Marketing to Generation Z

Last up in our series on generational advertising, we’ll be tackling marketing to the youngest generation, a group whose identify is still forming: Generation Z. While you may think of them as young —and many of them are—the fact of the matter is that many Gen Zers are in college or even entering the workforce. What’s more, combined with their own financial power and their influence on household purchases, they account for $143 billion in buying power.

Generation Z at a Glance

Nicknamed “Zoomers,” Gen Z starts roughly with those born around 1997. As the generation is still forming its identity, the “cutoff date” for Gen Z hasn’t been fully established, but it’s usually estimated to be between 2012 and 2015, making Gen Z between the ages of six and 24. At 2 billion in number, they’re the largest of the generational groups, and they’re generally characterized as innovative, well-educated, and pragmatic.

Gen Z are often referred to as “digital natives”—they grew up with the internet and mobile technology heavily, if not fully, integrated into their lives. The COVID-19 pandemic hit when many Gen Zers were reaching important milestones, like graduating high school, starting or finishing college, or entering the workforce. The job recession hit Gen Z the hardest, causing difficulty finding employment at a critical time, and many either chose or were forced to move back in with their parents to save money.

Take a Stance

Many members of Gen Z have been the ones at the forefront of social justice and environmental protection movements, and like Millennials, they’re serious about supporting brands that align with their political and socio-economic values. Neutrality on issues is not a choice if you’re looking to appeal to these members of Gen Z—they want to know what you stand for, and they want to see you demonstrate it through ads, charity, and transparent, ethical business practices. When it comes to advertising, make sure you understand the difference between pandering to popular causes and truly supporting popular causes.

Get to the Point

You’ve probably heard the news: studies suggest Gen Z’s attention span is now just 8 seconds, even less than their Millennial predecessors. However, an article by Fast Company suggests a more nuanced take. Growing up in a digital era, surrounded by limitless information and entertainment, Gen Z’s shorter attention span actually serves as a filter, which helps them decide which content is valuable enough to learn more about and which is time-wasting drivel.

And if it interests them, they will seek out more information. Internet-savvy, Gen Zers know how to do their research on your product or service—all you need to do is quickly demonstrate that your brand is worth their time.

The Influence of Influencers

Traditional, paid-actor advertising doesn’t work as well with many members of Gen Z. It often comes across as disingenuous, as selling for the sake of selling rather than for adding actual value to the consumer’s life. User-generated, influencer marketing is your friend when advertising to Gen Z—44% say they have made purchases based on promotion from an online influencer.

Partner with figures who have platforms on Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube, where Gen Z is most active, and remember that simplicity and reality are key. Gen Z tends not to respond well to campaigns that present a polished, perfect representation of what life should be. Let the influencers you partner with generated real, genuine content—allow them to give viewers an honest look at how your product or service brings value to their lives.

If you’re looking for promotional products to appeal to your Gen Z audience, look no further than Facetime Business Resources. Visit our online store, or check out the Facetime Business Resources blog for more articles on generational marketing.

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