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Marketing effectively to Gen Z

May 2021

Reading time: 5 minute(s).

Lazy, entitled, whiny, opinionated, and social media obsessed. Generation Z, often referred to as zoomers, is the demographic name given to succeeding Millennials and those who precede Generation Alpha. 

Whatever the name, they have a bad reputation for being the spoilt generation.  

We’ve spoken to one of Strand PR’s resident Gen Z-ers and all-round superstar 22-year-old Megan Mower, who is one of the company’s brightest Account Executives, to get her take on these preconceptions.  

“I think there’s a huge emphasis on the cross-generational divide now, which makes it easy to make stereotypes,” Megan says as she sits at her tidy desk at Strand PR’s Hertfordshire headquarters.  

“Millennials and Gen Z-ers are wildly different to the older generations because of how they grew up.”  

Defining the generations

For anyone who is not in the know about the names given to all the different generations here is a quick breakdown: 

Baby Boomers born in 1946 – 1964 

Gen X born in 1965 – 1981  

Millennials born in 1981 – 1995 

Gen Z born in 1996 – 2012  

“Born in 1998, I grew up during a time of revolutionary social change. When I reached my teenage years, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube were practically commonplace by then,” Megan says.

“Growing up during this time meant that myself and my peers were able to immerse ourselves completely in the revolution that was technology.”

Welcome to Gen Z

For the older generations, technology completely changed their lives. But for the younger generation who had never experienced life pre-Google, being online was not deemed unique in any way. 

“Gen Z-ers are tech-savvy, strong-willed, influencer-led, and highly aware of what’s ‘in’ and what’s ‘out’,” Megan explains. 

“Not only that, but we’re passionate, assured, smart and we are the future of business. We’re a digital-native group and the market for engagement is highly competitive, but that is what makes my job so interesting.” 

Here are some tips from Megan about how to market to the younger generation: 

Let us decide

“Young people have a strong sense of purpose, which means we’re often misconstrued as arrogant and entitled because we like to question things; we want to know the rationale behind our daily tasks. While we’re aware that this is exceptionally annoying, we have established ourselves by formulating disparate opinions and perspectives, derived from a myriad of online resources.  

“Because of this, we like to draw our own conclusions. Tell us enough to be intrigued by your product or service but leave the rest up to us. Ultimately, we’ll be on TikTok, Instagram or Twitter before we’ve finished watching or reading your advert, so there’s no need to bombard us with information. 

“We like to decide where to put our custom and have a very quick way of finding out whether something is worth our attention, money, or trust. Older generations are right in saying we’re arrogant if that means we don’t like being told what to like, or what we need. We like being shown, and swiftly.” 

 

What will attract our attention?

“When it comes to cookies, we’re highly aware of the privacy-breach, but honestly we resent it because it’s so ingenious. Dangle something designed for us right in our faces repetitively, and we’re roped into buying. Influencers are highly effective, and have been a revolution in marketing strategies, but they need to be used authentically to effectively persuade younger people to buy. 

“Short, quick videos, GIFs and animations. Think about TikTok’s huge success; videos that get our attention, make us laugh and tell us all we need to know in a short space of time. Interact with us by using polls, Q&As, competitions. The Fear of Missing Out or FOMO is possibly one of the biggest weaknesses our generation has. Play on that weakness by utilising time-sensitive stories and posts.  

“If it’s big, bold, colourful and fun, it’ll catch our eye. Anything Insta-worthy, Gen Z will be all over it – third-party endorsement is gold.” 

Is there anything else to consider?

May 2021 | Laura Pearce