Marketing to Generation Z, Gen Z, Zoomers, whatever you like to call them, can feel tricky. Gen Z is the next generation, following millennials.
How old are they? That’s kind of tricky — generally they’re born somewhere between 1996 and 2012, but the years differ slightly depending on who you ask.
The point is, they’re the new “young” generation. When we talk about marketing to them, we’re kind of talking about people who’re aged between 16 and 25.
In case you’ve missed it, Gen Z is on the rise and they’re seriously rinsing the rest of us. We should all be scared.
i’m awake at 3 am and i just want everyone to know what gen z says about millennials on tiktok….. pic.twitter.com/zduy5QmBCG
— al (@local__celeb) June 14, 2020
also have to give credit where it’s due to the video that started it all from mayalepa on tiktok. brutal pic.twitter.com/iMOKWjvzSq
— al (@local__celeb) June 14, 2020
To be fair… she has a point.
So, how do we market to them?
Content marketing is crazy effective. Just not when it comes to Marketing to Generation Z.
So, you’ve probably heard us go on and on about content marketing in the past. We’re into it, what can we say. Content marketing is insanely effective.
It’s a multi-beneficial marketing avenue that targets a bunch of different elements you need in your marketing to succeed. It connects with your audience, it helps you rank on Google, and it positions you as a business who knows what’s going on (ideal).
Recently though, we actually ran a survey asking 1,001 Australians what they think of content marketing. I know, pretty fancy.
We were fairly surprised by the results though. To be honest, I predicted that millennial females would be among the most reliant on content, and men in that over-45s bracket would be a hard “no” on it.
The opposite was true.
Over 45s actually relied on content like How To blogs and the like the most. While a quarter of them say they’ve used content to make a purchase in the past, a further 10 per cent of them said they often seek content before making a purchase.
Our Zoomer mates? Not so much. A massive 68 per cent of Generation Z said they’ve never used content to make a purchase. Meanwhile, 13 per cent said they’ve done so once or twice, and only 12 per cent were dedicated fans of content.
So, how do you market to Generation Z?
Something worth mentioning here is that while yeah, Generation Z aren’t responding to content marketing the way the rest of us do, that doesn’t mean they don’t at all.
Gen Z are good at content
This generation actually froths content more than millennials love telling you their Hogwarts House. What evidence do I have? Existing on social media.
Gen Z are so obsessed with content that they’re the first generation to be making their own on such a large scale.
Millennials did too, sure. We had Myspace, Bebo, Livejournal, Tumblr. There are a bunch of us who grew up coding our own special MySpace themes, taking artsy pics for Tumblr, and writing ridiculously long-form Livejournal blog posts.
The evolution of user generated content makes sense. They have newer, better technology and there are more people using it than ever before.
So, it makes sense that the new generation can throw together a cool video on their iPhone in minutes, take way artsier pics but for the ‘gram this time, and craft a tweet that earns them 287k retweets worth of clout.
So yours needs to be better
There was a time where it was really novel that marketers could personalise their emails by using your name. There was a time where a brand having a funny or cool persona on social media was so different that that alone positioned them in a crazy positive light (Taco Bell, Wendy’s).
— Wendy’s (@Wendys) January 3, 2017
Now though, being funny on Twitter isn’t enough. Posting a good meme on your brand’s IG isn’t enough. Sending an email with a list of your products? Not enough. A how-to blog? Nah.
Generation Z are making really, really good content. So yours? It needs to be better.
Gen Z likes fun, exciting, and funny content.
Honestly, this should be a rule for all marketing. Just because you can get away with the bare bones and just chatting about your product or service doesn’t mean you should.
You should try and connect with the demographic you’re marketing to. Make it fun, make it entertaining, make it so that even if they didn’t need your product this week, they’re still stoked they consumed your content.
Social Conscience is Everything
Gen Z are woke AF. They don’t really respond to tone deaf marketing. So, if you’re trying to sell to them, your materials need to be diverse. Diverse in gender, race and culture, body types and sizes, ability, and sexuality.
They’re not afraid to call brands out and rinse them either. So, sharing a graphic about climate change if your brand is using tonnes of unnecessary plastic will probably won’t go well.
Marketing to Generation Z, you’ll need to be socially conscious, environmentally conscious, and culturally conscious. Supporting good causes can also help you resonate with this generation.
They love a bit of nostalgia
When marketing to Gen Z, turn up the nostalgia — even if it’s not really theirs. Gen Z are obsessed with the 90s. Who can blame them? Responsible for the peak grunge era while simultaneously bringing us Spice Girls, Alanis Morissette, and Blink-182. What a decade.
Anyway, those colourful butterfly hair clips? Black chokers? VSCO filters? Scrunchies?! Gen Z borrows heavily from the 90s and those nostalgic ~vibes~.
Use social media, wisely.
Gen Z can actually smell millennials on TikTok. So, if you’re going to try and jump on that train, you’ll need to be clever about it. No, your entire office doing the synchronised ‘Flashing Lights’ dance is not clever. Snapchat marketing likely won’t work for Gen Z, nor Facebook. Instagram, Instagram’s IGTV, Youtube, and TikTok are your very best bets.
Use email marketing, but make it clever.
We touched on this earlier, but Gen Z have had email marketing for as long as they’ve had email addresses. So personalisation is nothing new to them — that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use personalisation in your emails though. It means you need it more.
Use clever segmentations to really, really personalise the content you’re sending out. Whether you segment them by their age, location, purchasing habits, whatever. Gen Z absolutely froths convenient emails. The sort that says, “Hey, that product you looked at is on sale now.” Or, “You brought this phone, now we have these cases to protect it.”
Make it authentic too. Zoomers like transparency and authenticity. That means no overzealous claims, no super salesy copy, and usually, a bit of a conversational tone.
As well as that, make it entertaining. This isn’t really a marketing to Generation Z specific point, honestly. Everyone likes being entertained.
Obviously there’s a time and place for it. So, if you’re marketing a Not For Profit who raises money for orangutans in palm oil plantations — it’s not really the time for a joke.
But, if you’re selling relatively non-serious products or services, make it engaging. Make light fun of issues in your industry or tie a recent pop culture event into a story around your brand.
Visual content is everything.
Literally no generations enjoy reading a wall of text. Writers don’t even like reading walls of text. Use visual content to break copy up and make sure it relates to what you’re saying. Use company images, product images, engaging video, or even user generated content to engage — whether it’s on your website, landing page, or in an email.