The landscape of marketing is in a state of constant change. Brands have to revamp their strategies with the introduction of every new technology or cultural shift. One such challenge that brands and marketers are facing at present is connecting with Generation Z. Their online behavior, purchase decisions, preferences, and aspirations, are very different from those of their predecessors, including millennials and Generation Y.
What makes Generation Z such a hot target demographic for brands is their estimated purchasing power of $44 billion. This figure is expected to rise further as they join colleges and start working. It is essential for brands to change their approach and develop new strategies to target Generation Z.
Before we discuss a few tips to connect with Generation Z, let us understand what sets them apart.
Decoding Generation Z
In simple terms, Generation Z refers to individuals who were born after 1995. It is the generation that is accustomed to using Google or Siri for any information. They have grown up with modern technology, including the internet and mobile devices such as smartphones. Their introduction to various social media platforms has also happened at a fairly young age.
Consequently, Gen Z is characterized by immaculate multi-tasking abilities and dwindling attention spans. Brands typically have only a few seconds to pitch to Gen Z consumers. However, if you manage to grab their attention, they can go on to become loyal advocates of your brand. According to Statista, 55% of Gen Z consumers tend to develop a fierce affinity for a brand they like.
It is evident that targeting Gen Z is vital for brands. When executed correctly, it can help you build an army of brand loyalists. Here are a few ways to connect with Gen Z:
Up Your Social Media Game
Gen Z consumers have grown up in the age of social media. It is only natural that they are avid social media users and tend to use different platforms multiple times every day. Therefore, if you want to target this demographic, it is necessary for your brand to have an active presence on various social media platforms.
You have to upload interesting content in the form of infographics, videos, blog posts, etc. It is equally essential to strike a conversation with your audience by responding to their comments and messages. In addition to building brand awareness, you can also use social media to drive conversions. A recent survey revealed that 33% of Gen Z respondents bought a product after seeing it on social media once in the previous month.
Image via Campaign Monitor
Product unboxing videos, tutorials, customer testimonials, and contests are some of the ways to increase sales using social media. Refrain from sharing overly promotional content. Gen Z consumers are extremely wary of brands that blow their own trumpets.
It is equally crucial to understand that Gen Z consumers use different social media platforms for varied purposes. While they might use Twitter to get their daily dose of news, they will use Instagram to showcase their aspirations. Therefore, brands should tailor their communication for each platform instead of uploading generic content across all of them.
Collaborate with Influencers
Gen Z tends to look up to social media influencers as their role models. They often swear by the recommendations made by their favorite influencers. Also, they are more likely to trust influencer-backed content over branded content. Social media influencers also have the power to shape their purchase decisions.
You can use all this to your advantage by collaborating with the right influencer to promote your brand. Make sure that the influencer’s public persona and content style aligns with your brand image. They should represent the same core values as your brand’s mission statement. It is also crucial to ensure that the influencer is relevant to your niche.
You can work with influencers to create compelling videos or announce attractive giveaways/contests. The key is to upload interesting content that lets your audience derive some kind of value. Trying too hard to showcase or sell your product can garner significant backlash. It will harm your brand reputation as well as the influencer’s image.
Leverage User-Generated Content
Round-the-clock access to information, including traumatic global events, often makes it difficult for Gen Z consumers to trust big organizations. This explains their dislike for brands that indulge in self-promotional strategies. An effective way of overcoming this barrier is to utilize user-generated content.
For instance, you can encourage your clients to share their honest feedback about your brand using a branded hashtag. They can even share their own pictures featuring your product/brand. This pool of user-generated content is essentially a powerhouse of testimonials that can strengthen your brand’s reputation and credibility.
Sharing such content on your social media platforms gives Gen Z consumers a glimpse of how others perceive your brand. This, in turn, makes it easier for them to trust your brand. Moreover, it boosts audience engagement and helps you forge a stronger bond with your potential customers.
Dannijo, the statement jewelry brand, uses this strategy to engage with their audience on Instagram.
Image via Instagram
Recent studies suggest that Gen Z’s most preferred device of choice is the mobile phone. Additionally, they spend at least five hours on their phones each day. Therefore, it is extremely crucial for brands to build a mobile-first marketing strategy. The first step is to tailor your content and style to suit mobile devices.
Note how the below website is optimized to fit the mobile screens.
Image via TravHelper
Using large fonts, proper formatting, and crisp sentences can help make your content mobile-friendly. In addition, simple steps such as adding subtitles to your Facebook videos can go a long way to hold your audience’s attention. It is equally crucial to ensure that your website and newsletters are mobile-responsive. You can also use bulk SMS software to send text messages with promotional offers.
Don’t Ignore Email Marketing
Gen Z indeed has a penchant for social media. This often leads brands to believe that email marketing won’t work for them. However, in a recent survey, 58% of Gen Z respondents revealed that they check their email multiple times every day. In addition, 23% of the respondents claimed to check their email at least once a day.
Contrary to what many brands believe, email marketing presents a goldmine of untapped opportunities to connect with Gen Z. As more brands shift their focus towards social media, your audience is being bombarded with generic and low-quality content. You can bypass this competition by delivering your communication to their inboxes.
While creating your email marketing strategy for Gen Z, you should keep three things in mind - content, frequency, and flexibility. Build a preference center that allows Gen Z subscribers to control their email preferences. Let them choose the type of content they want and how frequently they wish to receive it. Take a look at the screenshot below:
Image via Campaign Monitor
You can generate leads and drive conversions by including attractive offers and incentives in your emails. In addition, you can share product recommendations, client feedback, and testimonials. You should also share high-quality and valuable content from time to time. It is critical to avoid spamming your Gen Z subscribers with overly promotional content.
The rise of Gen Z brings in a new set of marketing challenges for brands. They are tech-savvy, possess short attention spans, and spend most of their time online. A one-size-fits-all advertising strategy is not likely to attract them. Instead, brands should focus on showcasing their human side and personalize their communication to connect with Gen Z.
A mobile-first strategy that utilizes social media and influencer marketing will help brands establish a strong relationship with Gen Z consumers. It is also essential for brands to win their trust by showcasing user-generated content. Lastly, traditional methods such as email marketing can also be used to develop a more personal connection with Gen Z.
What steps is your brand taking to reach out to Gen Z? Share your views in the comments section below.