How Marketers Can Better Engage Gen Z

Gen Z Marketing

Generation Z, or Gen Z, now around college-leaving age, will over the next few years increase their spending power as they enter the job market. But their priorities, perspectives and interests aren’t the same as those of the Millennials that came before them, meaning brands need to be mindful of how they engage with this generation. NZ Marketing looks into strategies around how marketers can better engage Gen Z.


Gen Z, or the ‘smartphone generation’, are those who were born between 1995 to the mid 2000s. Digitally savvy, they are a group that don’t recall a time before the Internet and have grown up glued to their mobiles, iPads and laptops. Heavily consumed by technology and media, Generation Z are the most switched-on demographic when it comes to detecting obvious marketing campaigns, which can make them difficult to capture the attention of.

Research suggests that the attention span of a Gen Zer is in fact eight seconds, four less than their millennial counterparts, which is crucial for marketers to take into account. Gen Z consumers need to be wooed instantly, otherwise they tend to disregard a marketing message and never come back to it. On a positive note, as Gen Zer’s spend most of their time on the big wide web, buying behaviour is much less of a guessing game for marketers.

How Marketers Can Better Engage Gen Z

The following four strategies offers some insight into how marketers can better engage Gen Z, and convert switched on to sales.

Sell experience not product

Today, it is not about the product itself, it’s about the feeling that product gives you, or the ways in which that product will benefit your life. Gen Z are particularly drawn to this type of marketing and will not settle for marketing that simply explains how great the latest pair of Nike shoes are. The ratio marketers need to take into account is 25 percent of what they sell being the product and 75 percent the intangible feeling that comes with this product.

An example of this tactic can be seen in perfume campaigns. The Pure XS For Her campaign, featuring supermodel Emily Ratajkowski, has Ratajkowski strut through a stunning mansion, while multiple males chase after her and faint once she sprays her Pure XS perfume. Focusing on experience, rather than product, this marketing technique can convince multiple Gen Zers that if they wear this perfume they will feel as powerful and sexy as a supermodel.

Eye-catching visual content

Getting back to the eight second attention span of a Gen Zer (in case you have already forgotten), an incredibly effective way for marketers to engage this generation is to use bite size, eye catching visuals. YouTube is reported to be the first platform Gen Z turn to when they are in need of a pick-me-up, entertainment or a tutorial, so this platform should be utilised by marketers to its full extent.

Equally as effective is the use of Instagram Stories and Snapchat. These allow marketers to push bite-sized content that can resonate with the typical Gen Z consumer and leave them wanting to know more. TikTok is another platform marketers are beginning to invest in, as it offers 500 million users who are constantly jumping from one brand craze to another. Ultimately, in the wake of so many new apps and social features, marketing to Gen Z cannot be static or boring in order to succeed.

Micro influencers

Marketing doesn’t always need influencers, however to be as relatable as possible to the Gen Z audience, including micro-influencers can sometimes be very beneficial.

Those with a following of between 1,000 and 100,000 on social media can be considered micro-influencers. Micro influencers can actually drive more engagement towards a brand than a celebrity could, as Gen Z consumers believe this aspect of marketing to be more authentic.

The key to marketing to Gen Z is authenticity and overcoming a well-established aversion to ads. This demographic are much more likely to buy a product that a micro-influencer recommends, rather than a product that Kylie Jenner has been paid millions to say is great. Influencer campaigns seem to be most brands’ best bet for reaching a younger audience.

Reviews and response

Gen Z are needy and they want all the information they can get before falling for a marketing campaign. This is why responding to reviews in a timely manner is crucial for marketers. Giving Gen Z followers your undivided attention goes hand-in-hand with boosting brand loyalty.

Gen Z want brands to respond to their comments and feedback and will view this responsiveness as a metric of a brand’s authenticity. Marketers might want to consider investing in social listening tools that ensure they never miss brand or keyword mentions that could result in meaningful customer interactions.

According to 2019 UNiDAYS research, 76 percent of Gen Zers stated they want brands to respond to feedback and 41 percent stated they read at least five online reviews before making a purchase, sharing twice as much positive feedback than negative.

Marketers should respond to negative feedback as much as positive, to show readers they are acknowledging the issue and are doing what they can to resolve it.

At the same time, marketers need to be mindful about how they share the data of these Zers, as most are acuity aware of scamps, breaches in data and protecting their privacy.


Read more: Your Brand Purpose Might Be the Most Important Part of Your Business

About Mollie Edwards

Mollie Edwards writes across ICG business titles, NZ Marketing, StopPress and The Register.

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