Marketing to Gen Z: The Do’s and Dont’s

Do you know how to market to different generations?

When it comes to your marketing strategy, you want to take into account who you’re targeting. This is especially true when it comes to generation Z, who have grown up in a world of constant media, technology, and advertising. That constant media consumption affects the way that they respond to marketing campaigns. So, when you’re developing a strategy, you need to understand the do’s and don’ts of marketing to gen Z.

Who Is Gen Z?

While there’s some debate on where the millennial generation ends and generation Z begins, most often gen Z is considered those who are born between the late 1990s and early 2000s, to 2012. This means that individuals from age 23 to age 6 can be grouped into gen Z. Because this generation has never really known a life without internet access, cell phones, or television, they understand when they’re being marketed to. That’s why it’s so important to understand the elements of an effective strategy.

Do: Be Authentic

Gen Zers are used to being bombarded with messages, whether they’re clearly meant to be selling something, or more indirect and gimmicky in the way that they send their message. In fact, these more gimmicky marketing campaigns are often the target of attacks from young audiences on social media.

What they do appreciate is authenticity and transparency from their brands. This can vary from a clothing company using inclusive sizing, a vegan brand detailing all the ingredients in their products, or, as we’ve seen recently, a brand that takes on issues they deem important (cough cough, Gillette ad, anyone?).

Gen Z values a brand that doesn’t try to hide parts of their products, or use over the top tactics to sell them.

Don’t: Ignore “Less Popular” Platforms

Generation Z has been shown time and again to be flocking away from Facebook, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t still gen Zers on the platform. In fact, Facebook is still a leader in social media platform use.

Additionally, platforms like Reddit and Tumblr can be another place for you to market your content to younger audiences. While these two may not work for all of your content, there are still ways that you can be creative and gather some engagement. For example, AMAs or “Ask Me Anything” threads are very popular on Reddit. You can use an AMA thread to answer questions about your products, services, brand values, and more. It can also help you come up with new ideas for content based on questions that are being asked multiple times.

Screenshot of a Toyota AMA on Reddit in January 2019 - Marketing to Gen Z example

Tumblr can be used for GIFs, text posts, images, and video. This is another great place for publishing longer blog posts other than your website. You can also be creative with GIFs and other media that showcase your brand and product. You can also customize your Tumblr with different themes and colors that are representative of your brand.

Screenshot of IMB's Tumblr account

Just because it might seem like a product isn’t popular or used by younger generations doesn’t mean you can’t still experiment with using and creating content for them.

Do: Use User-Generated Content

Having user-generated content is another way to show that your brand is authentic. Especially because content that comes from your own audience shows that they like your brand enough to share it with others. Plus, content that comes from audience members typically isn’t edited to perfection and shows real people in real life situations. One great example of a brand that utilizes user-generated content on social media is Converse.

Converse Instagram feed

Their feed is full of pictures with different customers and details of their stories. They have direct quotes from those pictured, as well as a branded hashtag: #InMyConverse. This is one way of showing how their product can be used in real life situations through the use of a variety of real people, instead of models in a made up shooting location.

Don’t: Avoid Video Marketing

Another way to market to younger generations is to move towards video content. YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram videos have become increasingly popular with gen Z, and videos are actually more likely to make a user stop scrolling through their feed and take the time to watch.

If you’re unsure how to utilize video, take a look at what kind of comments and questions you’re receiving on social media. With Facebook and Instagram, you can use live video to showcase products, behind the scenes looks, and even run Q&A sessions. You can use curated videos on YouTube and other social media platforms that show off brand details, business values, information on your work culture, and more. Videos are also a great way to show how your product can be used in a variety of ways. A great example of a brand utilizing YouTube is GoPro. Take a look at their channel here.

GoPro YouTube channel feed - example of marketing to gen z

The Go Pro channel is full of videos that show all the exciting ways that you can use a GoPro in real life. It’s also a great example of how you can take advantage of user-generated content to market your product.

Do: Make Mobile a Priority

Putting mobile first isn’t exactly a new tip, but it bears repeating. A large amount of social media users access their platforms on their phones, so creating a marketing strategy that works for mobile devices is essential for success. This also goes for your website, especially if your goal is to drive traffic from your social media platforms to your website. You wouldn’t want to lose out on potential customers because your website isn’t mobile-friendly.

You may also want to consider how video is affected by mobile device use. Facebook and Instagram live and stories should be set up in portrait format so that users can watch easily without having to turn their phones. However, for longer video content on Facebook or YouTube, landscape format is better. So be sure to consider which platforms you’re creating video content for before you set up your camera for filming.

Want to Kickstart Your Gen Z Marketing Strategy?

If you’re ready to start improving your marketing strategy for generation Z, give us a shout! We’re ready to help you develop a strategy that will work for multiple platforms, and multiple generations. Click here to get in contact with us.

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