Gen Z Marketing Strategies

Marketing to Gen Z: authenticity in the digital age

February 10, 2023

Three tactics for marketing to Gen Z

In 2026, Generation Z will become the largest share of the U.S. consumer population. [1] Generation Z (Gen Z or “Zoomers”) are those born between 1997 and 2012. Businesses around the globe will be thinking about how to engage this emerging group, welcoming them as coworkers and as customers. Online socialization characterizes this generation, and marketing to Gen Z revolves online. 

Read on for three tactics to access Gen Z 

Meet them online 

The overwhelming majority of Gen Z owns a smart phone. Like Millennials, Gen Z answers text messages more than voicemails, whether from friends or businesses. [2] Unlike Millennials, less than one-third of Gen Z frequently uses Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest. Gen Z prefers Snapchat, Instagram, TikTok and YouTube. Older generations of Gen Z tend to use Snapchat and Instagram, whereas younger members tend to use TikTok. [3] 

Smart phone use characterizes their childhood. Group chats often function as the central method of communicating within friends, families, extracurricular organizations, and religious groups. Facebook messenger, GroupMe, WhatsApp, and texting serve to maintain intimate relationships. Workplace communications adopted platforms such as Microsoft Teams in response to the the popularity of chats and group messaging. When communicating with Gen Z, think of texting more like speaking rather than like sending an email.  

Responsive social media presence  

Social media presence is necessary for brand growth. If a company wants to access Gen Z, then that company should be present on the social media platforms Gen Z uses. Even though some people might feel hesitant to associate a professional brand with a platform like TikTok, it is a huge mistake to consider social media outside of the realm of business. Your competitors will meet them where they are even if you do not.  

To ensure your company’s social media presence is professional, the marketing team should record with good sound quality, proofread articles and posts, catch typos, carefully edit visual content, and strive for thematic continuity. [4] 

In determining content, one should analyze posts and watch videos of other professional accounts. Subject matter should be quick, vivacious, and interesting. It is important to strike a balance between professional and interesting, because it is no hidden secret that bizarre and random content captures the attention of viewers. Ensure content is tasteful and respectful. Even though a company should never cross the line into tasteless and disrespectful, it is certainly possible to use negative feedback or controversy to generate attention and clicks. In summary: the way the account is run will determine whether it is professional or not.  

For example, the marketing team at Movius, a software company which develops AI-powered technology for business, most known for MultiLine which adds a second phone number to any smart phone, has launched a podcast called B2Tea. Listen to it on Spotify here or watch on YouTube here. Podcasts are central in disseminating information, so why wouldn’t a brand use that? B2Tea offers employees the opportunity to talk about our innovations and experiences within the context of larger conversations about business and media. The hosts of the podcast discuss random, interesting topics related to business like how to establish a remote company culture, or the difference between data-driven management and the creative process, or the reason the book Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson is a brilliant example of o.g. influencer marketing (coming soon!).

Further, the strategy of recording video conversations allows Movius to start an Instagram. Instagram reals have exploded in popularity to rival TikTok, so a successful Instagram account must have reals.  The Podcast serves as a base for evocative, professional reals.  

Gen Z tends to engage much more when brands reply to comments and messages. Show up in the comments sections of other’s posts. Reply to comments on the brand’s posts. Reply to direct messages. Responsiveness functions to help people who have already looked at your company’s social media page remember it. In addition to enjoyable content and responsiveness, studies show that influencer marketing is more effective than Paid Ads at reaching Gen Z audiences. [5]

Understand their challenges 

Gen Z grew up in families that faced a rising cost of living, stagnated wages, and the 2008 real estate crisis. Now, they enter adulthood in an economy with eight percent inflation.[5] They have also been bombarded with intense and personalized advertisements since they have been online. As a result, it is reasonable to assume that they are inured to advertisements and cautious about spending unless a product or solution provides real value and convenience. 

This group experienced particular challenges. Many of the members of a Gen Z audience will have grown up in split or single parent homes. A sizable percentage of Gen Z suffers from mental health disorders. Some specific experiences of Gen Z include intense academic pressure and competition for college admissions, a delayed adolescence in which what is thought of as teenage experiences like sleepovers and road trips occurred in college instead of high school, and dependency on their parents. A substantial percentage of Gen Z still lives with their parents. [6][7] Messaging that reflects these experiences will be penetrating and truthful.  

Create inclusive campaigns and stay informed of politics 

Be aware of any political implications in your campaign. A large segment of Gen Z is likely to support a brand for championing social justice, environmentalism, and other relevant political topics. [8] However, another portion of Gen Z would object to inauthentically taking up political controversies to bolster a brand. [9] To navigate the political climate of the internet, follow three rules:  

  • Ensure that the messaging of the brand authentically portrays the product or service of the company. For example, if advertising for a cookie company, it is prudent to avoid references to physical fitness. It is just too easy to make fun of. 
  • If using actors in advertising, be aware of the diversity of the cast. 
  • If you are seriously interested in a political issue, the political issue should precede the product. Messaging which explains, “we build software products, and we care about the environment,” is less convincing than, “we care about the environment, and so we’ve taken steps to ensure our product reduces carbon emissions.” [10]

For more information on Gen Z branding, leave a comment or question. 

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