The Gen Z-ers are the youngest generation of consumers, also known as the iGeneration and the Post-Millenials. They are now in their teens or early 20s. In other words, the older bracket of the generation is just about to enter the workforce. Their earning capacity will increase, meaning their spending power will grow, meaning they will be able to buy from your business. But how do you convince them to?
Drawing lines between the different generations is a tricky business. There’s some disagreement on how to identify each subgroup, but here’s a good rule of thumb. A potential customer would be considered a Post-Millenial if they were born sometime between the mid-90s (around 1996) and the 2010s.
Members of this generation share some common factors that shape them as consumers:
- They’re pragmatic
- They’re frugal and emphasize saving money
- They grew up in a recession
- They’re native to mobile technology
- They’re fond of video content
- They prefer to have important communication recorded in emails
Perhaps most importantly, they prefer different platforms to their predecessors. You won’t find many Gen Z-ers on Facebook. Instead, tailor your campaign to YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, Discord, and Twitch.
Snapchat videos, TikToks, and Instagram Reels all cap at 60 seconds. TikTok recently allowed up to 3 minutes, but the short form remains the most popular. Tailor your content to Gen Z’s short attention span.
Forget long intros and get straight to the point of each post. Keep them engaged with music, challenges, and special effects. Crash tutorials are also a great idea.
It’s best to make original videos for each platform. Recycled content will quickly bore your audience and they’ll navigate away. In addition, a platform might suppress or ban content from other channels, as Instagram is doing with TikTok.
We mentioned that Gen Z likes social responsibility in a business. To really appeal to them, you need to demonstrate that you care about the planet and the people. So, review your operating model and communication style. You may want to bring in some strategic business consulting experts who can help you with audits, assessments, planning, and implementation of new strategies.
Take a moment to consider your niche and which social issues it fits into. For example, if you’re a clothing brand, focus on sustainable manufacturing and fair labor. If you sell pet food, review the veterinary aspects of your ingredients.
Even if you don’t think that you directly contribute to a problem, find something that relates to your business and participate. Some of the issues that this demographic cares about are:
- Body positivity
- The pandemic
- Systemic racism
- The Black Lives Matter movement
- Systemic sexism (in either direction!)
- LGBTQIA+ rights
- Workers’ rights
- Mental health issues
- Youth activism
- Climate activism
Proactivity is key. To Gen Z, taking no stance is also taking a stance – possibly the worst kind. The biggest blow to your reputation would be “performative activism”, also known as “wokevertising”. That’s hopping on the social justice train without real conviction, just for promotional purposes.
You can support whichever cause you want, as long as you actually deliver on the values that drive the issue. Remember that these customers are very discerning and won’t hesitate to publicly share their opinion.
Gen Z insists on honest brands that they can trust. Being exposed to the Internet since day one, these people are well-versed in researching products and sellers before they make any decision. They want to know that you’re inclusive, socially aware, and ecologically responsible. They also have an uncanny instinct for seeing through cheap marketing tricks.
This demographic has “authenticity” as its watchword. In a practical context, they want to:
- Understand what your business stands for
- Be sure that you aren’t tricking them for a quick buck
- See you treating customers as humans, not profit cogs
A big part of that is rejecting the unrealistic ideals of past times. Movements like body positivity and acceptance of neurodivergence are your ticket to them. Here are some steps you can take to win the trust of Gen Z customers:
- Don’t use Photoshop in your visual media
- Be transparent about where and how you source your materials
- Pay workers fair wages and promote work-life balance
- Adapt your product or service to various body types
- Feature a diverse cast in your ads (in terms of race, ethnicity, gender, age, and ability)
- Hire young consultants for your media campaigns
Gen Z has some specific preferences and demands that set them apart from the previous generations. To successfully market to this demographic, you have to understand what attracts them. Target their sense of social and ecological justice, their short attention spans, and their desire for transparency and inclusivity.