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4 Things You Need To Know About Marketing To Generation Z

Khalipha Ntloko

Aug 23, 2019

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Generation Z – born between between 1995 and 2009 – are the new kids on the block, with a population of 2 billion worldwide and soon becoming 40% of all US consumers by 2020. These “kids” have some serious say when it comes to their consumer spending habits and patterns, which often play a role in how businesses and brands need to market themselves to these consumers. 

But gaining the attention of Gen Z will take more than just well-written blog posts and catchy YouTube videos. Gen Z are a powerful group of buyers who come with a different set of consumer habits. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at the four things you need to know about marketing to Gen Z. 

A picture of somebody wearing Nike trainers

Nike has become well-known as a brand that isn’t afraid to “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.”

Values: What Matters to Your Brand?

For Gen Z, it’s important for brands to be more than just a logo and tagline. Having values and incorporating corporate social responsibility into your marketing matters more to these customers. As Gen Z becomes more active in societal issues, they want to know that businesses are not only concerned about making a profit but also about making an impact. 

Dove has taken the stance to break beauty stereotypes through their #ShowUs project, where women all over the world are showing what real and inclusive beauty looks like through the creation of the world’s largest photo library.

The campaign, in collaboration with GettyImages and GirlGaze, has over 5000 stock images, all captured by female and non-binary photographers in more than 39 countries. A campaign like this is impactful to Gen Z because, in the middle of Dove launching new products, a consistent conversation about redefining women’s beauty is how Dove is engaging with a generation concerned about social justice and brands having values.

But while doing good resonates with Gen Z, it’s equally important to ensure that the good deeds done come from an authentic place. Greenwashing and goodwashing won’t work with Gen Z – you need to have real, deep rooted values that you stand for. Avoid the desire to ‘wash, rinsh, and repeat’ and instead, listen and collaborate when it comes to doing good business. Find out what the real problem is, brainstorm ways that you can make impactful change and then collaborate with business partners to come up with effective solutions.

Photo of someone filming a concert

If it isn’t on the internet, it didn’t happen, right? For Generation Z, their experience of a brand will go further than the actual material experience of the brand.

Are you interested in more Dove campaigns? Learn how Dove raises the bar with its #ArmsUp campaign.

Storytelling: Tell Your Story Through Experiences

When it comes to Generation Z, their experience of the brand has far more weight than the material experience. So, brands need to consider crafting more personal online experiences and one way to do that is engaging with Gen Z through interaction and tapping into their emotions through storytelling. 

Airbnb have built their entire brand on the stories of their guests and hosts because, without these guests and hosts, there would be no Airbnb. With the addition of the ‘Experiences’ feature on Airbnb, community stories of guest experiences have become synonymous to Airbnb’s brand. This has made Airbnb one of the top companies who have the best brand-driven storytelling

So how can you apply this when marketing to Gen Z? Consider these 3 tips from Neil Patel:

  • Your story should answer the question ‘Why do we exist?’
  • It’s not just the product being bought; it’s also part of the story
  • How do you relate to your customers through your story?

South African Gen Z students already spend R35 billion per annum, making these consumers a powerful market. Successfully altering your marketing strategy to this generation means understanding that experiences are everything, and your secret to winning is through storytelling. 

When it comes to Generation Z, they’d much rather double-tap on a post than flip through a magazine

Mobile Marketing: From the Palm of Their Hand

As a mobile-first generation, Gen Z are active on smartphones and other hand-held devices like tablets and iPads. Marketing to this generation means that your brand needs to ensure that it is optimised for these devices. 

Websites and online stores that are mobile friendly work best for these consumers-on-the-go. As a generation that grew up with easy access to technology, marketing strategies have had to adapt to the evolution of technology along with this generation. Traditional print and TV advertising may have worked for millennials, but Gen Z are more digital, preferring to shop online, stay active on social media and use the internet differently to previous generations.

Tip: Learn more about millennial cringe: What it is, who's talking about it, and what it tells marketers.

Superbalist is one such brand that continually works on improving its marketing strategies, particularly when it comes to mobile marketing. By reducing their mobile site load time, Superbalist saw results that included a 21% drop in mobile bounce rate

So when it comes to creating a mobile marketing strategy for Gen Z, remember that this generation relies more on these devices. Reaching the Gen Z market means making sure that your websites are optimised for mobile and that you create bite-sized content to hold their attention. 

When it comes to Gen Z, video views matter to them; so it should to you too.

Video: Cheers Static Images, It’s Been Real.

With these digital natives, Gen Z know their way around social media. Since this is a generation where mobile comes first, marketing strategies have also needed to incorporate more video content – one of the biggest keys to tapping into the Gen Z market. 

According to The Manifest, 89% of Gen Z users are on YouTube, 74% use Instagram and 68% use Snapchat weekly. These platforms all make use of visual content in video form, and it shows just how much visuals are becoming more prominent instead of text-based content like blogs or traditional print. YouTube is the most visited website for Gen Z. A platform like this has massive potential for marketers to leverage when reaching this generation, while emerging app, Tik Tok, has around 500 million downloads worldwide. 

If storytelling is what you need to reach Gen Z, then video content is how you can reach them. Create authentic and creative videos when it comes to Gen Z, and include micro moments in your video strategies. To connect even further with Gen Z, provide the space for this market to co-create some of the video content with you, or reshare their video content as a way of curating user-generated content.

When it comes to marketing to Generation Z, remember that connecting with this audience means having a brand that’s bold about taking a stand, shares their story through experiences and finds value in effective mobile marketing and video content. To learn more about how Meltwater can help you effectively reach this booming market of Gen Z, fill out the form below!