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Lifting the lid on marketing to generation z

By Ben Walker on 04 May 2020

Just when you thought you had marketing to Millennials sussed out, you now have Generation Z to contend with.

You may have heard the term ‘Gen Z’, but what does it actually mean? In technical terms, Generation Z relates to the generation born between 1996 and 2010. Having grown up with the internet and social media, they know how to navigate the digital landscape better than anyone and have been described as the most financially savvy generation to date.

In this journal article, we delve into some of the key factors to consider when it comes to reaching this audience effectively.

Social media

With 4 in 10 Gen Zers following the brands they aspire to on social media, it’s no surprise that many businesses are basing their marketing strategies around this platform. With new social media channels emerging rapidly, it’s essential to keep on top of those that are increasing in popularity with your target audience in order to remain relevant.

Let’s take TikTok as an example. If you haven’t been acquainted yet, this entertaining and addictive app allows users to edit and share videos of up to 60 seconds, adding features such as music and filters. TikTok has an impressive 800 million global users41% of which are aged between 16 and 26. Many brands are assessing how they can use this platform to promote their content, as it looks like this one is here to stay.

A close-up of a mobile. phone, showing the TikTok app.


When considering a new purchase, Generation Z is likely to engage in independent research, with 82% trusting their peers for advice above all else.

It is therefore important for your brand to be transparent. This could be  stating where a product has been made, who made it, or what social or environmental impact your brand has and what you are doing to combat this. This is all information that your audience may search for before buying into your brand, so it is imperative to be upfront to develop trust.


With a wealth of information and imagery at their fingertips, it is inevitable that Gen Z respond differently to marketing messages to prior generations. Let’s take the beauty and fashion industries as an example. Gen Z is the first to enter their teens with Instagram, where body positivity, diversity and gender fluidity are championed. In contrast to the beauty stereotypes that were placed on a pedestal previously, this platform gives way to a range of perceptions of beauty.

Although a problematic lack of diversity and airbrushing are still prevalent, brands are frequently being confronted over this. It is therefore essential for brands to carefully consider their current marketing strategies and adapt in order to engage with this audience.

Social and environmental change

We have all seen activists like Greta Thunberg campaigning for environmental change, and the powerful impact this has had on the younger generation in particular. Gen Z are not only getting involved but are paving the way for everyone else. With 68% of people expecting brands to contribute to society in some way, it is no longer enough to provide your products or services without some form of social enterprise initiative. From climate change to body positivity, this generation care and want to associate with brands that reflect their values.

With that said, it is important that the information you are projecting is not simply glossing over an issue. High street retailers are being called out left, right, and centre for ‘Greenwashing’; misleading consumers into believing that their products are much more environmentally friendly than they actually are. This not only deflects from anything positive they are trying to do, but it gives them a reputation for dishonesty.

A person holding an environmental poster.

In conclusion, when it comes to connecting with Generation Z, it is clear that brands need to embrace change and evolve in order to build trust and loyalty among their consumers and stand out against their competitors.

Discussing your target audience and the best methods to connect with them is one of the first steps we take when we work on a new creative project. If you are unsure whether you should be focusing on social mediaemail marketing, or any other creative communications, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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