Why Marketing to Generation Z Means Moving Beyond Tradition

As millennials enter a new life stage, Generation Z (aged 16-21) should be at the forefront of marketers’ minds. This generation come with their own set of attitudes and behavioral patterns, independent from their popular predecessors.

Their rising spending power is bringing about new challenges for brands, but also unveiling new opportunities; in particular, the opportunity to move beyond traditional advertising forms with more intelligent and varied marketing. Here’s why.

1. They’re more resistant to irrelevant advertising.

Gen Zers may be the least concerned of all generations when it comes to how third parties are using their personal data, but they’re well ahead of their elders for the uptake of online privacy tools.

Just under half actively deleted cookies from their internet browser last month, while a similar figure used an ad-blocker.

The top motivation across the board for obstructing marketing efforts in this way is frustration, with many believing that ads are annoying, irrelevant or simply too intrusive.

But while millennials are more likely to be blocking ads due to genuine privacy concerns, Gen Zers display a more pronounced distaste for ads that compromise their experience: they’re almost 25% more likely than the average internet user to be using ad-blockers to avoid having to see ads before watching video content.

2. They value authentic experiential marketing.

So in the age of ad-free streaming where branded interruptions are less tolerated and easily avoided, marketers need to rethink their approaches to create a lasting connection with these consumers.

Experiential marketing and authentic, digitally-engaging experiences are great ways to reach this generation – whether that’s through longer form videos, powerful storytelling ad campaigns, or tech-driven experiences, like those that utilize augmented or virtual reality tools.

This type of marketing offers entertainment value, which is absolutely key for Gen Zers.

They’re ahead of all other generations for saying entertainment is a very important reason for getting online, while around 60% fall into our ‘Content Networkers’ social segment – including those heading to social media for entertaining content, to consume sports content, or following vloggers.

This want for entertainment is evident in how they they’re interacting with brands too. A quarter of Gen Zers watched a branded video last month, and they’re more likely to be playing branded games than reading branded blogs or clicking on social ads.

Content is also a key driver for Gen Zer brand advocacy, with a fifth saying they would promote a brand in exchange for access to exclusive content.

3. They crave a community connection.

The use of influencer and celebrity endorsements is a maturing form of advertising, although some brands like Adidas have been working with online personalities for quite a while.

This type of marketing not only provides the entertaining, easily consumed, unobtrusive content that’s key for engaging Gen Zers, it also taps into the community connection they crave.

One third say they would buy a product/service simply for the community built around it.

They’re also 20% more likely than the average consumer to want brands to connect them with other fans.

Already, a fifth say they find new products from celebrity endorsements, and Gen Zers are significantly more likely than the average internet user to be following vloggers, bloggers and celebrities on social.

All this suggests that type of marketing will only become more prominent and important when engaging Gen Z.

So when targeting this generation, it’s clearly not enough to rely purely on brand loyalty and direct-to-consumer campaigns that have dominated strategies for so long.

As the consumers of the future, there’s great success to be had for brands that can align their values and approaches to appeal to this upcoming generation.