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Start-Ups

5 Marketing Tactics for Appealing to Generation Z

By Barbara Beauregard   |    January 25, 2018   |    10:06 AM

Develop an Effective Strategy for Reaching Generation Z

Generation Z is just beginning to enter the labor force and will have increased buying power in the years to come.

The generation, generally deemed those born in the late 1990s through the mid-2000s, makes up more than a quarter of the U.S. population. They might be already be working part-time jobs or getting an allowance, and have a collective buying power that some research pegs at more than $40 billion a year. And even if they don’t have money of their own for purchases, their preferences likely play a role in the buying decisions their parents make and soon they will be in position to make similar decisions for themselves as they join the workforce.

Strategies that have worked when marketing to millennials might not work in reaching Gen Z, though. This generation, according to sociological research, wants to work for their success, but they want to do so in an ethically and socially responsible way. They are likely to gravitate to transparent companies that are socially conscious. And they’ll do so via their smart devices.

So how do you reach them? Here are five strategies to employ to shift your marketing strategy to reach this coveted and hard-to-reach segment of the market.

Avoid the Facebook trap

While advice to have a Facebook page and to post frequently is ubiquitous, the social media site is becoming an increasingly mobile-only platform, particularly for Generation Z. To effectively reach them, mobile-only is a great strategy.

Think coupons, which are convenient and then some when you can flash them from your smartphone. No computer, no printer needed. Easy breezy and teen-friendly.

Instagram is your friend

Known for photo-sharing, Instagram now has video, which means you can make a 15-second pitch highlighting your products and services on the app Gen Z loves.

Consider campaigns specific to Instagram that will bring younger consumers to your storefront or coupons that will take them to your website. The content is easy to produce, but make sure to keep it short and sweet to keep the eyes of a segment that has a limited attention span.

Cross platforms

Think YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and maybe even TV if your budget allows. Flood the various platforms with consistent messaging and a catchy hashtag. Make it fun and exciting to follow along and watch awareness of your brand or product grow.

Aim for viral

When sharing videos via social media channels, remember teens aren’t that interested in a sales price or a new product. They’ll go to your website to get that dirt. Rather, socially shared videos are about fun. Be funny, but not corny, and have a good time. Just remember if something seems contrived or cheesy to you, it will to your target audience, too.

Don’t dumb it down

Young doesn’t mean unaware or unintelligent. Teens today are savvier than ever and probably know more than their older counterparts give them credit for. Avoid slang, and stay true to your message while incorporating funny plays on culture or current trends.

Be genuine. And keep a clear focus on who you’re marketing to -- a generation concerned about the environment and society, which is eager to work and find its own way in the world, and it will do so with smartphones firmly in hand.