4 Fail-Proof Ways to Market to Gen Z

  • 3 years ago
  • 6 Minutes to Read
  • 2 Videos

While over the years there has been much hype and panic over how to market to millennials, perhaps it’s time to start thinking ahead at the generation coming at speed behind them: Gen Z.


Gen Z (those born after 1998) will be the next generation of consumers and as much as we’d love to tell you they are identical to those just before them, alas they are not. Wax Marketing can report by 2220 these tech savvy, video loving individuals will constitute of 40% of all consumers, so understanding how to market to them before they enter adulthood officially, would be wise.


Here are Enviral’s 4 Fail-Proof Ways to Market to Gen Z


  1. Look at different social media channels and hangouts


Whilst the millennial market is more focused on social media networks such as Facebook, marketers have been finding that in contrast, Facebook has rapidly declined with Gen Z’s.

Gen Z’ s don’t log in as frequently and there are some who are skipping making a Facebook account altogether. Instead, you will find these individuals logging into Snapchat, with 88% of students saying they use it daily- (66% log into Facebook comparatively). Snapchat and Instagram are now officially the top 2 ‘go-to’ networks for Gen Z and Snapchat is leading the way as the channel that they feel most connected to amongst their friends. Brands that are excelling at using this channel to market to this audience are VICE, National Geographic and BuzzFeed, by using Snapchat’s Discover platform to deliver content.





2. Use transparency


Neil Patel said in his talk about Transparency Marketing, that Gen Z’s ‘value transparency and honesty and they want brands to be real’. Similar in this sense to Gen Y’s, having grown up consuming all things digital, they are clued up on concepts such as fake news and they will drop your brand almost immediately if they believe they have been lied to or they don’t believe you practise the messages that you preach- opting for more authentic brands. Unilever embodied this perfectly in their Unilever campaign for Axe- a brand that had previously used picture-perfect models that created the ‘Axe effect’ tagline. However, in 2016 they ditched the stereotypical ads and models and instead adopted a campaign more reflective of today’s youth called ‘Find your Magic’ that featured individuals who weren’t considered ‘picture perfect’ models encouraging young men to find their own magic. Rob Candelino, VP and general manager of Unilever Hair Care, U.S. told Forbes that this campaign worked because ‘Young consumers prefer a far more intimate and personal relationship with brands’.



3. Prove Impact and Purpose


Gen Z have grown up bombarded by 24-hour news depicting bad stories. From terrorist attacks, wars and a recession this is a generation that fears for the future and the world in which they live. Therefore, it may come as no surprise that 80% of them would like their jobs to have a positive impact on the world and want to support social and environmental causes. If your brand uses marketing strategies that are aligned with worldly causes, then there will be a higher chance that you will encapsulate this particular generation to support you. Boxed Water does an excellent job through their marketing, using the tagline ‘Boxed Water is Better’ across all their products. They’re informing young consumers that through buying their products they are contributing to a better world; Boxed Water is dedicated to planting one million trees by 2020 and indirectly changing the way we think about buying water.



4. Invest in video and YouTube Stars


The average Gen Z spends an hour every day on YouTube and are more trusting of YouTube vloggers than they are of famous celebrities. Once again, it’s the idea that they believe they are more connected to these individuals online, finding them more relatable, compared to someone they might see on the big screen. In terms of product placement, Gen Z will absently ignore an ad on the TV with a Hollywood starlet, but will actually investigate and even buy a product that a YouTuber talks about in their videos. Once again, Unilever jumped on this marketing opportunity and teamed up with popular YouTube star Zoella (who has a whopping 12 million subscribers) to sell their hair products.

Check out Gary V’s tips on how to contact influencers here:



Ultimately the key to marketing to a Gen Z, is to remain both sincere and authentic and to avoid putting your brand jargon in the mouth of whichever micro- influencer you choose to promote your product. If a Gen Z smells a rat and no longer believes the vlogger is being transparent, then they will have no qualms airing their disapproval online and dropping your brand completely, which might mean your campaign dies before it’s really begun.



Hero image: Tom Holmes


Written by
Joss Ford