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3 Quick Wins for Marketing to Gen Z in 2021

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    Gen Z is a powerful consumer group and their buying power is only growing as they get older. If you don’t yet have a strategy for marketing to Gen Z, 2021 is the year to do it.

    The youngest generation that is emerging into adulthood is estimated to account for 40 percent of all global consumers. Marketing to Gen Z is no longer a priority that can sit on the back burner. If your marketing strategy doesn’t include targeted efforts for nurturing loyal brand followers, it’s time to get cracking. Of course, it takes time to integrate new approaches for reaching different audiences, so in the meantime, use these three quick wins to capture the attention of this generation.

    1. Use mobile communication.

    It’s no secret that Gen Z is mobile-first. They use smartphones for everything, and according to IBM, 75 percent of them use their phone as their primary device. Launching an app is a great way to stay connected with Gen Z, but it takes time and resources to build and maintain it. Fortunately, apps are not the only way to leverage mobile communication. 

    The vast majority (73 percent) of Gen Z is mostly chatting and texting on their phones. Go for the quick win by building your SMS marketing list. Offer discounts and other incentives for signing up to your contact list. Once you have captured phone numbers, you can create SMS campaigns to keep Gen Z engaged with your brand. Need a few examples for inspiration?

    • When Disney opened Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, demand was so great it launched a text to wait system that delighted customers by reducing wait times in lines while also capturing phone numbers for future marketing. 
    • Fashion brand Express uses SMS to promote flash sales that prompt customers to act quickly. Messages also include stackable savings that help move the needle for customers who are on the fence about making a purchase. 
    • Lingerie and lifestyle brand Aerie boosts website traffic by sending weekly coupons to SMS subscribers, encouraging customers to purchase and also keeping them engaged.

    Leverage these defining Gen Z traits. Download our Gen Z Marketing Playbook.

    2. Partner with a charity.

    One of the key Gen Z traits is that they are socially conscious and want to feel good about the brands they support. Win the hearts and minds of Gen Z by identifying local or national charities or social movements that align with your brand’s values and donating a portion of sales to support them. Don’t be shy about sharing your altruism, but do be authentic about it. Gen Z wants to know what you’re doing to help others. Run targeted campaigns that highlight your efforts to boost sales and increase donations.

    For example, water bottle brand S’well responded to the global pandemic by launching its For the Frontlines initiative. Knowing that hydration is key for maintaining good health and that additional PPE makes it more challenging to stay hydrated, S’well supplied frontline workers with new water bottles through its Buy One, Donate One campaign. 

    3. Lean into Snapchat.

    If Snapchat has been on your radar but you haven’t yet taken the plunge, make 2021 the year you expand your social presence. Snapchat claims to reach 90 percent of Gen Z. If you’re looking to engage this audience, this is an obvious place to reach them. While you should absolutely take the time to build a comprehensive Snapchat strategy, go for the quick win by creating your brand profile on the platform. You can create custom Snapchat Lenses for your brand, launch a Shopify-connected store, showcase your best content, and maintain engagement with stories.

    Hulu nailed it with its What Should I Watch Lens, which displays a TV above the user’s head and scrolls through Hulu content. When the user raises their eyebrows, the scrolling stops, offering a suggestion for what to watch next. 

    Go for quick wins and play the long game when marketing to Gen Z.

    These quick wins are a great place to start, but they should ultimately be part of a more comprehensive strategy for marketing to Gen Z. If you’re just starting to research this important audience, check out our Gen Z Marketing Playbook for insights about how your brand can adapt to align with Gen Z values.

    UNiDAYS x Ad Age: Gen Z Marketing Playbook

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      Think digital marketing is all it takes to reach Gen Z? Think again. Download the research report here.