Seven Effective Secrets Behind Marketing to Gen Zs

Andie Phoon

Andie Phoon

It’s no secret that Gen Z is the fastest and largest growing consumer audience in the world. After all, they do make up 32 percent of the world’s 7.7 billion-person population.

Whatever you think you know about this demographic, throw it out. The Covid-19 pandemic has inflicted unforgettable trauma on Gen Zs’ lives. We’ll never approach work, school, and socializing the same way again. Not only has the pandemic changed the way we live, but the way we market as well. 

While marketing to Gen Zs may seem daunting to some brands, it is possible to pivot your marketing strategies to resonate with this ever growing next generation. That’s why I’m writing this–to share some of the secrets of marketing to Gen Zs and help businesses figure out which strategy will lead them toward success.

Table of Contents

Who is Gen Z?

First, let’s take a look at the characteristics of Gen Zs. This generation is known as “children of the internet” or “digital natives”. As a Gen Zer myself, I can attest to being well-versed with anything in the digital world. Not only are Gen Zers naturally digital savvy, but also more accepting, progressive, and diverse–both racially and ethnically–than any other generation. We are on track to becoming the most educated generation, which plays a big factor in our consideration stage, as we like to evaluate all our options. 

Knowing what we know now, businesses need to have a pulse on what Gen Zs want and look for from brands. While marketing to younger consumers have always been tricky–trends come and go; demographic data evolves constantly–Gen Zs make their buying behavior less difficult to figure out. Why? With how vocal they are about their values and beliefs, both online and offline, many businesses can leverage this as a springboard toward understanding their wants and needs better.

However, I must warn you that there’s a pitfall when it comes to generalizing an entire generation. It’s a surefire way of turning them off from your brand and offerings. That’s why it’s key for brands to learn how to bridge the gap–or unlock the secret of marketing–between Gen Z and other generations.

With all these factors in mind, let’s dive into what will make your marketing to Gen Zs successful and effective.

The Seven Effective Secrets Behind Marketing to Gen Zs

1. Capitalize on visual, eye-catching content

prefer using Instagram, TikTok, and Youtube
use social platforms for shopping inspiration
are only interested in watching video content

It’s becoming increasingly apparent that Instagram, Youtube, and TikTok are the preferred social networks of Gen Zs. In fact, 71 percent of Gen Zs use these platforms as their main assembly of networks, while 97 percent say that they now use social media as their top source of shopping inspiration. 

Not only do Gen Zs use social media like it’s a lifeline, they also have an appetite for bite-sized videos, and 61 percent of consumers are specifically only interested in watching more video content. 

As such, marketers should consider incorporating more visual content into their strategies and deploy them via social platforms like Instagram Stories, Instagram Reels, or TikTok. 

Let’s take a look at ZALORA’s strategy of utilizing TikTok to market to Gen Zs and other generations.

@zalora

Hot girl summer looks from Trendyol! Which outfit is your fav? 🌴 ##tryonhaul ##fashionhaul ##trendyol ##zaloragetthelook ##dress ##fyp

♬ original sound - ZALORA

By leveraging TikTok’s short-form video feature, ZALORA’s cost per acquisition (CPA) dropped by 72 percent, while their cost per new customer (CAC) also lowered by 14 percent. As a result, the brand saw an increased conversion rate of 1.76 times.

Whoa, talk about awesome results. 

My advice for brands is to consider making stylized visual content one of their top priorities for catching the attention of Gen Zs. However, you might be asking: How can I implement this? Well, in the wake of constantly changing trends, apps, social features, and more, you need to stay on top of what is currently popular. The one guaranteed way to achieve this is by following what’s new on TikTok, Instagram, and Youtube yourself. By being aware of the latest trends, you’ll be able to stand out and remain intriguing to Gen Zs. 

2. Showcase an authentic, relatable brand

Gen Zs are big fans of transparency and authenticity. So, it may sound like a no-brainer when I say that Zoomers support brands they think are cool, real, and fun. 

To put this strategy into practice, you can experiment with these two options:

  1. Incorporate meme-centric social content into your posts as part of your 80/20 rule
  2. Show the fun side of your brand (whether it’s quirky, sarcastic, witty, etc.)

A potential challenge you may face is simply keeping up with how fast trends change. Brands that try to post a year-old meme may result in coming off as out of touch. Another catch-22 is that not all brands have the benefit of incorporating memes into their social media content calendar strategy.

However, there’s one essential element that never changes for any brand, and that is having a distinct brand to help them stand out from the pack. When you demonstrate a more human touch to your brand, you will automatically have more authentic interactions with customers, which is key in increasing in brand awareness and loyalty. 

3. Promote your company's values and purpose

Gen Zs are incredibly aware of the socio-economical, political, and environmental problems we face today. As a result, they care greatly about the world and are more serious about these issues than any other generation before them. In fact, they are three times more likely to choose brands that are socially responsible and eco-friendly. 

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Gen Z consumers have high expectations when it comes to brands and their values. If brands try to avoid being transparent about where they stand, Gen Zs are more skeptical about them. This stems from growing up in an era of “fake news”, which has led them to developing strong media literacy and a natural BS detector. 

TL;DR, we are looking to invest in brands that are a reflection of our values and beliefs. We want transparency; We want brands that walk the walk. 

Let’s take TOMS Shoes as an example. 

TOMS has recently started focusing on expanding sustainable practices in the key areas of their business. They’ve also invested their profits into grassroots efforts, which is an initiative that concentrates on improving their surrounding communities.

Here’s my advice: 

  1. Question what your purpose is–besides making money–and figure out how that translates to Gen Zs
  2. Take a bold stance in what you believe in as a brand and express that
  3. Be mindful of how you present your values and do so in an appropriate manner
  4. Most importantly, demonstrate that your brand is trustworthy and relevant

4. Try using interactive content

Research suggests that utilizing interactive content will be more effective in attracting Gen Zs. This is especially promising for brands, as 88% of marketers report that using interactive content has been effective in differentiating their brand from their competitors. 

Interactive content is a great way of catching the attention of Gen Zs, as their attention span only lasts for 8 seconds. Essentially, they want to do something that will immerse them in an enjoyable experience, even if it only requires the simple action of tapping, swiping, clicking, or liking.

Source: ATTN

While this may seem like a daunting task, there are a few ways you can foster audience engagement and interactivity. For example, you could trying conducting a fun poll using Instagram Stories’ polling features or create an engaging story-based campaign where consumers can choose what happens next. 

Your interactive content potential is only limited by creativity, so go all out and remember to stay on brand!

5. Partner with Nano-Influencers

It’s no secret that influencer marketing is a powerful way to generate brand awareness and sales. They’re a great avenue to explore if you’re looking for ways to move your consumers toward the consideration stage a lot faster. By implementing this strategy, you can also capitalize on the tried-and-true method of word-of-mouth marketing, as influencers are viewed as more trustworthy to their audience. 

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My suggestion? Find a nano-influencer that best represents your brand’s values and product(s)–one whose followers are within your target market–and partner with them to promote your brand, products, services, or more. From a brand’s perspective, engaging with a nano-influencer would be a more cost-effective partnership. Not only do they have high engagement rates and lower compensation rates, your brand is posed to get a greater ROI.

Why is this something I’m highly recommending for businesses to explore? Well, from a consumer’s perspective, nano-influencers are increasingly being regarded as trustworthy in their community, as their niche creates a larger sense of transparency and authenticity. 

They’re the perfect group of potential candidates to partner with!

6. Keep your ear to the ground and listen

Now, this may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised at how many businesses overlook this very important detail. Historically, brands have targeted their messaging at consumers, but they’ve rarely ever listened for a response. However, with social media becoming a large part of our daily lives, consumers are taking the conversation back into their own hands. 

In order to succeed in this new landscape, brands need to listen to their consumers, and with Gen Zs being the most vocal generation by far, they already expect brands to be good listeners.

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By giving Gen Z followers your undivided attention, you’ll be boosting brand loyalty and perception. This goes hand-in-hand with the fact that 47% of consumers consider brands to be first class when they have strong customer service.

You’re now probably wondering how you can listen to all your customers without getting overwhelmed. With the help of social listening tools, you can ensure that you’ll never miss out what Gen Zers are looking for.

7. Remember that one size does not fit all

It is easy to assume that Gen Zers are homogenous, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Realistically, they are notorious for being individualistic. 53% of Gen Zers report that their favorite brands understand them as individuals. As such, brands need to take Gen Zers differences in interests and engagement into account when developing campaigns, marketing messages, content, and more. 

How do you implement this fundamental piece of information to your marketing strategy then? Don’t pander to Gen Zs; instead, influence them. Create content that actually makes them feel seen and understood as individuals. Give them products, messages, and services that fit their needs. 

Most importantly, remember that one size does not fit all.

How are you marketing to Gen Zs?

Marketing to Gen Zs may require some expert maneuvering, but with a little bit of elbow grease and well-informed, well-thought out strategies, it’s entirely possible.

However, turning that into a reality may still be a challenge. What do you need to start off with first? Creating more visual content? Figuring out what makes your business unique? Focus on more one-to-one conversations with your customers? 

We can definitely help you out if you need a hand. Our team of experts focus on helping businesses, organizations, and brands like yours in navigating the tricky waters of Gen Z marketing. 

Ready to take your Gen Z marketing strategy to the next level? Get in touch with us to get a free consultation session! We’d love to help you succeed.

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