Marketing to Gen Z: How to sell to the younger generation

A group of Gen Zers walking down the street. Title at the side reads: Gen Z: How to sell to the younger generation
Table of Contents

    Introduction

    A popular tweet on Twitter says: No amount of degree can help you understand marketing to Gen Z. It is all about staying online. There are no truer words than that! Marketers from around the world have mentioned how difficult it is to sell to the popular digital generation called Gen Z.

    No prestigious degree in the world will help you understand gen z marketing. you simply have to be chronically online

    @itsjamiecho

    However, no target market is hard to reach. The key is to find a concession that reaches your target market. So, how can you sell to Gen Z? This article will provide a guide on how to market and sell to the famous young generation, Gen Z.

    Key Takeaways

    • Gen Z are also called Zoomers and are a generation of young adults and teens who were born from 1995 to 2012.
    • The key to marketing and selling to Gen Z is authenticity.
    • Although the majority of Zoomers live with their parents, they still largely influence the purchasing power of their family.

    Who are Generation Z?

    Many people have different opinions on who Gen Z’s are. Some say that the generation starts from 1995 to 2012. Others say that it starts from 1997 to 2012. For this article, we will be choosing the former (1995 to 2012), making the oldest in the generation in their late 20s and the youngest still in their early 10s.

    The generation after Gen Z is Gen Alpha. Gen Zs are digital natives. Right from their childhood, they have been using the internet, social networks, and online shopping. The driving power of Gen Z is the quest for the truth. Before making a purchase, zoomers are ready to search every reliable source before purchasing any item.

    Is it Hard to Sell to Gen Z?

    The straightforward answer is No. However, it is not that simple. Currently, the largest consumer groups are the millennials. The baby boomers are the richest consumers, but Gen Z’s consumer power is growing. A study recently showed that Gen Z has about $360 billion in disposable income. 

    There are a few reasons why it is important to sell to Gen Z or Zoomers today. They are:

    • They are Loyal
    • They can Influence Their Family

    They are Loyal

    Gen Zs do not fickle or get swayed by anything. When they love your brand, they love you. This trait of loyalty is mostly seen in Gen Zs who see themselves as a bridge between Millenials and their supposed generation. This group of Gen Z is the popular Zillenials (people born from 1995 to 2002). 

    A report surrounding brand affinity and Gen Z carried out by IBM showed some important trends in their loyalty:

    • 46% of Gen Z have a strong loyalty to a brand
    • 59% trust brands they grew up with

    This trend shows that Zoomers can build relationships with brands and this is a good reason brands can start marketing to Gen Z today.

    They can Influence Their Family 

    The majority of Zoomers live with their parents, however, they earn money and can still influence their family’s purchasing power when it comes to food, vacation, and eating out.

    How does Marketing to Gen Z differ from Marketing to Millennials

    Both generations show similar traits when it comes to the use of the internet, but one depends more on social media to make buying decisions. Other things differentiate these two digital natives. They are:

    • Literacy: A study in 2019 showed that in the US, there were more Gen Z’ers who continued their education after high school when compared to Millennials and Gen Xers. This makes Zoomers literate enough to make better buying decisions.
    • Ethics & Diversity: Zoomers have also shown that they are more ethnically and racially diverse than Millennials. 
    • Liberalism: Although both generations are liberal, Zoomers seem to be more liberal than Millennials and are vocal about gender-neutral pronouns, gay marriage, and racial equality.

    Helpful Tips to Follow When Marketing to Gen Z

    The following are some important things you need to keep in mind when marketing to Zoomers:

    • Let Your Brand Value Speak
    • Do not Put up a Facade of Activism
    • Understand Gen Z Language
    • Go for Influencers
    • Create Entertaining Content
    • Choose the Right Social Platform

    Let Your Brand Value Speak

    Gen Z will engage your product and your brand. They do not separate a brand from its products or services. So when marketing your business to them, let your value speak first. Being transparent and trustworthy is a big factor that this generation considers the most. So, don’t go straight to selling to them. Start with content creation that tells what your brand values are and what your product or services can do.

    For instance, do you sell clothes? If you do, let your target audience know what and where the clothes are made. You can also show what work conditions you made them in.

    Do not Put up a Facade of Activism

    As we already said, Gen Z loves authenticity and are more liberal than other generations. They like when brands speak up to racial and ethnic biases or when they support things related to activism. But what if you overdo things because you want Zoomers to feel ‘you belong?’ Then, you are in for a disappointing outcome.

    There is nothing Gen Z hates more than performative activism. Zoomers do not hesitate to unfollow brands that they believe are unnatural. A study showed that Gen Zs are more likely to buy from a brand based on their impact on society. This means that this young generation is looking at how a brand treats its employees, its manufacturing processes, and what it is doing for the environment. 

    So, instead of putting on a show of activism once in a while, show that your business values are tied to helping people in various communities.

    Understand Gen Z Language

    Communication is the key to any successful business relationship. If you want to start a relationship with Zoomers, you need to speak their language. Follow Gen Z content creators on social media, watch what they put out there, and listen to their language. The truth is that this takes time. Do not force yourself to speak Gen Z language or go overboard. They will tag you as cringe. If you want to look cool, then act naturally.

    The best way to make your content speak Zoomer’s language is to hire them in your content team. Then, you have someone that connects more to them.

    Go for Influencers

    Now, not just any influencer, an influencer with a proven record of trust. One thing about Gen Zers is that they love to follow many influencers. These social celebrities affect most of their purchasing power. Collaborating with these content creators is a fine way to market to Zoomers. Gen Z loves to buy from brands their trusted influencers rave about.

    Create Entertaining Content

    Gen Zers love to follow brands and influencers because they produce entertaining content. If your content is boring, Zoomers would never notice you. Also, Zoomers are smart, sharp, and love dark humor. They like when you show them you can take a joke. So, let your content be funny and personal, and reflect that you are not sensitive to trivial issues.

    Choose the Right Social Platform

    If you want to reach the women of Gen Z, then TikTok is a great place to start. A study by Statista ranked TikTok as the 3rd most influential platform that influences Gen Z women’s buying decisions. The next platform that ranked high in affecting their buying decisions is Instagram, especially an IG influencer feed. According to a study, Twitter and Facebook ads had no influence whatsoever in convincing Gen Zers to buy a product.

    The Most Effective Social Media Marketing Strategies to Follow When Selling to Gen Z

    As you must have already known, Gen Z loves to use social media. So, if you want to sell to them, you have to be where they are mostly found. So, how can you use social media in selling to Zoomers? Here are 10 effective ways to do so:

    • Create Content for Each Social Media Channel
    • Engage Your Content
    • Short, Short, Short!
    • Use a Lot of Videos for Marketing
    • Be Authentic
    • Own up to Mistakes
    • Get a Gen Z for Your Social Media Marketing
    • Start or Join a Trend
    • Don’t be too Rigid
    • Use Real People in Your Content

    Create Content for Each Social Media Channel

    Do not replicate one post and send it across multiple channels. Be as creative as possible when marketing to Zoomers. Gen Z loves brands that use their social media platform uniquely like they do.

    For instance, you can post on:

    • TikTok and Instagram reel for trends
    • Instagram feed for inspirational posts
    • Twitter for the latest news
    • LinkedIn for career-curated content

    Engage Your Content

    Do not just post content and go about your way. Engage with the comments on your posts. In fact, the comment section of TikTok and Instagram has proven to be more entertaining than the post published most of the time. So, engage your content. 

    Short, Short, Short!

    Gen Z enjoys social platforms that post short content. This doesn’t mean that they don’t like long reels or TikTok, but they are more likely to watch content if it is not long and boring.

    Use a Lot of Videos for Marketing

    Whether you are trying to build your Gen Z following through paid ads or organic reach, videos are the best content to use. These digital natives love something they can watch. So, provide them with as many creative videos as possible.

    Be Authentic

    Although trends have made it difficult to find authentic content, it is still a good idea to let your marketing team think outside the box. An instance of being authentic is the recent ad by Surreal Cereal which showed what creative, innovative and authentic thinking means. This ad received a lot of praise from Twitter users and some tagged it as a genius marketing tactic.

    Gen Zers love brands that are fun and authentic. Show them interviews with your employees, bloopers, Behind The Scenes (BTS) videos, or anything that provides a connection between them. 

    Own up to Mistakes

    After all, Zoomers love the truth so if you make any mistakes, make sure you take full responsibility and remain as transparent as possible. Your credibility is important to this generation. 

    In 2015, the popular pop singer, Taylor Swift, who is Gen Z’s favorite musician posted on Twitter that Apple Music should be boycotted due to some rules on streaming services that do not benefit music artists. The tech giant quickly had the plan to right the situation with the help of its SVP, Eddy Cue, who offered a public apology on Twitter and gave some incentives to make things right.

    Get a Gen Z for Your Social Media Marketing

    Get a Gen Z influencer or social media manager or customer to engage in your marketing. There are a couple of ways to make a Gen Z influencer or your Gen Z customers involved in your marketing:

    • Ask your Gen Z customers if you can include their posts about your brand in your marketing message. 
    • Get a Zoomer to be on your marketing team. 
    • Get a Gen Z influencer to help you advertise your brands to followers. 

    Start or Join a Trend

    Take advantage of trends to advertise your products or services. If you want to release a new product, you start a trend or challenge and get as many people to participate in it. This can give you a lot of interaction and engagement.

    Don’t be too Rigid

    Zoomers are smart, love the environment, and hate discrimination, but they also know how to have fun. Ensure that your content is engaging and fun. Even when you are discussing serious matters, add fun and don’t make things rigid.

    Use Real People in Your Content

    Since Gen Zers love truth and authenticity, using user-generated content will often get good results in marketing to them. Use real people and customers in your marketing campaign. Let them hear stories of people who have used your products before and not just hearsay stories that are not related to your brand.

    Conclusion

    The best way to reach Zoomers is to use social media platforms and online marketing tools wisely. Having effective social media takes effort and time, but it will be worth it. Gen Z’ers are loyal, love authenticity, and want to build good relationships with trustworthy brands. Show them that your brand is worth buying from. 

    Frequently Asked Questions

    How is marketing to Zoomers different from that of other generations?

    Gen Zers are digital natives. They grew up in the world of digital marketing, and understand when marketing tactics are performative or lackluster and are harder to impress than other generations. This doesn’t mean that you cannot sell to them. The key is to remain authentic and use social media as often as possible.

    What does Gen Z want from brands?

    Zoomers are looking for engaging content that is not focused on conversions but on entertainment. They want posts or videos that are fun, tell a good story, and are worth the effort. 

    Can I place ads for Gen Z consumers?

    No, not in the traditional sense of paid ads. Traditional ads don’t require much effort in content creation. Brands that use traditional ads focus more on making sales than building customer relationships. On the other hand, professional and content ads that are honest, fun, and relatable are easily noticeable to Gen Z.