Generation Z is currently the youngest demographic. Many marketers believe that Gen Z is the most important demographic for brands since they are the fastest growing generation and are just now beginning to enter the workforce and gain purchasing power. Because Gen Z is still so young, however, the traits that characterize them are not yet fully understood and many brands are making mistakes in trying to reach this audience. The following seven tips can help brands to more effectively reach Gen Z with their marketing efforts.
Embrace new social media
While millennials (or Generation X) are content to stick with earlier social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, Generation Z are more likely to adopt newer social media platforms and in fact prefer them to older ones. Newer platforms like Instagram and SnapChat are a must and Youtube which has long been considered just a video sharing/viewing platform has become a kind of social media site as well that is especially important for reaching Gen Z.
The majority of Gen Z are still teenagers and their favorite brands are ones that are “cool.” The word “cool” can be hard to define and even harder to achieve, but it essentially boils down to three key traits. Cool brands are innovative–they find new and better ways to do things and improve society as a result. Cool brands are informal. And cool brands embrace an attitude of entrepreneurship.
Support multiculturalism and get behind social movements
Gen Z is the most ethnically diverse generation in American history. As such, they are proponents for multiculturalism and they support brands that are multicultural as well. More than one-fourth of Gen Zers say they have boycotted a brand whose values didn’t align with their own so getting behind social movements and appealing to people of all ethnicities is crucial for success with Gen Z.
Incorporate user-generated content
Generation Z never lived a day without the internet and most have owned a smartphone since before they were teenagers. They are accustomed to being bombarded by digital advertising every day and are inherently skeptical of it. Social proof marketing, in which their peers supply the advertising for you is going to be more effective. One way to achieve this is to encourage online reviews in popular forums like Yelp or Google. You can also run contests where customers can submit content for your social media page such as a short commercial or fan art in exchange for a chance to win something. You can then use this customer-generated content for advertising purposes.
Be mobile first
Mobile is an increasingly important marketing channel for all demographics but it’s especially important for Gen Z since smartphones are the only phones they’ve ever known. Websites must display flawlessly on mobile devices and brands should have mobile customer support channels since many Gen Zers will expect to be able to communicate via SMS or chat-based Apps. SMS marketing is going to be much more successful than email marketing especially for Gen Zers.
Try influencer marketing
As mentioned above, Gen Z is pretty good about tuning out advertising from brands they haven’t sought out themselves. That’s why breaking in will often require a partnership with key influencers. Seek out and build relationships with bloggers and Youtubers that already have the attention of your target audience and get them to help promote your brand for you.
Listen to what they have to say
It’s an obvious solution but one that many brands never attempt. If you want to better understand your Gen Z audience, talk to them. Ask regularly for customer feedback and find out what they like and don’t like about your brand so you know how you can improve and better live up to their expectations.
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