How to Market to Gen Z in 2023: 4 Tips to Amplify Your Marketing

Melanie Balke
September 13, 2022

While it may seem like it shouldn’t be possible, it's a new generation's turn to start becoming a major consumer demographic. In 2020, the collective buying power of Gen Zers was a whopping $143 billion!

That’s a lot of money to leave on the table! And if you're on the fence about making a concerted effort to get a piece of the pie, remember: major brands already have been for years.

After all, with the youngest Gen Zers turning 10 by year's end, more and more of them are funneling into that legendary 18-24 age demographic.

For traditional marketers, Gen Z is an infamously hard nut to crack. They’re well-known for their surrealist humor and unprecedented consumer behavior. However, I have a secret to share with you: Marketing to Generation Z isn’t actually that hard!

So, how can brands reach these young consumers (many of whom aren't really so young anymore)?

A photo of a clock with overlaid header text, which reads, “How to Market to Gen Z in 2023.”

With 2022 coming to a close, now is the perfect time to start investing in next year’s marketing strategy. So if your business invests in developing your Gen Z marketing strategy now, it'll pay off for at least the next decade.

If you’re ready to make your brand stand out from the crowd and attract young customers the way other brands already are, then you can’t miss these tips!

The Big Picture: Gen Z Statistics

If you want to appeal to this up-and-coming generation, you have to understand how they think. As digital natives, Gen Zers are highly interconnected. For this generation, the keywords to know are: aware, connected, and creative.

Header text overlaid on a photo of a graph. “The Big Picture: Gen Z Statistics.”

Understanding Gen Z’s Preferences

Before you start advertising to this generation, you need to know about their habits.

There are so many different statistics about these young consumers, but there are some common, powerful traits that can guide your brand. It's worth noting that Gen Zers tend to:

  • Dislike when a brand takes a neutral stance on ethical issues
  • Engage frequently with influencers
  • Enjoy brands with a sense of community
  • Heavily prefer mobile devices
  • Prefer interactive content (i.e., Facebook & Instagram stories or livestreams)
  • Prioritize companies with a well-built website
  • Respond poorly to insincerity and poor communication
  • Respond well to video
  • Support brands with progressive causes
  • Value diversity and inclusion
  • Value personal recommendations and user-generated content

Examining Gen Z’s Consumer Behavior Trends

What do all of those stats mean?

Well, first of all, let’s point out the elephant in the room. Gen Z is getting older, and Gen Z shoppers are holding more power over brands. If you want to succeed, then you need to know how to catch Gen Z’s attention and how to get them to actually purchase.

As this young generation of consumers makes larger and grander purchasing decisions, your marketing strategy needs to keep up. To appeal to this new generation, all brands need to prioritize services and features that attract these younger buyers, including:

  • A cohesive brand story
  • Aggregating consumer-generated reviews
  • Creating a community
  • Data protection and privacy measures
  • Offering multiple ways to communicate with your brand
  • Responsive chatbots
  • A responsive site
  • Videos and similarly responsive content

So, with that information out of the way, let’s keep the conversation going!

What are the most important Gen Z marketing trends that you should know about as we approach 2023?

1. Gen Z Consumers Want to Be Heard

Now, before anyone starts to object: I know that this isn’t a new trend.

A photo of a protest with overlaid header text: “Gen Z Consumers Want to Be Heard.”

Gen Z customers have been “voting with money” for years. As digital natives, Gen Zers are highly interconnected. They aren’t exactly a monolith, but members of this group tend to have many shared beliefs.

For example:

  • 60% of all Generation Z shoppers support LGBTQ+ rights
  • 60% of Gen Z consumers encourage ethnic diversity
  • 60% of younger shoppers support brands that are socially responsible

While many of the opinions expressed by Gen Z are the same for Millennials, marketers should take note of some of the key differences.

An infographic with text overlaid on an image of a clock. The header reads, “Gen X Stats: World Views.” Beneath this is smaller body text: “Millennials and Gen Z share many world views, but Gen Z tends to be even more progressive than their turn-of-the-century counterparts.” Below this is a list of three facts: (1.) “48% support gender neutral brands”, (2.) “The majority support LGBT+ rights”, and (3.) “Only 15% believe gay marriage is negative.”

It should come as no surprise that social responsibility holds a great amount of importance to Gen Z customers. As digital natives, members of Generation Z have spent the majority of their lives being exposed to hot-button issues.

So, what does that mean for your brand?

Find Causes That Resonate With Gen Z Shoppers

One of the most important things that marketers need to know about this generation is that they is all about change. As digital natives, the upcoming generations have spent the majority of their lives in some sort of internet community.

This unprecedented interconnection has given this generation an acute awareness of the world around them, and they want to change what they’re seeing.

This generation is keenly aware that one of the best ways to affect change is by being chooy about the brands they support, so supporting a social cause that resonates with Gen Z shoppers is a fantastic way to attract younger customers.

Gen Z is keen to reshape their future, and they see brands as a potential force for good. Some key insights into this demographic have revealed that their most important causes are:

  • Access to healthcare
  • Consumer privacy
  • Environmental responsibility
  • Gender equality
  • LGBTQ+ rights
  • Racial equality
  • Sustainability

Create Content That’s Genuine

However, — and this caveat is huge — your brand has to practice what it preaches. Gen Z is smart, and they can easily sniff the difference between genuine support and surface-level performance.

Remember: We’re dealing with a generation that has always known the internet. Word travels quickly in Gen Z circles, so make sure that you truly believe in what you claim your brand supports.

2. Make Videos Part of Your Gen Z Marketing Strategy

Once you have your social causes and brand identity in place, it’s time to create a strategy. While older generations are accustomed to pay-per-click advertising, both Millennials and Gen Z shoppers prefer video formats.

A photo of video editing software with overlaid header text: “Video Content is Essential.”

But brands no longer have to spend a ton of time, effort, and money making long-form content.

TikTok’s shorts have garnered plenty of attention and birthed plenty of new trends. To keep up, many platforms are following suit and added the ability to create bite-sized shorts.

The pandemic has also impacted social media. Twitch’s meteoric rise to fame has led to an increased interest in streaming, and most major social media platforms now offer live video feeds, even offering fee based content behind a paywall or as part of an invitation only community.

An infographic with text over a photo of a camera. The header reads, “Gen Z Stats: Videos.” Below this is smaller body text: “Younger generations love video content, and Gen Z is the biggest consumer of the lot. When it comes to online videos, here are the facts about Gen Z.” A three-point list follows: (1.) “65% check Instagram Stories daily”, (2.) “70% watch 3 or more hours of video every day”, and (3.) “84% check YouTube daily.”

Now, before you back away from the idea of producing video content, I want to point out the sheer potential of this channel for a wide array of brands. It is a fantastic way to keep your audience engaged!

With the right balance of creative vision and informed strategies, both recorded and live content can be recycled for omnichannel marketing. Before a livestream, you can send out an email campaign to remind subscribers of the event. You may even want to embed particularly fun and memorable moments in your newsletters.

The Best Ways to Reach Your Audience

Unfortunately, I can’t tell you how to run your video marketing campaigns. But I can give you some of the data to help you figure out the best options for your brand.

  • 70% of Gen Z reports using YouTube to de-stress and feel a sense of community
  • Gen Z has a strong preference for user-generated content over sponsored scripts
  • How-to videos are a great way to engage with Gen Z
  • The ideal length of video content is between 1–6 minutes
  • Recruiting influencers can dramatically improve your marketing performance
  • TikTok, Twitch, and YouTube are the most popular video platforms
  • Video clips have the same amount of influence on a Gen Z purchase as reviews do

3. Optimize Everything for Mobile Devices

It’s a well-known fact that all generations are turning to mobile devices for the majority of their online interactions, with Gen Z leading that trend. When making decisions about marketing to Gen Z, keep these statistics in mind.

A photo of someone using a phone. Overlaid header text reads, “Pay Attention to Mobile Users.”

75% of Gen Z prefers to use smartphones over laptops or desktops.

In addition to communicating with friends and family, Gen Zers are using their phones for plenty of different activities. Almost anything that may have once been done on a desktop is now being done on phones. Brands without strong mobile design are generally overlooked.

For marketers, this means that every Gen Z marketing must be optimized for mobile viewing. Yes, that includes your website! Gen Z is all about a site’s functionality, and 60% of Gen Zers simply won’t use a website that takes more than a few seconds to load.

Gen Z and Phones by the Numbers

Because of the instant availability of almost anything these days, Generation Z values timely responses. This is further enabled by their prolific mobile phone use, which is one of the keys to marketing to Gen Z.

An infographic featuring a photo of a phone with overlaid text. The header reads, “Gen Z Stats: Mobile Users.” Below this is smaller body text: “Gen Z is one of the most mobile generations. Some of the key starts are,” followed by a four-point list. (1.) “32% of Gen Z online purchases are mobile”, (2.) “55% use their phones for five or more hours daily”, (3.) “70% watch three or more hours of mobile video daily”, and (4.) “75% prefer to use smartphones.”

If you want to attract this audience’s massive buying power, then it’s time to start broadening your horizons. There are more channels than Facebook and more devices than tablets and laptops.

Mobile Tips and Tricks for Attracting Gen Z Shoppers

Data shows that future generations will likely be avid mobile customers, and the massive trend toward more mobile purchases has only just begun!

Research suggests that these numbers will only grow, and the increased availability of smartphones will only encourage more mobile shopping.

So, what can marketers do to encourage more Gen Z purchases?

  • Create a site that is well-optimized for mobile viewing
  • Encourage customers to create and share content about your products or services
  • Ensure that any pay-per-click ads are mobile-friendly
  • Produce video content that works well on mobile
  • Prominently feature reviews on your site
  • Respond to messages in a timely manner

4. Hire the Pros

In some ways, video marketing to a Gen Z audience isn’t as complicated as it’s made out to be. In others, it feels like a labyrinth. For example, recent data shows that Gen Z doesn't respond to email marketing as well a Boomers or Millennials, but the same messaging--sometimes even the same copy--sent as an SMS gets 80% opern rates or higher.

Regardless of how your Gen Z marketing strategies play out, having expert advice to help you incorporate this key demographic's preferences into your overall strategy can make a huge difference now and for years to come.

What Can a Marketing Agency Do for My Gen Z Marketing Strategy?

A good marketing partner will be able to take all of this information and compile it into a coherent strategy. Obviously, one of the best benefits is that they’ll free up more of your time for business by taking marketing off your plate.

However, they’ll also be able to discuss new ideas and options with you, such as:

  • Customized email marketing for Gen Zers
  • Maintaining relationships with influencers
  • SMS marketing
  • Pop-ups that augment your site instead of detract from it
  • Targeted campaigns
  • Targeted partnerships with other brands
  • Understanding effective ways to reach younger consumers
  • Unique campaigns to captivate a younger audience

How to Find a Great Marketing Agency for Gen Zers

An amazing marketing agency will be able to help your brand find its voice and promote itself to the world. They’ll also do all of the tedious research and testing for you.

If you’re in the market for a new partner, then it’s time to start talking! I offer free consultations to companies looking for a new email marketing agency. You can also check out the rest of my blog to see tips and tricks to refine marketing efforts for your business.