I’m Scott Hirsch, the CEO of MediaDirect. And I’m excited to be guest-authoring this blog about marketing to a Generation Z audience.
This is topic is something Scott Hirsch have developed an expertise in over recent years, and it’s something that continues to confuse marketers far and wide.
Gen Z is unlike all generations that came before, being born during the digital revolution. They’ve only known a world with high-speed WiFi, smartphones, and social media.
With Gen Z’s $140 billion worth of spending power, it’s well worth learning about the five following marketing strategies to leverage the market space:
1. Don’t Try to Hide Skeletons in the Closet
Gen Z will scour the ends of the digital earth to learn about your brand. They’ll carefully browse your website and read through your social media channels with the utmost scrutiny.
Moreover, Gen Z will study comments and reviews for social proof because they want to trust brands they’re aligning with.
Expect to be held accountable by Gen Z–especially when it comes to social responsibility. And be upfront about working towards becoming better.
For instance, Cocokind–as a skincare brand–will be publicly reporting on the racial/ethnic makeup of their team.
2. Brands Need Personalities that Pop
Gen Z isn’t interested in sleek, minimalist aesthetics. They want loud brands that aren’t afraid to make a statement.
One brand thriving with this approach is Starface, which sells pimple protectors. Their social media channels and website consist of smiley faces and yellow stars. Needless to say, Starface isn’t hiding from anyone with their designs.
3. Avoid Brand Neutrality on Social Issues
A golden rule in advertising has always been to avoid politics and social issues no matter what. The idea was that no matter someone’s political views, they’re still consumers.
However, with Gen Z, fence-sitting is no longer an option. This age group expects brands to take a stand on social justice issues.
NASCAR provides an excellent example of this shift. They banned confederate flags from their events in June of last year–a decision bound to upset a significant portion of their base.
But the bulk of NASCAR’s audience– especially those below 40–were thrilled with the decision.
4. Respect Gen Z’s Algorithmic Fluency
Part of being digital natives means grasping technological nuances better than previous generations. Gen Z speaks to this notion, with almost 50% of college students knowing how to train algorithms to give them what they want.
This demographic actively leaves comments and clicks content they want on their feeds.
You need to speak the language of Gen Z if you’re going to reach them with your message. Relying on social media algorithms to do the work for you isn’t enough.
5. Distance Yourself From the Establishment
When have younger generations ever cared for authority?
Trust in major institutions recently dropped from 56% to 46% for Gen Z. The most considerable decreases were seen with the police, the government, news media, and the criminal justice system.
This doesn’t mean trying to be inauthentically “edgy” or “cool.” Gen Z can sniff out phony attempts at rebelliousness from a mile away. Instead, look at a brand like Ben & Jerry’s, which has been anti-establishment for 42 years without coming across as forced or fake.
Use these tips and start reaching the lucrative Gen Z market with increasing effectiveness.