How to Market to Gen Z

November 15, 2021

By: Hannah Yang

As a Gen Zer myself, I’ll admit that we can be picky about what we like and dislike, what we think is cool or uncool. Often it’s hard, even for me, to identify what works or why something clicked with so many people my age. That’s why marketing to Gen Z is a complicated business—you have to tread carefully, but you also have to be willing to push boundaries and create new things. 

First of all, you have to understand the subtleties of your audience. Are you marketing to the NYC fashion student who makes TikToks about being an NYC fashion student? The Doc-Marten-wearing, plant-growing softboy? Or your average tired college student? When you’re not trying to appeal to everyone, identity-specific ads are worth a shot. Employ influencers who have a certain audience, or use visuals, language, and trends with which certain groups identify. For example, If you’re trying to target the average teen girl, sneak your product into a “what’s in my tote bag” video. Everyone loves to be seen, no matter how superficial the representation, and when I see certain characteristics of my identity in an ad, I’m more likely to identify with the product.  

Next, create something fun and new—whether it’s a new shopping experience, a new ad strategy, or a new trend. I get extremely bored and a little frustrated scrolling on social media and seeing twenty similar ads within five minutes. Gen Z loves feeling unique, so we love marketing strategies that are niche. Reinvent the customer service experience for your online store, create a unique deal, employ creative directors with a new vision, or use social media to create a new trend. With more untraditional ads, like influencer posts or TikTok videos, I value creativity over everything. Gen Z loves a funny social media trend, especially one they can participate in. 

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, listen to Gen Z. And don’t just listen to them, but have them create the marketing content you put out. Statistics and studies can only tell you so much. By having Gen Z involved in the process of creating marketing strategy, you lessen the risk of creating marketing that is offensive, insincere, or just plain boring. Additionally, having a Gen-Z voice—through consulting about an ad with Gen Z, using Gen-Z models and stories, or having Gen Z create social media content—adds a level of authenticity that most companies just can’t reproduce without direct Gen-Z input. 

Successfully marketing to Gen Z is no easy feat. Reach out to Adolescent to work directly with Gen Zers in creating marketing strategies and content that Gen Z will respond to.