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Marketing Strategy for Gen Z. A $200 Billion Powerhouse

Gen Z is the next big generational wave of consumers. A retail disrupter in the real sense. They are the very first generation who are smartphone native. This smartphone nativism may be because a vast majority of them do not know (or at least remember) any time in their history when social networks did not exist.

Gen Z makes up about a quarter (25%) of the population of the United States, and studies have shown that they will account for over 40% of all consumers by the year 2020 (which is next year).  They represent an estimated $200 billion in spending power today. So, it is safe to say Gen Z cannot be ignored in business marketing; they are no doubt a force not to be underestimated. For any company or business that looks to thrive, prosper and survive in the next couple of decades and beyond, it is essential to understand the needs and behavior of this new group of tech-savvy consumers.

Being the digital natives that they are, Gen Z has changed the way we communicate, the way we connect with others, and how we market our products and services. You may be asking, "Is it imperative to focus on this generation in our marketing strategy today?” Let me share a few reasons why Gen Z cannot and must not be ignored in your marketing strategy, and what are the best ways to go about reaching them.

Why Should I Include Gen Z  in My Marketing Strategy?

Not including Gen Z in your marketing strategy could significantly reduce your ability to grow sales. If your marketing strategy does not include ways to reach this generation, then you’re leaving a large portion of the population (25%) out of seeing your product or service, which is money left on the table.

How you market to them is vital: Traditional marketing does not work with them.

GenZ’ers, on average, spend around 10 hours every day online and find what influences them to buy through their online interactions. GenZ’ers do not know what living life is without smart devices, the internet, Snapchat, or Instagram. Life for them revolves around these tools. Consequently, how and where you market to them is crucial because they do not want to be “advertised” to in the traditional sense. GenZ’ers are “ad blind.” They prefer brands that feel authentic.

You have to devise a means of getting your message in front of them without seeming to be in their face.  Your message needs to ring true and solve a problem for them, without the overt selling. For instance, your message could be in the form of information or education. Since 70% of them watch videos on YouTube, they also respond well to video entertainment marketing.

Influencer Marketing

Gen’Zers prefer making purchases as a result of opinions made by influencers whom they respect. This is why you see celebrities and non-celebrities alike getting millions of dollars in endorsement deals to showcase or talk about products online. The opinions Gen Z’ers get from these social media personalities turn out to be very powerful, and they influence at least 8 of every 10 of them to shop at retail shops where they’ve never bought before.

Quick, Authentic Content

Since Gen Z’ers hate being advertised or being sold to –directly, to get your products in front of them your business or brand needs to communicate in a personal, relatable way. They do not forgive brands that use blatant tactics to manipulate customers. This doesn’t mean they don’t buy from brands or individuals, in fact, they do—a lot, and they prefer trends. So, brands need to become trendsetters. They need to build virtual communities around their brands. They need to nurture their message so that it captures and cultivates Gen Z’ers’ attention.

To market to them correctly, you must practice content marketing, but bear in mind that the brand needs to resonate with Gen Z’ers by providing content that includes advice, mastermind sessions, and even moral guidelines. Brands need to be the influencers and thus be participants in the ideologies of our time. Gen Z’ers want brands with integrity, and the content needs to reflect that, and they want it in 8 seconds or less.

Where you market to them is also vital.

Gen Z’ers are proud of their influence and spending power. However, there is only one way to market to them, and that is the Gen Z way. It’s simple – social media. Since they prefer consuming tech and practically live on social networks, the best way to get an appeal to them is through social media marketing.

Studies have shown that over 55% of people who are about 18 years (or a few years younger) favor buying clothes and accessories online. About 53% prefer buying their electronics or books online. In fact, Gen Z’ers prefer subscribing to Netflix to seeing a program on local TV.

So, what does that tell you? You need to get social to get the message in front of them — it’s that simple. About 85% of them prefer to learn about new products online (social media), more than 59% of other generations who prefer this method.

Optimize your mobile experience

98% of Gen Z’ers own a smartphone, and 80% feel distressed when kept away from personal electronic devices. They view themselves as mobile native. So, businesses and brands need to optimize their websites for mobile devices. This means using website themes that are responsive to the device displaying the content. It means simplifying your checkout process on e-commerce stores and using vertical videos when creating content.

Focus on Snapchat and Instagram

According to a Taking Stock with Teens survey, Snapchat is overwhelmingly U.S. teens’ favorite platform at 45 percent, with Instagram coming in second place. 71% of Gen Z’ers use Snapchat daily. Focus on Snapchat stories and use both stories and ads on Instagram.

Focus on Video

71% of Gen Z’ers watch 3 hours or more of online videos. However, the average attention span of a Gen Z’er is eight seconds. They also skip on skippable video ads after 9.5 seconds. There are ways to combat this behavior. By using YouTube bumper ads, which restrict the content to 6 seconds, you provide snackable content for Gen Z’ers and make the content easier to consume for them.

We discussed Snapchat and Instagram before, but remember that both platforms use video to communicate. Instagram Stories and Snapchat Stories, which provide native video “snacks” are very effective in reaching this video-loving generation.

Should you need assistance with marketing strategy focusing on GenZ, we at BuzzShark are always available to help.