The marketing landscape is changing, and businesses need to be aware of how to navigate it. Here’s how to ensure your strategy is gen-z proof, according to the experts.
Those in the industry will likely tell you how drastically the marketing landscape has changed in recent years, largely due to the influence of generation-z – the post millennial generation spanning ages 8 to 23.
Buy now, pay later shopping provider Clearpay reported that millennials and gen-z account for 25% of the UK’s total retail spend – a figure that is predicted to grow in coming years. With gen-z being the first generation of true digital natives, it’s no surprise that they are spearheading a change within the marketing sector. With this in mind, how can companies ensure that their marketing strategies appeal to the younger demographic?
The brands paving the way
A 2021 study by Statista found that gen-z are spending more time on social media than any other generation, with an average screen time of three hours per day. This alone should demonstrate the importance of establishing a solid online presence for brands looking to market to gen-z successfully. If you ask gen z what their favourite TikTok account is, it’s likely they will say Duolingo or Ryanair – boasting 5.5 million and 1.9 million followers on the app respectively. Both brands have successfully catered their tone of voice to fit in with gen z’s lingo, and consistently react to trending topics in new and creative ways.
Another gen-z favourite is Spotify – who, despite the vast array of streaming platforms available, have managed to set themselves apart from competitors. The brand has successfully created a sense of community amongst listeners, with campaigns such as the infamous Spotify Wrapped – which gives users unique statistics on their listening habits as well as personalised recommendations, and was made shareable to user phone contacts and across social media.
How to adopt a successful marketing strategy
Millie Henderson, a marketing professional and TikTok executive, says her number one piece of advice for those looking to successfully market to gen-z is to rip up the corporate rule book. “I always say, if it’s a HR nightmare – it’s going to go viral. You’re speaking to a generation that grew up on social media, and who essentially have their own language. Having a gen-z member of staff in your marketing team who can communicate with the generation in an authentic way is invaluable for building a successful strategy.”
Another driving factor in building a successful strategy, says Millie, is diversity. According to a 2020 study by Pew Research Centre, gen-z is the most ethnically and racially diverse generation in history. “To put it simply, if a brand isn’t diverse – it will get cancelled. We’ve seen it with makeup brands who release limited foundation shades, and with fashion brands who never feature plus size models – in short, if a product isn’t made available to everyone, gen-z don’t want to know.”
Sophie Miller, founder of Pretty Little Marketer, has one key piece of advice for a successful strategy. “Always go back to the audience . Ask yourself – does this align with my target demographic? Is this something my audience will want to see? If you’re posting on Facebook, for example, this content will obviously look very different to something you’d post on TikTok.”
For those battling with the decision to download a business TikTok, or social media coordinators desperately pleading with their managers, Sophie says she’s yet to see a company that won’t work on the app. “What’s unique about TikTok is that there really is a niche for everyone. People who are still of the mindset that the app is for silly dances are seriously missing out. You’re presented with a whole new world of themes, and a whole new audience. My only advice would be for those who are debating it, is to go for it. TikTok is the number one leading path to consumer purchase, and the results will speak for themselves.”