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Marketing to Gen Z

Now age 22 or younger, Generation Z is projected to account for 40% of all consumers. Growing up with screens in front of their faces on a daily basis, Gen Z is less focused and easily distracted, creating a challenge for companies and brands to hold onto someone’s interest these days.

In a world revolved around continuous updates, real-time news feeds, and live-streaming video, how does one simply choose one thing to focus on at a time? Multi-tasking is the new norm. Attention spans are significantly shorter, making it so much harder for marketers to sell their products. According to a study completed by Microsoft, the average attention span in the current growing generation is four seconds less than the previous generation.

Create a “Wow Factor”

One of the common content marketing mistakes is producing mediocre and uninteresting content. National Geographic has a following of over 350 million people on all social feeds and at 86 million on Instagram, making it is one of the most popular accounts. What they’ve determined to be a huge factor in getting their followers to stop scrolling and engage is the crisp, vibrant and visually stimulating imagery. The “wow” element of the image lets them escape their current place and time and puts them there in that scenery.

Posts such as the one below would make any type of person stop dead in their tracks. This post of the “supermoon” setting in the San Jacinto mountains was posted February 4th, 2018 and already has 1 million likes and over 3 thousand comments.

Hashtag movements

Former President Barack Obama tweeted the message below in 2015 to declare his support of equal rights for all in terms of marriage after the Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage. Twitter even included the rainbow heart emoji after each use of the hashtag. “#LoveWins” sent a very powerful message to the public and people joined this movement via hashtag.

Important social issues are commonly represented by a hashtag. Hashtags can represent serious matters, like the #MeToo movement, or to raise awareness for an association like the #IceBucketChallenge that took place a few years ago. Both gained a lot of traction on all forms of social media. Women of all ages shared their stories of sexual harassment in light of the accusations against Harvey Weinstein and people also came together for a great cause to raise awareness and money for ALS by participating in the Ice Bucket Challenge online.

When things go viral, it gets people’s attention, even if it’s a completely ridiculous cause/reason. Today’s generation rarely sits down to watch the news, they trust what’s being displayed on their social media platforms. That’s why hashtags hold such a vital importance in society today.

Integrate Video into the Journey

Live streaming was once a gimmick but is now mainstream and critical to marketing success. This method of engaging people on social media platforms such as Facebook or Instagram allows you to communicate in real time with your audience and humanize your brand.

2018 is the year that brands are going to realize that they should be live streaming to get in front of the younger generation. However, they need to be aware of the content they stream, should they decide to. It’s important to have a plan for the content being presented and ensure the presenter is confident in the material and ready to interact with viewers.

GORUCK, a backpack manufacturer and the organizer of extreme endurance events, is a fine example of a brand that has grown by live streaming compelling content on Facebook. Their reach has expanded exponentially since they began live streaming. Thousands of followers tuned in to watch 48-hour coverage of a recent endurance race.


Influencer marketing is centered around brand recognition and it is seen most when brands partner with someone who has a large following on one or more social media platform. Companies seek out influencers to help promote their products or services in a way that appears organically throughout social media. An “influencer” could be a YouTuber, Instagram model, a well-known celebrity, or popular blogger.

Essentially, an influencer is someone with a large following within your industry or vertical that can help boost your brand awareness and build trust with your target audience. Fans of influencers tend to idolize them as if they are celebrities, making them want to mimic what they are doing, wearing, saying, and use the same products they are using and promoting.

Pre-teens and teenagers are more interested in watching their cell phones than television. They aren’t reading printed newspapers or magazines, and they are not likely paying attention to billboard advertising when they’re riding in the car. Consumers of ages 13-24 watch over 12 hours of video a week on social platforms, like YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook, all hotbeds for influencer marketing.


Generation Z does not want to see scripted videos advertising a product anymore. They want to see real people doing things in real-time. They buy into what they trust is true, which becomes brand loyalty in the long run.

Another characteristic of today’s younger group is that they appreciate smaller, bite-sized information. It’s fortunate that this article is written for the older generations, as the Gen Z user would find it too long to read.

Written February 20, 2018 by

Becca Melrath

Semi-functioning adult and social media aficionado.

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