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How To Attract and Delight Gen-Z Customers in Today’s Growing Digital Economy From a Gen-Z Perspective

by Michael O'Mara, on Nov 8, 2021 9:30:56 AM

As a member of Generation Z, or Gen-Z, I understand what makes us tick. Maybe you’ve tried to figure us out and just sort of keep doing what you’re doing and hoping it works. Or, you’ve completely revamped your strategy and approach to market to a similar, yet a completely different set of values and perspectives. 

Marketing to a Gen-Z audience can be tough. That’s why I decided to write this blog. I want to help you understand where Gen-Z is coming from so you can not only continue to earn revenue but speak to their problems or concerns and then address them.

Understand your purpose and communicate it through your content and products

People choose brands and products as a representation of themselves. There’s more choice than ever before! Companies and corporations’ actions are front and center, and those actions have consequences, whether positive or negative. If businesses want Gen-Z business they need to develop, implement, and curate a responsible brand, and perspective behind the product. And I do not mean simply co-opting a cause or change for temporary social equity. Gen-Z demands authenticity. You must show customers your business cares about its employees and community at least as much as it cares about revenue. 

What does that have to do with purpose? Simple. A defined purpose upfront and center results in sales. 

Gen-Z does not buy products. We buy purpose. We buy the expectation that a product will solve a problem responsibly. And sure, that boils down to whether something is cool or not. But no matter what, the key is this: we’re hyper-aware of our social and cultural environment. We’re finely attuned to what the people around us expect! And more importantly, considering others is a primary step in our buying journeys. 

So how do you incorporate this into your marketing? 

Here’s one way: show how the sausage is made. Traditional businesses guard systems and processes under lock and key. Maybe that’s how it used to be done. But not anymore. We love the behind-the-scenes production, creation, and design process. Can’t get enough of it! We want to know what makes your business tick. A fast, dirty tool to get this done is social media. Twitch, Youtube, TikTok, and Instagram offer free tools and broadcasting options for any business. If you use these platforms to communicate your purpose (and I’m not talking about earning money), you’ll generate interest and devoted fans. Interest leads to devoted fans. Fans lead to sales, again and again. 

There’s plenty of interesting ways you can capture and communicate your purpose to an audience. Social is just the most popular, yet volatile, tool to get that job done. To learn how to leverage newer social platforms for your business, read our blog on how to use TikTok for your business. You’ll find some similarities between that blog and this one. And plus, the tips in that blog can be applied to most social platforms.

Use storytelling to communicate with your audience

Storytelling is a tried-and-true mechanism to illustrate reason, purpose, and meaning. It can do the same for your business. 

Stop me if this sounds familiar. Clear, simple language is the most effective way to communicate. Actions speak louder than words. Audience nurturing leads to more business. 

While the words are a bit different, these are the guiding principles of marketing to Gen-Z. No nonsense, back up your brand with purpose and consider others.

Position yourself a guide in Gen-Z’s story

If you clarify your message, customers listen. Most companies waste time on empty marketing collateral that distracts customers from buying or following a story. Marketing that speaks directly to customers and positions your business as their guide invites and delights.

Don’t get caught in the weeds. Bring your language and product marketing down to the level of your audience. Don’t scare customers at the door: invite them into a story, present a solution to the problem, and guide them to success.

This process is known as the StoryBrand messaging framework. I’m happy to say that Sauce Marketing is a StoryBrand Certified Agency with a Growth Guide leading the way! It’s clear storytelling is a powerful tool, and it’s why we leverage it for our clients to speak directly to their best audiences, including Gen-Z.

For more information on StoryBrand, read our blog illustrating the strengths and similarities of using StoryBrand with HubSpot. Did we mention we’re also certified HubSpot experts?

Create with your audience’s device, not for it

I count six devices with screens within ten feet of where I’m sitting. Tech isn’t an option anymore in today’s social economy—it’s a requirement. If you’re stuck in the past building content plans for one device, you’ll have quite a bit of trouble speaking to the Gen-Z crowd. You need to get multimodal. 

You need to consider the platform that your audience uses. But it’s a bit more than just using a device. A cellphone in today’s Western culture is integral. You have to go out of your way to avoid using it. In a world dominated by always-online services and solutions, it’s no surprise Gen-Z is as well. It’s not just a device. It’s a lifeline. Sure, you can leverage that information to market to Gen-Z. But market responsibly! These are kind, considerate people with advanced tech skills and highly-tuned nonsense detectors. The second something smells off, they’re gone and you’ve lost them forever. 

That’s why you need to create with your audience’s device. The now-defunct mobile streaming service, Quibbi, had this idea, but the service itself just sucked. Turns out, nobody wants to be forced to watch landscape content for a paid subscription when everything else exists. Probably should’ve market tested that one a bit better. 

Marketing on mobile is more than pixel sizes and accessibility. This is Gen-Z’s family room in the palm of their hand. When you’re advertising and creating irresponsibly, it feels invasive. So, advertise responsibility. Create meaningful content. And, most importantly, think how what you’re doing may feel to a younger audience after a long, hard workday.

Inclusivity is not a buzzword. It’s the rule 

Think of a product that you enjoy. Do you have any issues using that product as intended? Was the marketing for that product considerate of all potential customers, regardless of disability, race, or social standing? 

Now apply that train of thought to your business. Think about how it feels for someone who isn’t in your shoes to interact with your product and services. Empathy is just as important as being inclusive online. That same expectation translates to offline engagements as well. 

One final thought on inclusivity as a rule: Gen-Z loves it when a product brings people together. And I don’t mean everyone throws a big party or something. I mean it’s a message, story, or guiding principle that they can identify with, and more importantly, communicate clearly to their social circles. When you offer a product or service, or craft marketing around separating people, you lose Gen-Z instantly. They’re gone and they’re not coming back.

Four final thoughts

To wrap this blog up, here are four simple principles around Gen-Z:

  1. Be expressive behind the scenes and in the spotlight
  2. Offer access to necessary information that educates and guides 
  3. Everyone deserves a chance: walk in your customers’ shoes and think of their pain points every time you’re engaging with them
  4. A business can be more than just spreadsheets; it can be a community. Yes, it’s a community that’s transactional by nature, but when you cultivate an identity around your business that’s expressive, considerate, and united, you capture the Gen-Z audience you’ve been searching for. 

I hope you had a wonderful time reading and learning about Gen-Z’s habits, point of view, and ideals. Now you’re better equipped to market and sell to the younger generation that’s far ahead of the curve. 

Interested in learning more about messaging toward Gen-Z? Schedule a call with one of our Growth Guides!

Topics:StrategyInbound MarketingCultureCustomer Experience