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What you need to know about marketing to Generation Z

Gen Z marks the generation born between 1997 and 2012 and are between the ages of 6 and 24. Globally they are the largest generation in modern history. Characterised as the most tech-savvy generation yet, they are known for their short attention spans, scepticism and connectivity. There is a commonly held false belief that they don’t have much spending power, however, research shows they tend to have income in the form of student loans, part-time jobs, side-hustles as well as support from family members. Gen Z is found to have a big influence over the buying decisions of both Millennials and Generation X, making them a very lucrative audience for marketers to target.

Gen Z are known for being very brand conscious and tend to engage with brands that emulate their values. For them buying something is more than transactional, it reflects who they are as an individual. Businesses looking to sell to Gen Z consumers would do well to have a good understanding of how they think- in the hopes of better fulfilling their needs.

They are savvy and price-conscious  

Gen Z will take a strategic approach to finding a product and will make buying decisions based on what their social network is posting about, what their friends are talking about and will research products and services thoroughly through Youtube and review sites.

Not only are they looking for the best and most popular product or service, but they are also looking for a good bargain. Students are unafraid to switch brands if they feel they can get a better deal elsewhere and are attracted by online discount codes.

They are digital natives and expect brands to be the same

Gen Z know the internet better than the back of their hand and have a low tolerance for brands with old websites, little social media activity and outdated perspectives. With the insurgence of apps such as the short-form video-sharing app TikTok, their attention spans are lower than ever, meaning that brands need to work extra hard to grab and hold their attention.

They care about what brands stand for

Generation Z take a lot of personal responsibility for where they shop, and they see choosing ethical brands as doing their part to better the world. They are highly conscious about sustainability and are willing to pay more when products or services are ethically sourced. Gen Z consumers are highly perceptive and will quickly see-through marketing that is disingenuous.

Key take-away messages

  • Stand for something as a brand and make this known. Establish a clear set of values both internally and externally and ensure this is clearly communicated at all points of the customer journey.
  • Be transparent and accountable. Make information about your product or service readily available and engage in social listening to see what customers are saying.
  • Make sure your branding is on point and ‘gram worthy’. This way your customers are more likely to do your marketing for you by sharing their purchase on their social channels, influencing their peers.
  • Make use of student discounts and offer good value for money- if you don’t, your competitors will.
  • Be where Gen Z are and make sure your website and social media are modern and usable. Advertise and target Gen Z in the right places.