Marketing to Gen Z

So how do you get the attention of the most connected, educated and technically savvy generation ever?

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Whenever you are marketing anything, one of the main things you need to know is who your audience is. A clear understanding of your audience is essential to ensuring that you can effectively sell to them. That requires that you understand who they are, what their values and belief systems are, what makes them tick, and what their basic assumptions are. If you can grasp all this, you will have much more luck in marketing to them effectively.

Any business operating today would do well to know how to market to Generation Z. This is the latest generation in the line, the people who have never know the world without the Internet. They now comprise around 30% of the world populace, so they form a lucrative market that you are going to want to get into.

Let’s look in some detail at just who these people are, and how you can market to them and land those sales.

How to market to Generation Z
Generation Z never new a world before the Internet…

Who is Generation Z?

In simple terms, and as we have already alluded to briefly, Generation Z are those people who have never known life without the Internet. That means they were born after roughly 1995 – and if you are finding yourself thinking that these people are surely too young to market to, think again. After all, someone born in 1995 is now 24 or 25 years old, so we are talking about people who are just becoming adults – and that means that they are gaining spending power.

If you can tap into this market, your business is likely to look much healthier for it, so how can we go about doing this?

Sensitivity to Promotional Content

One of the most important things to bear in mind is that Generation Zers tend to have an extremely high degree of sensitivity to promotional content. If you thought that this was true enough of millennials, you are going to find it is even more true for the Gen Z guys and girls. They really know how to spot an advertisement or commercial a mile off, and they often don’t like it when they do. So if you are going to speak to them, you have to be sensitive to their sensitivity, and consider speaking to them in different ways to the traditional advertorial ways.

In practice, that means providing them with something that offers real value. They are simply not going to sit through long ads which don’t give them anything, so you need to think about offering a service that they are going to get some use out of. That is a much more effective way to start speaking their language.

Noble Purpose

These kids are really clued up on just what capitalism is doing to the world, and you are going to have to be part of the solution if you want them to listen to you. They are distinctly anti-money, which means that you are going to have to abandon old notions of merely profiteering and instead make a big fuss about why your company is a decent and good one to give their custom to. That means that you need to find some purpose for your business existing outside of merely making money. If you can show that you do a lot to make the world a better place, help the ecology or otherwise do some good, then you are going to get the Gen Zers on your side much more readily. If, however, they sense that you care about nothing but money, they are going to turn swiftly away without a second look in your direction.

…including the kitchen sink!

Being Everywhere

Let’s consider for a moment just how plugged in this new generation is. Chances are, you are someone who has a couple of screens in your reach at the moment – maybe a laptop and a smartphone. A normal Gen Zer has around five screens in reach right now: smartphone, laptop, desktop, TV, and tablet. If you want to get their attention, you are going to have to fight for space on each and every one of those devices – or your competitor will get there first. If you fail to place yourself absolutely everywhere, however, then you will struggle to get their attention, and without that you haven’t got any hope of convincing them of anything.

Ditch the Utopia

In many of the more traditional means of advertising, it was the done thing to present a perfect vision of the world as part of making your sales pitch. When you were dealing with baby boomers, that made perfect sense. Those people strongly believed in sunlit uplands which they could achieve and attain if only they bought the right products. Even the millennials are somewhat affected by that idea. But when you are trying to market your business to a bunch of Generation Z folk, this simply isn’t going to fly. They don’t believe in your utopian vision of the world, and they’ll respond badly to any suggestion that you are not aware of the imbalances and injustices of the world we live in. They want to see you address the real world as it really is, not paint a picture of heaven. Forget the sunlit uplands and focus instead on showing how sensitive you are to the plight of humanity as it stands today.

Love the Entrepreneurial

All that being said, you shouldn’t go thinking that these people are turning their backs on industry and the world of work altogether. That is the furthest thing from the truth. In fact, it looks very likely that they are going to prove to be among the most hard-working of generations for a long time. In reality, they love the entrepreneurial, they really believe in working hard to achieve more, and they respect more businesses that show they have this quality too. Because they are so aware of the injustice of nepotism and the like, they appreciate a business that got where it is because of sheer hard work. So make a big point of that – unless that doesn’t apply to you, in which case, you should definitely not mention how you got to be where you are.

It’s long been the received wisdom that you should make your brand as personable and relatable as possible, and that is certainly still good advice…

Be Personable & Relatable

At last, some advice you might recognize from marketing to previous generations. Yes, it’s true that there are many differences – and just as true, it seems, that some things will never really change. It’s long been the received wisdom that you should make your brand as personable and relatable as possible, and that is certainly still good advice. In fact, it might be more important for Generation Z than it was for the millennials, and that’s saying something. If you can make your company personable and relatable, and engage with people on the socials in this way, you are going to find you have much more luck in winning them over. The last thing they want is to think you run a faceless entity of a corporation, so shake off that image however you can.

As you can see, there are some real changes that look set to happen in the world of marketing. With the Generation Z becoming adults and starting to have more and more money to spend, there is no better time than the present to start thinking about how you are going to appeal to them in your marketing. Remember the watchwords ‘values and dignity’, and you will probably be moving in just about the right direction.

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