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Reach Gen Z with offline word of mouth marketing

Even though Gen Zs always seem to have a phone in hand, brands need to find creative ways to connect with them offline, as well. Here’s how to get them to talk (and their friends to listen!).

 

Gen Z has made a name for itself as the always-connected generation. Nearly a quarter of Gen Zs spend 10 or more hours on their smartphones every day, and some 66 percent of young people in this demographic use more than one device simultaneously.

But that doesn’t mean brands should discount the value of word-of-mouth marketing. This digital-savvy generation knows that reviews and social media are easily manipulated. That’s why recommendations from people they trust have become more important than ever. Brands that can get Gen Zs talking (both online and offline) can gain loyalty from the next generation of customers.

Here’s what we know about word-of-mouth marketing for Gen Z, and some tips on getting young consumers talking about your brand.

Social influence goes beyond the screen

Social media has become synonymous with word-of-mouth marketing in the 21st century. However, they’re not exactly the same thing, and nothing quite trumps hearing a close friend rave to you in person about something they just bought.

 When Gen Z hears someone in their inner circle talking about a brand, they listen—and continue the conversation with others. Almost half of Gen Zs have made a “second-person word of mouth” recommendation based on a positive experience a friend or relative has shared about a service or product, and 30 percent of Gen Zs have repeated praise they overheard from someone they didn’t know. Remember: Every online conversation about your brand can have ripple effects in the real world.

Get Gen Z talking about your brand organically

If you want to get customers chatting, you’ve got to give them something to talk about. Some luxury brands have been using pop-up stores to build brand familiarity and increase word of mouth marketing opportunities. Experiential retail can also boost the positive things people say about brands—it spurs people to tell their friends, “You have to check out the cool experience at this store!” All the better if that experience is something they can repeat with friends.

Another way to capitalize on word-of-mouth publicity is to make your brand a key part of cultural conversations. Gen Zs value diversity, inclusion and environmental sustainability. If your brand does something splashy in one of those spaces (think: Dove’s “Real Beauty” campaign), it naturally becomes part of the conversations Gen Zs are already having. When it comes to effective word of mouth marketing, make it organic. 

Reviews matter, but offline WOM is even more important for significant life events

It’s a fact: Online reviews hold major sway over just about everyone, especially Gen Z. Around 86 percent of Gen Z customers read reviews before they complete a first-time purchase, and 68 percent of them read at least three reviews. Gen Z women take what others are saying especially seriously, with 21 percent of them reading nine or more reviews before buying. This is a generation that values the opinions of others, whether they read them online or hear them in person.

But if your brand happens to be entwined with life’s major milestones (like buying a first  car, graduation or marriage), you might want to double down on your efforts to get Gen Z sharing their experience in-person with friends. Research has found that word-of-mouth marketing was 331 percent more influential than online reviews for Gen Zs planning weddings. They know that these events are once-in-a-lifetime, and genuine opinions from people they trust can make a world of difference. (Better to get your game in gear now, before most Gen Zs are evening thinking about planning weddings.)

When it comes to Gen Z, social influence goes well beyond the screen. Leverage word-of-mouth marketing to earn their trust and loyalty.

Joni Sweet
Joni Sweet
Joni Sweet is a freelance writer who's always in search of adventure

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