Gen Z Marketing Tips

gen z

Gen Z are a unique subset of consumers — they’re tech-savvy, they view social media and advertising differently than other generations and expect more from brands than just good products. And even though it may feel like you constantly have to change up your marketing strategies to appeal to a new generation, it’s extremely important to learn what the new kids on the block like and dislike. 

“Recent research shows that over 54% of Gen Zers spend 4+ hours on social media, and at least 35% spend more than four hours,” says digital marketing expert Anna Covert. “As Gen Z and newer generations turn towards social media for community, their purchasing power is also rapidly growing alongside their online presence.”

Covert notes that as of December 2023, Gen Z has a global estimated purchasing power of $450 billion, which is higher than any previous generation in history. This is not even the full economic power they can reach as new technologies such as AI algorithms and shopping become more convenient and popular.

So how can retailers effectively capture their attention? Covert offers three key marketing tips to attract and retain Gen Z consumers:

1. Be Open and Transparent About Your Message

Marketers need to remember that Gen Z is the first generation to grow up with social media, notes Covert, which means they are on the lookout for companies that don’t “do what they say and say what they do.”

“These consumers are seeking authentic, purpose-driven companies to engage with and champion,” she says. “Companies should spend more time on each message to make sure it’s clever, insightful, shows the true value of the brand and is unique.”

To really stand out to Gen Z consumers, Covert advises retailers to really focus on why you are in the business and what value you are providing below the surface. 

“For example, a dentist provides teeth cleaning and dental surgery,” she says. “To connect with Gen Z, the focus should be on the provider’s mission and passion around helping people feel confident enough to smile from cheek to cheek. Why? We believe the smile is the gateway to human connection and will make your life happier. The proof? Video testimonials from happy customers and the team on how their lives were transformed.”

2. Create Content and Opportunities That Involve Gen Z in Your Story

Covert explains that it’s crucial for retailers to develop content and opportunities that include Gen Z consumers. Including them in your brand story can help not only attract this generation, but retain them for the long run. 

“For example, that same dentist could have an interactive application allowing the person to upload a picture of their current smile and see how it can change the way they feel about themselves,” she says. “Gen Zers are motivated by the concept of ‘gamification’ where they are part of the process of building something that has a result they influence.”

All in all, Gen Z consumers are attracted to content that doesn’t explicitly seem like an advertisement. For inspiration, look at companies such as Tinder, Duolingo and Taco Bell that use creative memes and current trends to attract attention. They also engage as viewers, commenting on random videos to get their online presence out there and to make them seem more relatable.

3. Play Into Trends

Covert advises that one of the best ways you can attract Gen Z consumers is to play into trends. “As Gen Zers primarily use apps such as TikTok and Instagram, these services provide an algorithm that makes specific videos viral and allows others to gain attraction based on their interactions with these videos,” she says.

Because of TikTok’s algorithm, retailers should start taking advantage of popular trends and memes to get more eyes on your content. 

For smaller brands that don’t have a big marketing budget, keep your focus on TikTok since that’s where most Gen Zers will be. “Marketers should use TikTok analytics and take advantage of TikTok Shop,” says Covert. “TikTok Shop makes shopping convenient compared to other social media platforms. You can advertise a video on TikTok and attach your link to your shop without the viewer having to exit the app.”

As you utilize these tips and strategically market to Gen Z consumers, Covert reminds retailers to change things up every now and then. “Doing the same thing will lead to a high burn rate with Gen Z, as they’re easily bored and experts at multitasking,” she says. “This makes it even more important to stand out or create reasons for them to share, save or engage.”