What’s Your Strategy for Marketing to Gen Z Consumers?
To uncover the secrets of engaging the elusive Gen Z audience, we’ve gathered insights from ten industry leaders, including PR reps and CEOs. From engaging via authentic cross-media campaigns to offering personalization, these experts share their top tips for crafting marketing strategies that resonate with the youngest, savviest consumers of today.
- Engage via Authentic Cross-Media Campaigns
- Adapt Language to Connect
- Prioritize DEIB Values in Marketing
- Show Impactful Actions
- Embrace Visual Storytelling
- Leverage Memes on Gen Z’s Favorite Platforms
- Attract with Authentic Storytelling
- Create Content That Earns Gen Z Trust
- Resonate Using Raw Content
- Offer Personalization
Engage via Authentic Cross-Media Campaigns
Gen Z’ers are known to be thoughtful consumers who do their research. The best way to market effectively to Gen Z is to be authentic and brand-consistent across all points of contact. Also, don’t rely on just one marketing channel. Instead, use both digital and direct mail together to create a cross-media marketing campaign that provides relevant information about your brand as well as your products and services.
Mail an eye-catching postcard with a QR code, then make sure your website is consistent with the postcard you mailed out. This will help you engage with Gen Z consumers, and then it will be up to you to deliver a positive customer experience.
Adapt Language to Connect
Use their language. If you want to connect effectively with this generation, you have to change your language so that it becomes relatable to them. What I mean is, do not be too overly promotional or formal in your approach, but be personable!
In my experience, being somewhat familiar with their slang, such as “dibs,” “slay,” or “lit,” can be helpful. However, it’s important not to overdo it or come across as trying too hard, like a parent awkwardly using their kids’ slang. Instead, adjust the language in your marketing to resonate with the Gen Z demographic.
For example, since Gen Z may not commonly use traditional checking accounts, preferring debit and credit cards and contactless payments, focus your language on mobile payments. Use phrases that are relevant to their lifestyle and preferences, like “on-demand orders” and “tap to pay,” to effectively communicate with them.
Prioritize DEIB Values in Marketing
More than any other group, Gen Z cares about diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB), the greater social mission, and the impact of organizations and products. Organizations that can effectively communicate their care for and priority of DEIB and greater societal impact will be more successful in connecting with Gen Z than companies that do not.
Show Impactful Actions
Embrace genuine, impactful actions. Gen Z, many of whom are just stepping out of college, have already faced multiple major financial crises. Along with pressing societal, political, and environmental concerns, it’s no surprise that this generation is anxious about the future. This anxiety fuels Gen Z’s active involvement in social and environmental advocacy, and their expectations from brands mirror this activism. In fact, Gen Z places a higher value on sustainability, transparency, and authenticity compared to the general population.
In today’s world, it’s becoming more common for brands to pledge commitment to sustainability and equitable business practices. However, to truly resonate with Gen Z, brands need to move beyond mere promises and demonstrate tangible, impactful actions that prioritize becoming a responsible company. One effective starting point is seeking B Corp certification. This is a really difficult certification to get, but then again, working towards a sustainable, fair society is a challenging yet essential endeavor.
Embrace Visual Storytelling
As someone who builds my business by connecting with Millennials, I’ve found many similarities in effectively reaching the next generation, Gen Z. My top tip would be to embrace new formats of storytelling—especially visually.
While Millennials respond well to long-form blog posts and in-depth caption stories, Gen Z has shorter attention spans and is extremely visually focused. Successful marketing requires bite-sized, engaging content on platforms like TikTok and Instagram Reels.
I’d advise creating easily “swipeable” financial tips and education conveyed through creative graphics, short videos, sticky knowledge bombs, and money memes rather than dense articles. Embrace things like infographics, AMA sessions, “ask me anything” boxes in Stories, and interactive playlists to capture attention quickly while building trust through transparency.
Gen Z wants digestible financial guidance packaged as snackable entertainment that speaks their language across platforms. The key is conveying helpful money tips in innovative ways tailored for short screens with dynamic content they simply can’t scroll past!
Leverage Memes on Gen Z’s Favorite Platforms
While Gen Z may use various social media platforms, they tend to gravitate away from Facebook. Therefore, businesses should prioritize platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok, which align better with Gen Z’s preferences.
Besides, Gen Z is known for their embrace of internet culture and memes. Incorporating trending memes and relevant content into marketing campaigns can help businesses establish a connection with this demographic. Memes are not only humorous but also serve as cultural touchstones that Gen Z can relate to and appreciate. By using memes in advertising, businesses can showcase their brand’s personality, create shareable content, and tap into the viral nature of online culture.
Attract with Authentic Storytelling
Stay as far away from marketing or selling language as you possibly can. I’ve never seen a generation that is so sensitive to being sold to negatively. Gen Z, more so than their predecessors, wants to make their own buying decisions with no pressure tactics—even the most innocuous ones.
This means that to effectively connect with them, you need to follow the “Field of Dreams” analogy—if you build it, they will come. Focus on telling your own story as authentically as possible, rather than pushing hard for customers, and you’ll have a lot more success.
Create Content That Earns Gen Z Trust
Become an actual content creator. I don’t mean you need to start streaming on Twitch or pumping out YouTube videos, but you do need an organic social media strategy that prioritizes entertainment or education over pure conversations.
The conversions will come eventually, but Gen Z is remarkably averse to selling, so you need to establish your credibility first and only then try to promote the brand in a transparent and unambiguous way.
Resonate Using Raw Content
It sounds like a marketing cliché, but Gen Z really does value authenticity and genuineness. I’ve found that overly designed and polished content tends to do worse with them than something raw and unfiltered, as the latter is seen as more real.
In my experience, they are extremely adept at detecting when they’re being marketed to—something to avoid at all costs, as that tends to turn people off your brand.
Gen Z is a generation that likes to have things personalized and that fits their particular preferences. This is why personalization via e-commerce is important, as it appeals to younger generations. I think it’s valuable to offer DIY opportunities or customization options for both products and services. Gen Z values personalization and the ability to express their individuality.
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