Let’s Be Real: Marketing to Gen Z

Posted by: Sarah Steinman

Disruption. It’s innovation, and creates the need for adaptation. Generation Z is disrupting the marketplace. You have to understand disruption if you’re going to understand the concept of Marketing to Gen Z. Not only are we an incredibly different audience from our Millennial predecessors, we’re also powerful spenders. According to Joe Cardador, PhD, VP of consumer intelligence at Barkley, Gen Z is on track to become the largest generation of consumers. We already represent about $143 billion in buying power and strongly influence household spending. Generation Z grew up with the internet and social platforms, we are proud of our niche interests and only pay attention to the brands that appeal to us.

According to Gregg Witt, youth culture strategist and EVP at Motivate, while Millennials flat out ignore all things advertising, Gen Z will look; but only at those brands that stand for values that resonate with us. It’s less about each specific product and much more about the values and personality of the brand. But as seen with the Kendall Jenner Pepsi debacle, it takes more than saying the right words or using the right influencers, the brand has to actually share these ideals and be authentic. The only thing worse to Gen Z than not being relatable, is pretending to be. We like to see companies that not only say things we like but do something about it. We are strong proponents of the ‘put your money where your mouth is’ frame of mind.

Here’s the thing, we don’t need brands to create communities for us, with the internet and social platforms as they are, we’ll do it ourselves. The key becomes finding our spaces and resonating with us so that we add your brand to our community. Make us your brand advocates. As seen on Amazon reviews, we listen to each other much more than we listen to mass media. According to Colleen Vaughan of Collective Bias, only about 3% of consumers base product choice on traditional celebrities, while 60% will choose based off something they saw on social media or blog reviews. This is why YouTube and Instagram influencers create far better results than traditional celebrities. Our trust in each other is further represented by the development of the share economy, like Lyft, Uber and AirBnB.

In short, be relatable, relevant, and most of all be genuine with it. We want to believe that your brand is on our team, but we have to feel it. The best way to do that is to ‘put your money where your mouth is’ and really stand for something. Once you do that, you’ll get us advocating for you. And those we listen to most are our fellow Gen Z members.

About Sarah Steinman

Sarah is a copywriter who loves working with varied brands. She has written for many firms including: Dairy Queen, Missouri Lottery, Gallo Wines, Spirit Airlines, and Nighthawk Radiology. She enjoys the challenge and excitement of...See Sarah's full bio.