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Marketing to Gen Z: How to Reach Younger Consumers

When was the last time you analyzed your customer age demographics? Many companies find that while they resonate with older generations just fine, at a certain age product engagement starts dropping off the map.   

Picture a typical Gen Z-er. When I do, I see teenagers doing TikTok dances and living with their parents. It takes a second to remember that I was just a few months shy of being a Zoomer myself. We may think that we have time before needing to focus on Gen Z, and they are too young to base your marketing strategy around. But Gen Z is graduating from college, entering the workforce, and well into becoming independent consumers.   

Getting in front of this demographic is different than getting in front of older generations. Historically, you could count on children buying the same brands as their parents and hold on to that brand loyalty. To gain the attention, respect, and support of Gen Z, you will need to adapt some new updates in your marketing strategy.   

How Younger Consumers Choose Brands To Support  

Generation Z prioritizes brands that give back  

Generally,  86 percent of consumers believe that companies should take a stand on social issues. This ideology is even more prevalent in younger consumers who consider the sustainability and ethicality of a brand almost as much as the convenience or price of the product. Nearly two-thirds of Gen Z express a preference for brands that have social and/or environmental values.   

To look at it from another angle, 64 percent of consumers will stop using brands based on their societal action and/or political stances. This can be connected to how willing Gen Z customers are to offering contact information, buying products, and their comfort level recommending products or services to a peer. Word-of-Mouth marketing is powerful – and you won’t get it from Gen Z unless your actions and values align with theirs.   

You can boost Gen Z Support by talking the talk of Corporate Social Responsibility, but much more importantly, walking the walk. Regardless of company size, locality, or industry, you have the opportunity to give back to communities and causes in need of support.   

There are many ways to promote CSR without resorting to empty campaigns or greenwashing – and it all surrounds transparent and honest communication. If you can’t clearly state how a purchase translates to nonprofit, environmental, or community support, you are not ready to promote.   

If you can do this, you can promote giving back on product pages, in email communication, and especially on an “our impact” page on your website, which should contain context, data, and stats around your efforts.   

Gen Z will choose the online resources with excellent UX  

Gen Z is the first generation where the whole of the demographic doesn’t remember what it’s like to not have the internet. Because the internet has been an integral part of their childhood, teenage years, and now adulthood, Gen Z has high expectations for websites of any industry. Where older generations expect streamlined sites for large corporations, they have leniencies for smaller companies. That leniency isn’t present with the generation that understands website creation isn’t rocket science. Gen Z isn’t likely to put up with slow, confusing, or out-of-date apps and sites, and will quickly choose an alternative easier to navigate.   

Gen Z expects quicker customer service  

While Generation Z isn’t afraid of Artificial Intelligence or automation, they expect to reach a human faster than older generations. Growing up during the birth of social media and the entrance of two-way B2C communication means that Gen Z-ers know the caliber of communication that is possible.  

 Generation Z looks for an instant chat on websites. They look for companies that quickly respond to DMs. If they send you a message on any platform, they expect a quick response. If you don’t respond but your competitor does, you could lose some of that business.  

Gen Z Wants to purchase a great product and a great experience  

For physical and digital products alike, younger generations appreciate an experience. Generation Z is looking for more than a product – they are looking for a talking point in the next group chat.   

Do you think being able to create an experience is only possible for trendy bikini lines or luxury brands? Think again.   

Lemonade is a rental insurance company – at the baseline, not something considered trendy or cool. Lemonade understands that a large portion of renters are younger, so they picked up early how to cater an “uncool” product to Generation Z through great UX, CSR, quality communication, and creating an experience.  

Lemonade’s digital platform is easy to use and has an incredibly creative design. The signup process is framed as an engaging quiz with cute visual rewards at every step. They offer the opportunity to choose a charity to donate overflow money, which solidifies brand values. And last but not least, the customer outreach in emails and chats have a face and a name to refer back to, which is a fantastic way to humanize the communication process.   

These were the reasons I became a customer, and why I have referred it to all of my peers that rent an apartment. All this to say that if you prioritize Gen Z’s priorities, you may gain some enthusiastic brand ambassadors along the way.   

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How Younger Consumers Find Content on Search Engines  

Generation Z is known for their research skills. Growing up with the internet, Gen Z has a digital fluency they’ve been cultivating since childhood, and it has manifested in streamlined, efficient search engine usage.   

Gen Z uses longtail keywords  

Zoomers have a good idea of just how much information is on the internet and what it takes to find the specific information they need. Gen Z tends to search using longtail keywords in their Google queries more than older generations. Instead of typing in “tours in Las Vegas,” a younger searcher might use “Adventurous daytime bachelorette party ideas in Las Vegas”.   

That means it’s a great idea to optimize your site for relevant longtail keywords and specific queries. While they have less search traffic than general search terms, they can be connected to stronger intent to purchase.   

Younger consumers use terms like ‘best’ and ‘cheapest’ in their high-intent searches  

This practice is beneficial for all ages of demographics, but because Generation Z is avid product researchers, it’s a relevant part of targeting younger consumers. These terms are important to optimize for because these are high-intent search terms. When people include “Best” or “Cheap”, in their searches, they show intent to purchase a product or service.  

Generation Z expects excellent mobile search experiences  

This shouldn’t be a surprise – Generation Z is searching on mobile more than any other generation. We all know that mobile website health is one of the most important things to do for good user experience. But, your presence on search engines is also crucial for offering quick and convenient information about your product. This means creating and consistently optimizing a robust Google My Business profile. So, if you were waiting for a sign to work on your mobile experience, this is it!  

Gen Z will engage with featured snippet info  

Younger generations rely on Google featured snippets to get quick answers and Google micro-moments. Featured snippets are created by Google from your website information that can greatly boost your Google presence and domain authority. There is no end-all way to earn featured snippets, but you can maximize your chances through leveraging structured data to maximize your chances of having featured snippets visible on Google.  

How to Target Gen Z on Social  

Gen Z Engages with Video More Than Other Content  

Of all the types of content out there, Generation Z tends to engage and appreciate video the most.   

Video is an incredibly versatile asset to have for your marketing strategy in general. One good product video can be used on the website, all social platforms, in email, and more with just a couple edits to sizing and length.   

Engaging video doesn’t even need to be a huge production – you can create great video content with good lighting, a smartphone, and an idea. Having an active IGTV, Instagram Live, and (if you’re feeling extra) TikTok will set you apart from your competitors and increase brand trust with your viewers.  

Go Micro-Influencers Over Macro  

While Macro-influencers have their place, they don’t tend to resonate with Generation Z productively. Micro-influencers are popular among Generation Z because they have the bandwidth to create a 2-way conversation.   

Generation Z is all about sincerity, so they turn to their micro-influencers as a trusted source of product reviews advice. Micro-influencers may respond to comments and DMs, blurring the line between business and friendships for their followers. This kind of relationship is valuable to Gen Z, so finding micro-influencers in your industry can be crucial to growing your brand’s social following with younger demographics.  

Have a Presence Across Popular Platforms  

Generation Z, because of their digital fluency and financial pragmatism, tends to do more cross-platform product research than other generations before purchasing. Studies show that 85% of Generation Z learns about new products on social media, and 59% more likely than older demographics to communicate with brands through social media.   

Generation Z is looking at YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook for product research. By posting consistent product updates, reviews, and demos, you can shorten and streamline product research for your Gen Z customers.   

Each platform has a type of content that performs best, so consolidate your content based on these trends. YouTube is a great platform for long-form video demos, tutorials, and longer customer reviews. Instagram is great for showing your product out in the wild, shorter videos, and live communication. Pinterest is a great platform for sharing blogs and photo diaries. Twitter is great for quick messages and engaging your audience in a conversation.   

Gen Z will use social media eCommerce   

Last but not least, Generation Z is not afraid to use digital buying experiences. Some older demographics will only purchase products from websites and are suspicious of other purchasing platforms. Because Generation Z grew up with social media, they are more comfortable using it for more than just browsing and product research.   

With the new Facebook Shops and Instagram Shops update rolling out for businesses across the world, you now have the opportunity to simplify your social media eCommerce strategy even more. This new update means that your social media followers can discover, research, and purchase your products all on the same platforms.   

But, you only realize this benefit when you take the steps to offer great, consistent social content and set up Facebook and Instagram shops! Some work goes into creating a great social eCommerce experience, but when you do it can be a game-changer for your company.   

  

Companies that stand the test of time are the ones who grow and shift with their customers. By offering information and strategies that cater to every age demographic, you will delight your customers, young and old. To freshen up your company’s marketing strategy, reach out to our team!

 

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