Intro: In today's digital age, marketers are constantly adapting their strategies to cater to the ever-changing preferences of different generations. One such demographic that holds significant buying power and influence is Generation Z, also known as Gen Z.
Born between the mid-1990s and early 2010s, Gen Z consists of young, tech-savvy individuals who have grown up in a highly interconnected world. To successfully engage with this audience, businesses must develop innovative marketing strategies that resonate with Gen Z's unique characteristics and preferences.
Understanding the Gen Z Audience
Generation Z encompasses a group of teens and young adults who have grown up fully surrounded by technology. Most have never known a world without internet access, Google, social media, cell phones and tablets, and streaming media. They’ve come to expect most things to be available to them at the push of a button.
Gen Z-ers express a deeply humanist value system, emphasizing issues that include race and gender equality, social justice, sustainability, and self-care. They look for authenticity and transparency in all their interactions, whether with a friend, coworker, or brand.
One of the best ways of marketing to Gen Z is through social media. Most Gen Z-ers don’t watch cable television anymore, opting instead for commercial-free streaming services. And although many remain apprised of major news events, they often don’t get that information from major news outlets or magazines, choosing instead to gather first- and second-hand accounts from friends, family, and even social media influencers. This means Gen Z consumers won’t even see many of the advertising methods that worked for previous generations.
Crafting the Perfect Gen Z Marketing Campaign
So how does a business market to Generation Z? Taking advantage of new media and technologies, combined with a bit of collaboration, just might do the trick. Below, we explore how five Gen Z marketing trends can help businesses reach this burgeoning market.
1. User-Generated Content and Co-Creation
No one knows how to speak Gen Z’s language better than Gen Z-ers themselves. Unlike previous generations, many Gen Z consumers aren’t looking for polished, professional commercial advertisements. Their emphasis on authenticity means they don’t want to see a product on a pedestal; they want to see it on a real person.
Collaborating with actual Gen Z users can help them connect with products and give believability to a company’s claims. Businesses can take advantage of this by using user-generated content in their advertising and allowing Gen Z creators to provide input on their products, even going so far as to create new products in collaboration with customers.
2. Virtual Try-On Experiences
Gen Z-ers want to be able to use technology to get things done. This includes shifting away from shopping in brick-and-mortar stores and making more online purchases. But much is lost in this transition, including the ability to try on products like clothing, jewelry, or cosmetics.
This is where virtual try-on technology comes in. Where previous generations might have shied away from tech-driven marketing interfaces, Gen Z embraces them. They love the convenience of seeing how something will fit them and match their personal aesthetic. This also reduces instances of returned merchandise when something doesn’t look or fit like expected — a benefit both consumers and brands love.
PerfectCorp offers virtual try-on solutions for a variety of markets. This technology uses augmented reality (AR) and the user’s camera to demonstrate a product on a customer’s actual body, letting customers move around and see the product in action and even determine the correct size for their body.
3. Short-Form Video Marketing
Generation Z values knowledge and loves to learn. In an age where most information is available at the click of a button, this generation is used to knowing a little about a lot. One way they love to learn new things is through short-form videos. These bite-sized clips provide teens and young adults with just enough information to whet their appetite on a subject.
Short-form video posted to social media is one of the best ways for businesses to reach this audience. As nearly every social media platform adopts some version of short, scrollable video content — Facebook and Instagram Reels, YouTube Shorts, and TikTok videos, for example — this becomes an easy way for businesses to put their products in front of Gen Z consumers.
Businesses that choose this route should emphasize informative content rather than flashy glamour shots. If Gen Z can learn something new while watching, even if it’s obviously ad content, they’re much more likely to stick around for the whole video and even click through to make a purchase. (Bonus: Smaller businesses can use these platforms for free or choose to pay for sponsored ad slots, depending on their budgets.)
4. Memes and Humor
The language of the internet has a grammar all its own, and memes are a huge part of that. While today’s memes are less of the brightly-colored “ICan Haz Cheeseburger” variety and more along the lines of funny screenshots and modified dialogue from television and movies, they remain a source of humor and connection. Many teens and young adults share memes because they find them funny, relate to them somehow, or see them as speaking to or commenting on universal experiences.
Businesses that use memes effectively can reach Gen Z audiences in new ways, appealing to pathos and ethos in a way that traditional marketing may find more difficult these days. However, if a meme seems too contrived or inauthentic, it might have the opposite effect. But when correctly, memes have the power to go viral, boosting a brand’s profile.
5. Influencer Marketing
Social media influencers do just what the name suggests — they influence. Like celebrity spokespeople used in traditional marketing campaigns, influencers attach a name to a brand, endorsing a product as something they believe in. Unlike traditional spokespeople, however, influencers carry a perception of authenticity that a glossy celebrity in a studio may not.
Influencers have much more control over which brands they endorse, so if an influencer agrees to work with a brand, it’s often about a lot more than a paycheck. Young people know this and are more likely to trust a favorite influencer’s endorsement over traditional ads.
Reach New Audiences With Innovative Gen Z Marketing Strategies
Gen Z consumers are looking for a personal experience in their product choices. Including them in the process with user-generated content, real experiences from influencers, and modern tech solutions can help them to connect to a brand, improving sales. Perfect Corp.’s virtual try-on technology can bring a business one step closer to reaching this vital new audience.