generation z on phones
Marketers have been buzzing about reaching millennials for quite some time, but what about Generation Z?

While many people continue to consider anyone who falls between the ages of 18–34 as millennials, the demographic group’s actual age range is 25–39. Those adults younger than 25-years-old are actually part of Gen Z, and you may need to change your marketing strategy to reach consumers born after 1995.

If you’re trying to reach people in Gen Z, here are some ways to revamp messaging in your marketing strategy from someone who is part of Gen Z.

1. Authenticity

While some other age groups want everything they see to be “picture perfect” and polished, the opposite is true for adults in Gen Z. Perfectly staged snapshots, unrealistically Facetuned portraits, and overly Photoshopped bodies won’t resonate with Gen Z.

People in Gen Z also look for that same kind of authenticity from companies when shopping for services and products. In a research study of Gen Z, 67% answered that they prefer content that is realistic and features actual people (especially in marketing and advertising).

Take, for example, American Eagle’s incredibly successful #AerieREAL marketing campaign. Their strategy? Promote body positivity by using unretouched images of real women in their promotions. The relatability of their ads spoke to this demographic, and their marketing to Gen Z led to boosted sales of the Aerie clothing line.

“People in Gen Z are inclusive and accepting. This is a unique quality that separates them from prior generations, and it’s something other generations will learn from them.”—Nancy Breiling Nessel, market research consultant

2. Social media

Let’s be real. While millennials were introduced to social media, Gen Z was raised on it. They live our lives online, so make your company’s presence count. You have only a few seconds of their attention, so get it while you can.

As a marketer, on average, you only have about eight seconds to reach a GenZ (pdf) before they keep scrolling. That’s one less second than a goldfish. So make it count. Use your eight seconds to the fullest by:

  • Using Gen Z’s language (e.g., emojis, memes, and GIFs)
  • Producing interactive content (e.g., pictures and videos with polls, quizzes, reviews, and user-generated content, on top of being interactive with comments, and chats)
  • Personalizing messages

3. If it’s fast, they want it

If your website takes more than a few seconds to load, chances are that your Gen Z customers will move on to something else. With devices at their finger-tips and being used to getting what they want—fast—on the internet, Gen Z lives for speed.

To keep Gen Z on your website, find ways to optimize for speed whenever possible. If you run into trouble with slow webpages, try to use loading or “buffering” screens to keep users entertained while they wait for your content to load.

53% of mobile users abandon websites that take over three seconds to load.

4. Corporate responsibility

Gen Z is a generation full of activists and many are interested in finding ways to level the playing field for all. They stay up-to-date with social injustices and tend to support brands that share their values. They view companies differently than consumers in other demographic groups, and marketers must consider the Gen Z point-of-view when representing their brands.

To attract Gen Z customers, businesses should be genuine. As you refine your company’s brand story, it’s pivotal to incorporate how you talk about social responsibility. According to a survey by Cone Communications, 94% of adults in Gen Z believe companies should take a stand on social and environmental issues. The report’s conclusion says it all: “Companies must now share not only what they stand for, but what they stand up for.”

How to market to Gen Z is a subject that will only continue to grow in importance. After all, by 2020 Gen Z will lead 40% of the buying market.

As Gen Z makes a bigger impact on the world around us, marketers need to meet them where they are and find ways to build meaningful connections in their advertising and web communications to ensure continued success.
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