5 proven ways to successfully market to Generation Z

- April 19, 2022 4 MIN READ

As the first generation to be born into an internet-ready world, Generation Z are one of the savviest consumer groups today. So if you want to attract Gen Z as customers for your business you need to think like them, writes Taryn Williams founder & CEO of, Wink Models and The Influencers Agency, and there are five proven ways to get it right.

If your brand talks to smart, tech-loving consumers, you’d have Gen Z in your sights already.

These guys may be impressionable, but Generation Z (those born between the mid ’90s and the early 2000s) is also an immensely savvy consumer group. They know what content they like and they’re experts at finding it.

Nobody wants to feel like they’re being sold to. Gen Z expects transparency and honesty from the brands they choose, and wants to build authentic relationships with brands that are not purely transactional.

5 smart ways to market to Generation Z

Documented to be worth up to $143 billion in global buying power (and that was before the pandemic), no generation is as synonymous with technology as Gen Z.

A deep, lifelong connection with social media and digital experiences frames all of this generation’s purchasing decisions. Gen Z sees the world through digital filters which quickly tell them whether a brand is worth engaging with or not.

To help, let’s look at five proven ways to successfully market to these big-spending consumers.

1. Know (and communicate) your values

You may be swayed by the best price, fastest delivery, or the most Google reviews. Not Gen Z.

In the US alone, Generation Z is the most racially and ethnically diverse age group. It’s also acutely aware of the environmental, socio-economic and political challenges facing the world. 55 per cent of Gen Z choose brands on the basis that they are socially responsible and environmentally-friendly.

So if, as a business, you fail to develop (and articulate) authentic corporate social and environmental (CSR) values and policies, Gen Z will see through you in a heartbeat.

millennials shopping

2. Use influencers

Paid advertising on Facebook and Google still has a place in an omnichannel marketing approach, but don’t underestimate the power of ‘real people’ when marketing to Gen Z.

56 per cent of this generation are more likely to try a product or experience if their favourite influencer endorses it, and the best influencer partnerships are those fostered with influencers who genuinely appreciate and love your brand. This will lead to content that’s real and genuine; what Gen Z craves.

You don’t need an A-list celebrity endorsing your brand, either. Micro-influencers (those with between 10,000 and 50,000 followers) have built loyal audiences of Gen Z followers looking for ideas, inspiration and recommendations, and are primed to lead consumers directly to your digital doorstep.

3. Get them involved

Gen Z isn’t as forgiving as previous generations when it comes to blatant ads and tired sales tactics, so you’ll need to create content that is authentic and engaging.

There are many cost-effective ways to get them involved; try a simple branded hashtag, a quirky competition, or a user-generated content (UGC) campaign.

Growing up alongside the internet and ‘fake news’ means you can’t speak at this demographic. Speak to them – encouraging input along the way – and look for ways to create interactive content that captures attention and encourages action.

4. Sell experiences, not products

Gen Z is entering adulthood on the back of a pandemic. With spending habits shaped by lockdowns and isolation, they may have money to burn, but tone-deaf, pushy, or one-size-fits all marketing simply won’t cut it.

According to Mention, just 25 per cent of what you sell is your product. The remaining 75 per cent is that intangible feeling that comes with it. The buzz, the high, the excitement of how a product makes you ‘feel’. That feeling needs to be at the heart of your marketing to Gen Z.

5. Create bite-sized content (especially video)

The average Gen Z internet user bounces between five screens at a time and uses multiple social media platforms. So while ‘snackable’ video content that matches their fleeting attention spans is ideal, you’re not limited to YouTube.

Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok all offer built-in video features for you to use. Canva also recently launched a free video editing suite to help make creating video easy and accessible for small businesses.

So get creative, and diversify your video marketing to see what works!

There’s no shortcut, secret, or silver bullet to help you market to Gen Z. This generation of future leaders may well conjure up images of TikTok-loving, smartphone-using, mobile shopping consumers. But they are real people, with real money to spend, looking for real brands to connect with.

You may need to play by their rules to win them over. But take the time to really watch, listen to, and understand what makes them tick, building genuine long-term relationships along the way, and you’ll be rewarded.

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Now read this:

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