Gen Z refers to anyone born from about 1995-2010, though there are those who like to add or subtract a few years from that timeline.
The years in which this generation was born don’t matter as much as the type of world it was born into. People born in that time period primarily grew up with the Internet, smartphones, and technology at their fingertips. Even Millennials can’t say that, as most of them tended to start out without so much technology, only to grow into it as it began to quickly advance.
From a marketing standpoint, advertising to a generation that has been “connected” from the start comes with certain challenges, but it can also be fun to see how some things in the world of marketing change, and how others stay the same. So, how can you attract new generations of customers to your business for years to come?
Attracting a New Audience
In order to attract the Gen Z audience, your company has to think about instant gratification. Again, this group of individuals has had technology at their fingertips from a very young age. They’re used to high-speed Internet, captivating visuals, and interactive media platforms. Simply put, a billboard on the highway isn’t going to do much for them.
The good news for advertisers? Marketing has continued to expand over the last decade along with the growth of technology. It’s marketing heads that aren’t willing to adapt and expand with the trends that often find themselves struggling to attract new customers and clients.
To attract a new audience – especially one that’s used to getting information quickly, you’ll have to approach your market from several different angles including reviews, referrals and of course your website and social channels. Social media will be a huge platform for attracting new people. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok are all used by businesses to advertise their products or services. You can push out quick, creative, captivating content that makes people pay attention and doesn’t lose the attention of Gen Zers who may want to quickly move on to the next thing.
Word of mouth and referrals are also incredibly important to this generation. That ties into social media, because you’ll undoubtedly get reviews online, but the more people are actually talking about your business (in person or on a social network), the greater your chance of a new audience seeing what you have to offer. We’ll touch more on why word of mouth is so important in the next section.
The people in Gen Z are truth-seekers. Because they’re constantly inundated with information at lightning speed, they have to be on their toes to decide what they believe in at any given time. As a whole, it’s also a generation that values dialogue and wants to improve the world and solve problems.
So it’s not enough for your business to just advertise products or services. To this generation, that can come across as self-serving. Gen Z is more interested in businesses with some kind of mission or purpose. Does your company have core values? What are they? Now is the time to share them with the world and connect with those who might share those values.
Joining in on certain social and global movements will help you to stay relevant as a business. For example, investing in green energy and adopting a sustainable business model could be a great marketing technique that not only attracts this generation but can show the world that your company cares about the future of the planet and its people. Plus, sustainable practices can produce financial returns and attract more people to your business.
It’s also important to understand that this generation doesn’t want to be “talked to,” they want to have a conversation. Again, that’s where social media comes into play. Remember how we mentioned word of mouth in the previous section? You can make the most of that “free advertising” by showing your customers and followers online that your business has a personality. Reply to comments on social media. Answer questions. Respond to people who make a complaint. This generation thrives on relationships, and if your business can present itself more like a person and less like a marketing machine, Gen Zers are more likely to hop on board.
Don’t Throw Out Traditional Techniques
With all of this being said, you don’t necessarily have to throw out the traditional handbook when it comes to advertising techniques. Sometimes, going back to square one can force you to think of more innovative and creative ways to traditional techniques. The idea of promotion has remained the same for every generation. Your goal should be to inform your audience of your product or service, persuade them, and remind them.
The only difference is in the approach you take to reach that goal. If you’re not sure how, or you’ve been using the same advertising models for years, it can help to look at some of your competitors to see what they’re doing in terms of marketing.
You can even pool your budget together with other companies in your field and try group advertising. Yes, that means partnering up with your competition, but it also increases consumer awareness and creates additional lead generation.
Don’t be intimidated when it comes to marketing to this new, young generation. They may be used to instant gratification, but they’re a group that relies heavily on conversation and awareness on global issues. If your business can utilize those characteristics to create new advertising techniques and connections, you’ll be able to stay relevant and successful for years to come.