Along with Millennials, Generation Z makes up a decent portion of the consumer base. This is a distinctive demographic with a taste for sustainable brands. Gen Zers frequently use social media and spend money on internet purchases. Unfortunately, for many brands, the idea of marketing to Gen Z often seems like a daunting task. These “digital natives” have grown up in a world where information has always been readily available at their fingertips. As such, they’re savvier than the generations before them when weeding out the bad guys and finding the brands they want to support.
Here are some statistics about Gen Z and how this demographic can inform your marketing strategy. Fortunately for you, dear marketer, the ever-online habits of Gen Zers make learning their buying behaviors much less of a guessing game than generations that came before them. Let’s take a look!
1. Create Eye-Catching Visual Content
According to Sprout Social, 81% of Gen Zers indicate Instagram and YouTube are their preferred social channels. When this demographic was asked which networks they want to see brands use more frequently, Instagram and YouTube took top spots in the survey.
The thing is, Gen Z has an appetite for short-form video content that doesn’t require a ton of time or attention. This means marketers need to incorporate these visual platforms into their strategies so they can develop bite-sized content like Instagram Stories for their brands.
Short-form videos use overlays, visual effects, and music to entice audiences to stay tuned. This approach has proved to be marketing gold for brands that target young consumers. TikTok is a great example; this short-form video platform skyrocketed to $4.6 billion in revenue in 2021—just a few years after its launch. Additionally, it boasts 1 billion active monthly users as of September 2021.
In other words, Gen Z loves videos and content that’s attention-grabbing without requiring too much of, well, their attention.
2. Establish Clear Values & Mission
It’s important to understand that Gen Z pays a close eye to the values, missions, and statements of the companies it decides to endorse. Why does this matter? Because Gen Z is far more likely to vote with its dollars and support a company if it believes a brand’s values are a reflection of the people they relate to.
Take, for instance, the underwear brand Parade. This brand has decidedly published its support for LGBTQ+ issues and showcases models who don’t necessarily fit the “traditional” underwear model while promoting body positivity and inclusivity of all types of people. Not to mention, Parade is a vocal advocate for the decriminalization of sex work.
When Gen Zers are looking for an underwear brand to stand behind, they’ll likely take notice of Parade’s efforts to put themselves out there and be the brand they want to be. As a result, like-minded Gen Z consumers will be more likely to support this brand with their dollars than bland brands that don’t seemingly stand for anything.
Here are some facts to consider:
- 81% of Gen Zers will stop purchasing from companies and let their circles know about negative inclinations if they consider a brand to be too macho.
- 62% of Gen Zers say increasing racial and ethnic diversity is good for society.
- 70% of Gen Z survey respondents prefer to make purchases from companies they consider ethical.
Your lesson? Find out what’s most important to your company’s mission, and find ways to promote your talents in ways that will align with your future consumers.
3. Let Your Funny Side Show
Gen Z is often accused of not having appropriate humor. But, here’s the thing: it’s not their fault. This generation was born into a lot of chaos—just like generations before it. The difference is that everything moves super quickly now, whereas, in generations before, things caught on at a far slower pace.
Gen Z isn’t NOT funny; they’re funny differently. If you want to relate to them, you have to let your funny show. Get down with memes and branded emojis you can use when engaging with your audience on social media.
For marketers, this can be the worst advice because keeping up with trends and expectations is a never-ending job. Add to that, the fact that a two-month-old meme might as well be 20 years old in a lot of circumstances, and it can feel like your efforts are all in vain. This is an important point — you don’t want to seem like you’re too outdated for your audience to relate to. At the same time, not every industry can play the funny bone card and win.
What’s most important to the Gen Z audience is authenticity. Showcase your distinct voice and the human side of your organization. Find ways to be organic and unpredicted and avoid sounding boilerplate when you interact with your audience.
4. Pick the Right Platforms
There is, perhaps, an overabundance of social media platforms available today. Not every platform is built for every business. You need to do a little research to figure out where your audience is hanging out so you can create messages that will make the most sense for the people you’re targeting.
According to Insider Intelligence, Snapchat and TikTok take the lead for Gen Z, with Instagram being a hot second. The lesson here? Gen Z doesn’t really feel married to the old-school solution of Facebook. Many in this generation see the platform as a dying breed that doesn’t relate to them.
As a marketer, it’s critical to aim to target your demographic where they are and create content on relevant platforms. Otherwise, your efforts will all be for naught.
5. Work with Digital Marketing Experts
It’s not easy to stay on top of trends and expectations, it’s a full-time job. That’s why it shouldn’t be your job. Step away from the screen and work with digital marketing experts who know how to make the most of your efforts as they relate to the Gen Z audience.
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