Generation Z is rising into the job market, and they are coming in guns blazing. As a marketing agency, we ask ourselves, "how do we need to alter our marketing methods to impact this new generation?". Traditional marketing strategies won’t work on them. Rather than only looking at what is cost-effective, this generation cares about the values a company supports, the good it can do for the world, and the experiences it can provide. Below we will look at who Gen Z is and share the marketing strategies that can be used to impact their purchasing behaviors.

Who is Generation Z?

Generation Z is composed of individuals born in the mid-1990s to the beginning of the 2000s, which means that this generation currently contains people in their early to mid-twenties. 

What is Gen Z's purchasing behavior?

Generations that precede Gen Z typically make purchasing decisions based on the actual product or service being marketed and place less weight on the company’s values. Gen Z consumers are more eco-friendly and socially responsible, which shows in their purchasing habits. 

Rather than focusing solely on a company’s products, Gen Z cares about the company as a whole, including its values, holding executive heads to higher socially responsible standards. Patagonia’s self-imposed earth tax is an excellent example of a company providing support to environmental movements. One percent of total sales go toward supporting missions to defend air, land, and water worldwide. They’ve contributed a total of $89 million in donations. Patagonia isn’t simply cutting down on waste at their headquarters, they have centered their company around their love for the environment. The key is to genuinely believe in a movement and make that commitment known to consumers. This generation needs to believe the story companies are selling. 

What’s the reason behind their behavior?

This generation grew up with the internet, cellphones, and televisions. The rise of quick communication and social media has caused Gen Z  to be hyper-focused on staying up to date with the latest trends and innovations. They want information fast and on all of their devices. It's easy to assume that their access to technology would make reaching the generation pretty simple. After all, they're always on their phones. The opposite is true. They are exposed to tons of ads every day, making it difficult to make an impact. They are immune to gimmicky advertisements. They want to know what personalized experience a company can provide to them. 

Using the internet, Gen Z educates themselves faster than in the past, and they can act quickly on the gained knowledge. This generation places a lot of weight on the honest reviews given by fellow Gen Zers. This is important to understand because you can partner with influencers who have made a name for themselves. These individuals have developed a strong following where they can impact others purchasing behaviors. 

Strategies for Marketing to Gen Z

Make Company Values Known

Gen Z wants to know about the values a company stands by, so being transparent about that information is a smart move. Brands that show they are eco-friendly or contribute to a socially responsible cause are more likely to see the support of Gen Z. Maybe your company isn’t ready to commit to a self-imposed tax like Patagonia, but there are less financially focused options. Try adding a page to your website that depicts your products or services’ environmental sustainability. Another idea is partnering with an existing socially responsible movement through social media. These movements typically utilize hashtags to spread the word, so hopping on board is budget-friendly.

Be Meaningful and Unique

A company’s marketing strategy should not only focus on the products it is selling, but also on making meaningful connections to its customers. After all, people move the needle, not the products or services being sold. Generation Z is engulfed in the world of social media. It's the best way to reach them. Through engaging social media content, companies can connect with their target audience. It’s essential to create a personal relationship with followers. Personalization is tailoring a message or advertisement specifically to the individual based on the information you, as a company, have learned. Rather than generalized advertisements, companies need to show consumers how their product personally relates to them. Be intentional on social media; it is saturated with ads and content already, so you need to stand out from the crowd. Get creative and make waves. Gen Z is looking for companies challenging the norm.

Utilize Social Media Influencers 

Getting noticed by this generation isn’t an easy task. Partnering with individuals on social media whom Gen Zers trust can help companies penetrate the marketplace. Influencer marketing is a cost-effective advertising strategy that can build brand awareness and trust for a company. Gen Z is largely impacted by the influencers they follow through authentic, real-time product or service reviews and testimonials. Influencers create content on social media that gain enough engagement to increase their follower count and develop a small (or large) community of viewers.

A great way to utilize these influencers is through partnerships and brand ambassador opportunities that are mutually beneficial. It’s essential to make sure the influencer partnership aligns with its values and that the influencer truly believes in what they are reviewing. Influencer marketing enables ease of access to this generation’s decision-making and it’s a great way to reduce advertising expenses.

Create Snackable Information

The most effective way to market to Gen Z is to meet them where they are. Social media marketing tends to impact this generation the most. Advertisements on television do very little for this group; instead, try placing ads on Instagram, Snapchat, Youtube, and TikTok. Using short 15 to 30-second videos will spark Gen Z’s interest. Through short, sweet, and simple snackable videos, you can grab their attention; once you have their attention, you can sell. An advertisement on social media can lead Gen Z users to click on your company profile, and then your website. To close the deal with a Gen Zer, make sure your profile is aesthetically pleasing and that your shop or website is easily accessible via mobile device.

If you are having trouble finding ways to implement more focused marketing for Gen Z, please shoot us an email. We would love the opportunity to help you take full advantage of the shift from traditional marketing strategies to more online, video-centered social media marketing!

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