Have you ever had someone talk up an amazing new album, their favorite dish at a local restaurant, or a hilarious movie and you try it, only to find out it isn’t that great? The way someone weakly responds to a friend’s hole-in-the-wall-not-so-great-go-to taco place can just as easily happen when a strategic marketing tactic isn’t catered to their taste. This tends to happen when the wrong message is sent to the wrong generation. Each age group has its own preferences, so it’s important to be cognizant of how to best appeal to those. They may be young, but Generation Z is important to keep on your radar.

Why To Market To Them

By 2020, Generation Z will make up 40% of all consumers. They also outnumber millennials, the highly sought-after generation by marketers, by one million individuals. While many in this generation are still learning how to read and write, trends have begun to form among the older portion of this age group. Winning over the minds of this generation means winning over the future of the country’s spending power.

How To Market To Them

  1. Make Your Product A Necessity.

This generation was born into, or very young during, a time period of major recessions, so they’re going to be more careful with their financial resources at a younger age. A survey conducted by Lincoln Financial Group found the top three priorities of this generation are getting a job, finishing college, and safeguarding money for the years to come. These priorities come as more important than spending time with family, exercising, and traveling, which is a stark difference compared to the millennial generation. Gen Z isn’t spending their money frivolously, so they will not buy a product unless they feel they need it. To engage this generation, one of two things needs to happen:

  1. Your product needs to be a necessity.
  2. You need to position your product as a necessity.

Frontier Airlines is known for cheap flights to major cities. How are their flights sometimes hundreds of dollars cheaper than their competitors? The airline cuts out all amenities from flights—an extra fee for checked bags, refreshments, and even an aisle seat apply. To older generations, it might seem like the airline is trying to nickel and dime its customers, but Generation Z would see this as an opportunity to save money. They don’t need the comforts that come with flying; they want to get to their destination by the least expensive means possible.

  1. Do Away With Traditional Roles.

Barack Obama being elected into office or the legalization of same-sex marriage isn’t a huge advancement to Generation Z; in fact, it’s incredibly normal to them. Being adolescents in such a progressive time has allowed them to be more accepting to new ideas than former generations, so the products marketed to them should follow suit. After conducting research on this age group, American Eagle’s CMO, Kyle Andrew, said, “They are not judgmental, they don’t put people in boxes, and they don’t seem to care as much about what you do, who you love, or what you look like.” To promote these values, the company launched a campaign featuring individuals of all ethnicities, genders, sizes, and values. He also observed it isn’t enough to offer this generation a great product. They want to engage in something that promotes their ideals, the banner ideal being inclusion. Support what they can become, not what past standards say they should become.


  1. Take Them Seriously.

They are just breaking into their 20s, but the older part of this generation is wise beyond their years. In a New York Times article, Generation Z was explained as “having their eyes open from the beginning,” considering they were born in a time of tumult. In a sense, they had to grow up quickly, much like the individuals born in the period of The Great Depression. Additionally, this generation didn’t have to transition into technology. It’s always been available to them. They have the resources and ability to find the answers to their questions in a matter of seconds—so don’t try to trick them with fake truths about your product. They’ll use their technological savvy to discover the truth about a brand, and then blast it to all of their followers. Instead of playing into the whole “young and naïve” charade, find ways your brand can encourage their maturity and use it to leverage connections with their friends. This generation is shaping up to be a lot of things, but dumb isn’t one of them.

Investing in Generation Z might seem like a task for the distant future, but before we know it, these mindful, out-of-the-box thinkers will be the ones making the decisions—will your brand be on board?

Creative Spot is a full-service marketing and advertising agency in Columbus, Ohio. If you would like to learn more about how we can help your organization with strategic marketing, please contact us.

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