What Gen Z Expect from Your Online Brand & How to Give it to Them


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Companies that focus on winning over the Generation Z cohort often come off as almost laughable in their attempts. While this demographic indeed expects an online presence, not just any presence will do. People need to focus their marketing efforts a certain way so they don’t come off as completely ridiculous. In some cases, eCommerce firms have done themselves a great disservice by trying too hard to attract a younger demographic.

Studies have shown on many occasions that members of Generation Z want to frequent services offered by companies that are socially and environmentally conscious. Perhaps the most telling of these was one conducted by Alphabet, which concluded that teenagers from Generation Z wanted to work with brands that reflect their values and their expectations of themselves.

If your company doesn’t quite match those lofty goals, then pretending that you’re something you’re not isn’t going to help the cause at all. Fortunately, the same marketing techniques that work for other demographics will work for Gen Zers if you know what they’re looking for.

Targeting Digital Natives with Your Campaign

Since this group has never known a time without Internet-connected devices, they’re generally immune to slick marketing campaigns. They tend to treat any claims with a healthy amount of skepticism. Most importantly, many people in their teens and even their 20s have developed a tendency to doubt pretty much anything they read online.

Considering how much material on social media is false, there’s a good reason for this. As a result, you don’t want to put anything out there that isn’t true. If your firm has been doing something good for the environment or society as a whole, make sure you provide a source.

Once you have this down, you’re free to market in the traditional ways that you always have. All you need to do is keep in mind that typical claims won’t work as well as genuine appeals. Rather than trying to focus your content marketing campaigns on providing actionable information or even posting things with the intent of going viral. Instead, you’ll want to focus on selling experience as opposed to a product.

Naturally, you’ll still need to focus on reaching an audience that accesses information primarily through search engines. Use the same WordPress blog SEO optimization techniques that you usually would, but try for a broader group of keywords. Depending on the type of audience you’re aiming for, you might want to plan on selling a different kind of experience. That being said, a traditional framework like WordPress will help you manage your content without sacrificing anything in the way of followers.

Once you have this part of your campaign settled, you’re going to want to refocus your efforts on social media channels that could potentially bring in several younger people who are interested in the kind of experience your brand provides.

Marketing a Lifestyle Instead of a Product

Since they’ve grown up with the World Wide Web at their fingertips, few Gen Z members are going to be interested in hard sells. They don’t care to hear about how amazing a product is. Instead, they want to know more about how they’re going to benefit from its use.

One study suggested that around 75 percent of what you’re selling is the intangible feeling that comes with a particular product. Only the remaining quarter is the product itself.

You may want to consider the example of Brandy Melville, which is an Italian organization in spite of the California-inspired image that they project. They’re focused on selling the experience of the clothes they offer more than the clothes themselves. The reason that so many people have bought into the brand has nothing to do with the intrinsic quality. Instead, Gen Zers buy the clothes because Brandy Melville’s marketing channels push images of Instagram models taking road trips across the Western USA. Those who purchase the clothes want the same sort of experiences that these individuals appear to be having.

Despite all this focus on content, you won’t want to forget about your eCommerce operations’ actual performance. Gen Zers have relatively high expectations of the sites they shop with, and they’re not above finding another retailer if your brand doesn’t work out for them.

Tailoring Your Customer UX to a Gen Z Audience

Many shoppers belonging to Gen Z have never known anything besides an efficient and fast customer experience. That means that they expect to engage with companies via an online chatbox or a quick SMS message. While they might not know what marketers mean when they say you need to provide a quick omnichannel sales experience, Gen Zers certainly expect one.

Quite a few younger people will also expect some degree of immediacy. They’re not necessarily used to waiting for something to be delivered. While it can be hard to redesign your existing business model to provide this kind of expediency, it might very well be worth it. Even though many Gen Zers are still in school, they already represent a market that controls over $140 billion in spending power.

Considering that those numbers should continue to grow exponentially over the next several years, you might want to take this opportunity to open up your purse strings and invest in the future.

Philip Piletic
I have several years of experience in marketing and startups, and regularly contribute to a number of online platforms related to technology, marketing and small business. I closely follow how Big Data, Internet of Things, Cloud and other rising technologies grew to shape our everyday lives. Currently working as managing editor for a UK tech site.


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