Best Practice For Targeting GenZ

It can be seen that most marketers’ perception of GenZ consumers is often somewhat confused. This is not surprising considering that this is a generation very different from all that came before. For example, many studies describe them as “very cooperative, responsible and pragmatic”. A study by McKinsey & Company also describes a far more optimistic generation of “Zoomers” than their predecessors GenX or the “Baby Boomers”.

They strive to move forward and succeed in life and believe that anything is possible in their future despite global economic uncertainty. However, GenZ are also the most likely to report “higher rates of emotional distress and barriers to effective work.” A survey found that Generation Z would like to spend an average of 3.7 years in a job, while valuing the loyalty of their employers and striving for mutual respect and appreciation.

While Gen Z often puts their professional and financial goals ahead of immediate gratification in their personal lives, they are also more materialistic than previous generations. According to a recent Bank of America survey, 45% of GenZ respondents said material goods were a top priority for them — compared to just 34% of millennials.

Despite being highly motivated, GenZ attaches great importance to a slower life, focuses on living in the present and, according to a study by EY, is often concerned about their physical and mental health.

In 2023, every CMO and their team have made reaching the elusive “GenZ” consumer segment a key part of their strategic plan.

Notoriously difficult to authentically achieve, who better than “Zoomer,” Gen Z authority and pro-democracy political advocate Cheyenne Hunt, JD, to explain more about how they perceive the world.

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While it’s no surprise that GenZ has a reputation for being different, CMOs need to appreciate the context in which they were raised.

Hunt: “CMOs need to recognize that GenZ grew up in an era of massive technological innovation and debilitating economic instability. Between the crash of 2008, the student debt crisis and stagnant wages while corporate profits hit record highs, we know the economic opportunities are stacked against us. However, we are incredibly ambitious and strive to use our technological know-how to create an equal opportunity economy.”

Hunt believes this is why influencer marketing — such as product review videos — has become so successful, as GenZ in particular are much more interested in buying things recommended by someone they trust. Building on this strategy, Hunt has seen many brands successfully target this group: “The best marketing for GenZ I’ve seen is Duolingo on TikTok. Half of their videos don’t even mention their product. Instead, they feature their mascot in videos participating in viral dances or other trending video formats. This type of content has cranked up their followers at breakneck speed, and then when they post content that is directly related to their product, they get millions of views and engagement.”

Not all companies are as successful, however. “The worst practices almost always involve fake, overdeveloped content that burns us all out. Images with excessive Photoshop or general product claims not supported by evidence get nowhere at GenZ.”

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GenZ is also notable for its interest in technology. Deloitte claims that GenZ are often interested in developing their careers in the technology space. GenZ also has a strong interest in the Web3 industry and all the opportunities that smart contracts, blockchain and cryptocurrency offer. Hunt believes this is because technology is inextricably intertwined with the GenZ economy: “It’s part of our DNA. Now we are striving to decentralize the technologies that have become indispensable to our daily lives. We are associated with issues such as corporate responsibility, data protection and monopolistic concentration of market power. I would be willing to bet that GenZ will even lead the way to the playing field for tech startups looking to change the game and offer alternatives to the big boys like Meta and Google.”

So it’s no surprise for CMOs that GenZ also sees sustainability as a core of their identity.

Hunt: “sustainability is an uncompromising value for GenZ. We are witnessing the devastating effects of climate change firsthand as natural disasters become all too common. We live sustainability in our personal lives as many of us change our lifestyle to protect the climate, but we also make our career choices with the environment in mind. We’re already seeing fields like the oil majors struggling to get support from younger workers and I see that trend continuing in the future.”

It’s clear that “Zoomers” are increasingly becoming known for their high digital literacy, growing entrepreneurial spirit, and concern for the planet (and their own health). However, since they are also driven to get ahead and often have material desires, they are obviously also a very attractive generation of consumers.

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In order to reach them with their marketing messages for their products and services, CMOs and their teams have to walk a fine line. So how to reach them? One thing that seems critical for CMOS is the convergence with GenZ they need to appreciate a core principle – authenticity.

Hunt: “GenZ longs for authenticity. Between all digital and physical media sources, we are exposed to thousands of ads every day and we have developed an internal filter to ignore promotional material that feels gimmicky, polished or not authentic.”

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