Generation Z, A.K.A the first generation of digital natives, have influenced internet culture tremendously over the past few years alone. If you’ve found yourself on Instagram, TikTok and several other platforms searching for content ideas – odds are you’ve come across some creative genius from a bored teenager in their bedroom who just so happened to start a viral trend.
P.s. If you haven’t already downloaded TikTok, congratulations on your PhD in maturity but you’re really missing out.
Forget Public Enemy because you SHOULD believe the hype.
What’s the use?
Gen Z are the most clued up and internet-savvy demographic out there on the internet right now - so your marketing efforts could really transform or tank your business. If successful, Gen Z are guaranteed to be loyal consumers, advocates even.
Not too fast! Before you scroll on and think “I don’t need to tap into that market, whatever”…
What if I told you that Gen Z has racked up a whopping £125 BILLION of spending power?
Yup… thought you’d stick around.
Now that you know how cool my generation is, now would be a good time to get into the marketing stuff, right?
They want to be your bestie
Gen Z’ers tend to love brands they can engage with. A simple ‘thank you for your order’ comment won’t cut it these days unfortunately – as Gen Z like to know the personalities behind the brand.
Whether that’s hopping on TikTok to record an unboxing or to simply introduce yourself as the founder, we love knowing who’s creating what we’re buying.
Looking for inspiration? Check out Zaria Parvez, the mastermind behind the viral mascot causing mayhem over on DuoLingo’s Tiktok account!
Entertainment = Information
Over 2/3 of Gen Z gather their news from social media, be it YouTube or TikTok.
This is because we’re a chatty bunch really. Discourse and open discussion about current affairs, politics and pop culture has never been so prevalent throughout the youngsters. As a result, many of us learn about what’s what from other content creators
(we’re not quite there with reading the Sunday paper just yet)
So if you're wanting to share some info with them – showcase your USP’s while shaking what ya mamma gave ya to Megan Thee Stallion for maximum results.
Having grown up at the same time as social media platforms defined themselves, Gen Z know what's up. Many Gen Z'ers claim that they purposely engage, or DON'T engage with content to tailor their online experience, seeing as they are so familiar with the algorithms.
So basically, you don't want to shove them down the marketing funnel too obnoxiously.
The tricky part is that Gen Z, having grown up surrounded by media and marketing, won’t be fooled by your typical marketing buzzwords and tactics.
Sure, it still works on different demographics/ focus groups, but this generation KNOWS they’re being sold to. So, if you’re thinking about making any claims about your product/service – be 1000% sure you’ve got the proof to back it up!
All feedback is good… right?
They will NOT, I repeat NOT hesitate to tell you your ad is rubbish, or just straight up block ads that don't suit them.
Adversely, Gen Z appreciate honest, sometimes self-deprecating branding - Think of RyanAir proudly donning their 'cheap' reputation over on TikTok, whilst gaining traction and elaborating on their sometimes-confusing T&C’s.
It’s authenticity over perfectionism for us. Be honest and upfront about your weaknesses as a brand – by no means am I saying that you should lead with why your product may suck, but if asked – be open to answering! A brand that can run with the joke whilst actively working on the constructive criticism knows what the consumer truly wants.
Are we done yet?
Almost. Speaking of your attention span slowly escaping you, Gen Z is the exact same. Growing up in the digital age, we have shorter attention spans due to the saturation of short form content making overstimulation the norm in our daily lives. Through the power of science and all things Math (which I’ll be leaving to the pros) , we’ve discovered that the typical attention span for Gen Z is a VERY short 8 seconds - Millennials are victim of this phenomena too, but beat us with their longer 12 second attention span.
With this information (and before I lose you), it should be no surprise to keep your content short and snappy. This is where TikTok and Instagram Reels will become the best tool in your arsenal – make it short, make it sweet, and make it engaging!
That about wraps up my crash course on marketing towards Gen Z, although it’s barely the tip of the iceberg.
Generation Z and their online behaviour has transformed the future of marketing and advertising, the only question that’s left is…
Are you in?
Morgan Cain-Cairns, Cohort 32, Junior Social Media Executive at Lightbulb Media