Marketing to Gen Z: The no BS generation

This digitally savvy demographic represents 40% of all consumers and counting. Here’s how your brand can win them over.

Born roughly between 1995 and 2012, Gen Z’s are becoming young adults, and at forty percent of all consumers according to the Gen Z Insights Report, they are the generation that will sustain businesses. Although they are coming of age at a time of global uncertainty, Gen Z’s know what to look for when engaging with and deciding to support a brand. “Sometimes marketers can get very caught up trying to engage a certain demographic and its unique characteristics, as if it’s a case of talking to a strange and mythical beast in an entirely new language,” cautions Paige Dorkin, TPP’s Digital Director. “But people under the age of 25 are still people, so there’s no need to overcomplicate it. Perhaps the most important thing to remember about Gen Z is that they grew up (or are still growing up) in the age of fake news so they don’t accept everything on the internet at face value.” The Content Marketing Institute concurs, emphasizing that Gen Z’s expect greater transparency, accountability and personal validation with every online experience they choose to engage in. So what does this mean for your content marketing efforts?

Throw tradition away
Firstly, traditional marketing methods usually fall flat with Gen Z’s, so hard-sell marketing won’t work as easily with this generation. “Really smart and authentic content can win you lifelong loyalty,” says Paige, “And bonus points if you can show (with receipts) that you’re making a positive social impact.” More than any other, this generation is more concerned with the environment and society around them. In a Facebook IQ report on Gen Z, Gen Zers in the UK are less likely to be focused on price and 1.4 times more likely to say they’d pay a premium for eco-friendly products.

Uphold trust
Long before the Protection of Personal Information (POPI) Act was enforced, Gen Z’s have been more familiar than any generation with the importance of protecting personal information online and what happens when that trust is violated. “Gen Z is the first population to grow up in a digital world. Using an iPad at the age of 18 months, an iPhone when they were three and a laptop in primary school, they don’t see technology at all. It’s ubiquitous to them, part of the fabric of their life without even realizing it,” says Forbes. In order to gain their trust, it’s important to give a clear explanation of how disclosing their personal information will offer them an enhanced experience on your platform. Ninety-one percent of millennials and Gen Z’s said that they trust companies more when this happens, according to a Salesforce report on trends in customer trust.

Share your point of view
It may seem too risky, but brands that take a stand or make a statement earn priceless points with Gen Z. Trying to appease everyone can leave a tepid taste in the mouths of consumers that have a certain viewpoint, and seek brands that are aligned. Heineken recently released a commercial depicting elderly people having the time of their lives in a night club and jumping into a lake in the middle of the night, the end statement “The night belongs to the vaccinated, time to join them,” could easily rub anti-vaxxers the wrong way, alienating a certain segment of their customers. But this demonstration of brand courage resonates with Gen Zs who respect and support companies that take a stand. To attract this audience, make sure that your content marketing showcases a fair amount of a social conscience that aligns with your brand’s core values.

Create personal growth opportunities
Moreso than millennials, Gen Z’s are looking for opportunities to learn new things and hone their skills. The vast majority of Gen Zers globally believe it’s important to develop new skills throughout life (79%) and stay well-informed about things (77%) says the Facebook Gen Z IQ Report. Offer the solution by creating content that teaches them something, be it video tutorials or product demos. If it’s good, it will pique their curiosity and if it’s great, they will share it with their social media followers.

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