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Gen Z Marketing Strategies: 3 That Shine; 3 That Fizzle

How do you market to Gen Z? We'll get into three digital marketing strategies that work—and three to stay away from.
people sitting down near table with assorted laptop computers, highlighting Gen Z marketing.

In the realm of digital marketing, staying agile and innovative is critical. No demographic presents as significant a challenge—or opportunity—as Generation Z (those born between 1997 and 2012) or, simply, Gen-Z. 

People aged 11 to 25 make up this generation and their market is critical. In 2022, Gen Z made up 40 percent of global consumers and had roughly $600 billion in spending power. Gen Z has come of age in the era of smartphones and social media, shaping a generation that’s digitally savvy, socially conscious, and appreciative of authenticity.

Today, we’ll explore three marketing strategies that have proven to be effective with Gen Z, and three that haven’t resonated.

Strategies that Resonate

1. Authentic Storytelling

Gen Z values authenticity and honesty. This generation tends to gravitate towards brands that are genuine, transparent, and unafraid to show their human side. They appreciate an authentic story that communicates a brand’s core values and mission. This audience is less interested in polished corporate lingo and more engaged in honest communication. A brand that speaks its truth tends to win the loyalty of this truth-seeking demographic.

2. Influencer Collaborations

In the landscape of Gen Z marketing, collaboration—particularly with influencers—plays a critical role. This demographic is known for its trust in peers and influencers. Traditional, faceless corporate advertising often falls flat with this generation. Instead, they value recommendations from people they look up to and admire. Building partnerships with influencers who align with your brand’s values can help foster trust and strengthen your relationship with this discerning audience.

3. Socially Conscious Marketing

Gen Z is a generation deeply invested in social issues and environmental consciousness. They tend to support brands that recognize these issues and actively contribute to causes that align with their values. Marketers need to ensure their Gen-Z targeting strategies are not only strategic and measured but also socially aware and responsible.

Strategies to Avoid With Gen Z

1. Over-the-top Sales Pitches

A thoughtful, strategic approach understands that Gen Z is savvy and resistant to pushy sales tactics. This generation values authenticity and transparency over hyped-up marketing promises. They are more likely to engage with brands that openly discuss their products or services’ strengths and weaknesses and are clear about what they offer.

2. Ignoring Online Engagement

Gen Z has grown up in a digitally interconnected world. Ignoring or undervaluing their online interactions is a surefire way to lose their engagement. They expect meaningful and prompt responses to their online interactions. As a brand, fostering an ongoing, genuine dialogue with them is crucial for maintaining their interest and loyalty. A big part of your social media strategy with Gen Z should involve platform moderation and include comment and message response—treat it like an extension of customer service

3. Lack of Innovation

Gen Z is characterized by its high digital fluency and comfort with technology. They expect brands to keep pace with the fast-evolving digital landscape. A lack of innovation and creativity in your marketing strategy could leave this demographic unimpressed. As marketers, it’s essential to ensure that our approach is not just innovative for the sake of it, but purposefully and thoughtfully so.

Navigating the world of Gen Z marketing is a learning journey. Embracing authenticity, collaboration, and continuous learning and improvement are essential to effectively engaging with this dynamic demographic. It’s not just about marketing to Gen Z, but about building meaningful and long-lasting relationships with them.

Travis Souders

Travis Souders

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