthood. Unlike previous generations, Gen Z’s formative years have been shaped by a different world, and they are more racially and ethnically diverse than Millennials, Generation X and Baby Boomers. iGen is on track to being the best-educated generation, amid the boom in technological advancements, which has had positive and negative effects on this group of people. As consumers, Gen Z’s are said to be “shrewd” as their pragmatism leads them to explore and evaluate a range of options before committing to a purchase. They are also more likely to be influenced by recommendations and real-life users than celebrities, meaning their individualism fuels their purchasing decisions. Given that Generation Z has massive spending power, it’s crucial that brands understand what makes this contingent tick to open up potential business opportunities. Gen z teenagers

How to reach Gen Z: 10 marketing strategies

Historically, marketing to a younger demographic has been challenging as they tend to fall into niche markets that are harder to reach with conventional marketing strategies. However, since iGen’s are approaching their spending prime, marketers need to learn their buying behaviour and bridge the gap between Gen Z and other generations. While Gen Z and Millennials are similar, the former’s more pragmatic approach makes them more value-oriented. In addition, Gen Z’s are believed to be hypercognitive, meaning they are happy to cross-referencing many sources of information and thrive off instant gratification. Here are ten strategies you could implement to tap into Generation Z.

Graphics over text

In today’s digital age, video content is more important than ever before. Gen Z has fuelled a rise in video content, understandably, given that this audience is more connected to the internet than previous generations.
According to recent statistics, 81% of Gen Z say that Instagram and YouTube are their preferred social media platforms for entertainment and information gathering purposes, including learning about new brands or products.
Given Gen Z’s appetite for video content, marketers should consider incorporating visual storytelling content into their marketing strategy and bite-sized content displayable for short periods on platforms such as Instagram Stories and Snapchat. Snapchat became a cornerstone of marketing to iGen, propelled by artificial intelligence (AI) as the app’s use of filters, visual effects, and music has proven to be liquid gold for influencers and brands. TikTok is another social phenomenon that has rewritten the rules of engagement with younger generations. With 689 million active monthly users worldwide, it’s become one of the most popular apps of this generation and one of the most direct ways to market to Gen Z. The appeal of TikTok is heavily aligned with Gen Z’s desire for less “manufactured” content. If you want to target Gen Z, you should familiarise yourself with the platform and consider collaborating with influencers on the social network to boost brand awareness. Tiktok

Experiment with interactive content

Aside from engaging with brands on social media, research suggests that Gen Z enjoys interacting with content. According to a study conducted by Cognizant, more than 50% of survey respondents said that they enjoy virtual reality content and are interested in creating customised entertainment packages, indicating how marketers can better serve this demographic. When crafting content, think about ways to encourage your audience to interact with your post, whether that be to swipe, like, share or comment. For example, could you incorporate polls, questions and quizzes into your strategy? These types of practices will help you learn about your consumers while simultaneously winning their attention by encouraging engagement.

Create FOMO with time-sensitive posts

Tap into your audience’s fear of missing out (FOMO), which is a great technique to employ when trying to appeal to your consumer’s desires to make the most of an opportunity before it disappears.
FOMO is a psychological trigger, humans can’t help but respond to, and data suggests that over 60% of social media users suffer from this type of social anxiety.
Marketing examples of FOMO include:
  • Displaying best selling or low in-stock items
  • Showing live information on sales
  • Exclusive offers
  • One-shot discounts with exit intent
  • Limit free shipping
Instagram Stories has released a new feature called “Drops”, which has offered brands a great way to create hype ahead of upcoming launches or giveaways.

Leverage tags for engagement

Marketers should take full advantage of the powerful role tags play when marketing to Generation Z, as they influence how we navigate the social media landscape. Tags could increase your audience reach by:
  • Encouraging current followers to share content
  • Allow customers to tag their posts when they’ve attended a brand event, using or wearing one of your products
  • Asking followers to tag their friends and family to invite new potential customers
Tags also offer a way for followers to interact with your brand, which is an essential factor for Gen Z and could encourage a meaningful response from younger consumers. You can also use tags to encourage user-generated content by offering prize incentives, which will help promote your post.

Showcase your brand’s sense of humour

Generation Z tends to support brands that appear “fun” and “cool”, explaining why memes and other humorous content are popular among the younger demographic. Memes have fast become a popular form of communication and entertainment, especially among young people. What’s more, memes make up 85% of content on online platforms and social media – however, the challenge for brands is how to appeal to that group and keep up with the speed of the internet. Most brands are entirely disenfranchised from the younger generation on a cultural level and risk coming off as out of touch if they can’t show this audience that they understand them. Brands have traditionally failed to appeal to younger audiences when trying to be humorous as it tends to feel forced. When creating “fun” or “cool” content, ensure that your brand has a distinct voice and showcase the human side of your business by striving to produce content that appears organic rather than scripted.

Engage with social media followers

Being responsive has always been a crucial factor of social media strategies as it goes hand-in-hand with boosting brand awareness and loyalty. According to a recent Sprout Social survey, nearly 50% of respondents said that they rate brands that offer vital customer service highly. Gen Z’s also look out for how well brands respond to comments and reviews, with increased levels of engagement translating into higher levels of trust. Meanwhile, 41% of survey participants said they would rather buy from a brand that delivers timely responses than a competitor – hence the need to prioritise this aspect of content marketing.

Reinforce your business’s beliefs and values

According to a recent Brands Get Real report, Gen Z consumers are three times more likely than older consumers to say that a brand’s purpose is to serve communities and society. Younger people tend to care deeply about critical issues such as global warming, mental health, gun reform, inclusivity and poverty. Most iGen’s also believe it is a brand’s responsibility to address these issues and advocate change. As a result, businesses now need to prove they are community-minded and develop social impact initiatives to show they are committed to the causes Gen Z care deeply about. The key is to be authentic rather than aspirational, as Gen Z wants brands that represent real and diverse people rather than glossy depictions of unrealistic lifestyles.

Incorporate customer testimonials into your strategy

Include user-generated content, feedback and reviews into your social strategy to help build your brand’s reputation, strengthen credibility and encourage Gen Zers to convert. As Gen Z are more pragmatic than older consumers, reviews and customer feedback are a great way to offer potential customers from this demographic the opportunity to engage with your brand. According to a Sprout Social survey, more than 80% of Gen Zers purchase from a brand after reading reviews and customer testimonials on social media. The more reviews you have, the better, with separate data showing that some people from this demographic need a business to have 180 reviews before they consider buying a product or service. To encourage reviews, you’ll want to make it quick and easy for consumers to respond as lengthy feedback processes are often counterproductive. Reach out to existing customers, solicit your reviews by emails and ensure that you display them where people can see them. If you have multiple business pages and platforms, consider using a review management tool to help facilitate the process.

Use influencers cleverly

While influencers can positively impact Gen Z, it’s important to use them correctly as this demographic has become increasingly aware of fake messaging and unauthentic content. When working with influencers, it’s best to reach out to those with between 5,000 to 10,000 followers. If you have the budget to work with more prominent names, it could be worth reaching out to them; however, smaller influencers tend to have more engaged followers.

Create meaningful content

Customer retention should be a large part of your marketing efforts, and you’ll need to work extremely hard to retain the business of Gen Z consumers as they are less likely to be concerned with loyalty programs. When cultivating brand loyalty, businesses need to demonstrate that they understand Gen Z’s wants and needs, for example, by letting consumers know that you heard their voices or you’ve released a new product based on their feedback. So, in essence, marketing to the younger generation relies on a brand’s ability to be more authentic, visually compelling and understanding of this demographic’s needs. If you take the time to research and familiarise yourself with Gen Z’s preferences, you could overcome the challenges you may face when marketing to this demographic.

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