9 Vital Marketing Strategies To Engage With Gen Z in 2021

  • Date Published
  • Categories Blog, Guide
  • Reading Time 8-Minute Read

Marketing to the Gen Z demographic is an art. It requires more than just simply selling a product. Defined as those born between 1996 and 2010.

Marketing to the Gen Z demographic is an art. It requires more than just simply selling a product. Defined as those born between 1996 and 2010, this generation is value-conscious, digitally-driven, difficult to attract and incredibly lucrative. It’s not surprising that so many marketers are banging their heads against a wall asking, How do you target Generation Z?

Traditional methods of marketing will not work on this generation as well as it does on others. They’re creative, bold, and the creators of trends on TikTok, Instagram Reels, and other platforms rather than just the followers they are often depicted as. All this means that finding an answer to the question, ‘what is the most effective way to market to Generation Z’ requires a slightly different approach than their millennial counterparts.

Initially, to the experienced marketer, they may seem like an entirely new type of consumer. They appear to be immune to traditional forms of advertising and won’t hesitate to spread the word far and wide about a negative experience, effectively damaging your credibility with a huge number of people who may never have even come across your name or brand before.

Despite this potential pitfall though, this demographic is increasingly desirable. They have enormous spending power, are incredibly loyal and focus on social media to give them a voice. Understanding what these specific customers want opens your business up to a whole world of new possibilities and opportunities, but needs constant observations and amendments to ensure you aren’t missing out on key social media trends. As soon as you fall behind Gen Z you have lost them, and they are always looking to move forward on the next best thing.

Why Gen Z Requires A Special Focus

They are young, tech-savvy, and socially conscious, Gen Z is the most racially and ethnically diverse generation of all time who just happens to come with an estimated spending power of over $140 billion. Unlike previous generations, this group has grown up surrounded by the internet, eCommerce, smartphones, and ever-changing social media platforms; they are the digital native generation. They spot false advertising immediately, they understand online better than anyone else and are therefore more likely to buy from brands that have established clear values, are inclusive, and have a strong online community which they can be a part of.

They are not just a demographic, but a psychological outlook on the wider world. They are also in many cases contradictory and therefore difficult. For example, they look to challenge institutions and invest heavily in inclusivity, yet remain fiercely independent and individual. And they spot fake advertisements and anything disingenuous in a heartbeat. It’s a tightrope you’re walking when interacting with them which is why they require a special focus.

They’re driving spending, are behind some of the largest behavioral and cultural shifts we have ever seen, and are likely to lead to changes that will have ripple effects far down the line. If you haven’t started thinking about this younger generation, 2021 is the time to start. With strategies tailored specifically to Gen Z, you can tap into their audience and create content they’ll engage with, all without ever losing or alienating your current base of customers.

9 Marketing Strategies To Engage With Gen Z in 2021

Treating all of Gen Z like a singular block is a surefire way to miss the mark. It’s key that brands learn how to bridge the gap between Gen Z and other generations of customers, particularly millennials. While these tips will emphasize marketing strategies Gen Z, many of these tips can also be applied to millennials in most instances too.

1. Promote Your Values

Establishing your brand’s values and communicating them effectively is key to connecting with Gen Z. Being transparent and taking accountability for any missteps is important because Gen Z has no problem doing their own deep-dive research. They’ll scour your website, scroll through social media accounts, and read every comment or review. This is why company culture matters as your brand should hold the same values externally and internally. Champion diversity, raise awareness for social issues and anything else of this ilk but promote your values to make an impression with Gen Z.

2. Visual Content

Gen Z is entirely visually led, it’s why Instagram and Pinterest are so important. Also, Gen Z spends more time on YouTube than anyone else so brands who incorporate Instagram Stories, Snapchat Stories, and short-form video content will instantly have their attention. Also any effects such as overlays, CTAs and promotion need to be first visually appealing in order to even be considered by Gen Z.

3. Think Video First

With this in mind, video and stylized visual content need to be the top priority for your brand. With so many new apps, social features and creative filters, anything that’s considered static will quickly be ignored. TakeTikTok as evidence of this, with over 500 million users, most of which are Gen Z, the platform represents a new wave of social media that marketers are still trying to wrap their heads around, but fully emphasize the importance of video.

4. Mobile Is Everything

Mobile optimization is essential. Smartphone usage is almost universal among Gen Z with most younger consumers spending at least four hours a day online. So a seamless mobile experience, from copy and clear calls-to-action to striking visuals, needs to be optimized for mobile formats. ASOS’s scroll-friendly, easy-to-navigate mobile product pages are probably the peak example of doing this right.

5. They Trust Influencers Over Brands

Although influencer campaigns mostly began for millennials, Gen Z listens to influencers carefully. YouTubers, Instagram ambassadors, Twitch streamers, Gen Z know who they like, and they listen to them. Consumer behavior highlights that influencers are the best way to reach younger customers versus any other marketing channels with most of Gen Z likely to discover new products organically via Instagram directly. Young consumers are more than twice as likely to follow influencers over brands on social media as they prefer to see marketing featuring “real people.”

6. Be Responsive When They Talk

Give Gen Z followers your undivided attention and they will stay loyal. Three-quarters of Gen Z want brands to respond to their comments and feedback, specifically linking it directly with authenticity. Gen Z likes to be able to go back-and-forth with brands quickly and get the answers they need without having to wait. To help with this, brands need to invest in social listening tools to ensure that they never miss brand or keyword mentions that could lead to meaningful customer interactions.

7. Interactive Content

Gen Z wants to do something when they land on your posts. Whether it’s clicking through something, watching something or swiping a direction, encouraging interactions help keep their attention. Consider interactive features such as Twitter polls to encourage engagement or quizzes that help buyers hone in on their individual style and personality. Combining interactivity and personalization is key to speaking to younger customers who want to be viewed as individuals within a group.

8. Showcase a Personality

Millennials like minimalism, Gen Z likes bold imagery. Don’t be afraid to take big risks and showcase a personality to stay front of mind. Thousands of marketing messages are sent every day on various social media platforms, so how can your brand stand out from the crowd? Create lively, bold, interactive content tailored to this audience with a short attention span. One thing that will help them stick around is a personality, so showcase it.

9. Build a Community

Creating a digital community is integral to your Gen Z marketing strategy. Gen Z is actively looking for ways to engage and connect with like-minded individuals and brands can help facilitate these authentic connections and conversations. Involve them in decisions, ask for their advice and feedback during product development and celebrate customers who’ve stayed loyal. This helps strengthen your overall community, as well as establishing the much-needed trust with your brand.

Final Thoughts

Social media, for local businesses especially, is now a necessary element. Gen Z marketing is a great way to reach a younger generation and connect with a new type of consumer. The Gen Z marketing trends we are seeing today, and in the near future, are not wildly disparate from many other demographics, they’re just the generation that’s best at noticing it and responding. These behaviors will have a long-term impact on consumers to come, so you need to start thinking about how you can incorporate these elements into your overall marketing strategies, as opposed to just viewing it as a one-off event.

Author Bio

Hannah O’Brien is a passionate content writer with an interest in digital marketing, social media, and copywriting. She writes for digital marketing agency Aumcore, which specializes in generating the prime digital experience paired with a top-notch content marketing plan.