A lot of people think that being a young person in marketing means you’re at an immediate disadvantage in just about every way. I happen to disagree. You see, I am on the cusp between Millennials and Generation Z, meaning I have direct insight into the two markets that are going to have the most buying power in the coming years. Not to mention, Gen Z in particular has goals that will change the game for marketing going forward, and a lot of it probably comes down to social media. Generation Z’s access to social media makes them more interested in what’s happening behind the curated posts because they understand it’s not real. So what do they want? Authenticity. And they can spot deception from miles away. So how do you keep your company from falling into this trap? Let me break it down.
Don’t Be Afraid to Show Your Process
Since Gen Z is used to social media and sharing every aspect of their lives (who remembers when their feed was just beautiful food?), this group is a bit jaded because they know that a lot of times even brands who claim to be authentic are curating that authenticity. They know very well that giant influencers usually aren’t working with a company just because they like them, and they also know that candid doesn’t mean what it used to. It’s painfully obvious when all that glitters isn’t gold, so just show your consumers what it really is so they can learn and get behind what you’re actually doing. The loyalty Zoomers have to brands they trust is unparalleled in part because they do their research, so give them something good to find by showing the belly of the beast. It might seem less “likable” up front, but it will show your audience exactly what they’re being asked to buy into.
Integrate Your Values Every Step of the Way
What does your company care about? Is it treating your employees with respect? Marketing with diversity and inclusion in mind? You don’t have to be donating half of your proceeds to the rainforest every year to be a brand that Generation Z believes in. You just have to own the good that you do and make sure you carry it throughout your process. It’s important to remember that Zoomers want to know that their dollars (all 143.2 billion of them) are supporting brands and organizations that have a moral code. Nobody wants to see a company go halfway on the things they’re meant to care about, and if you’re being honest about your process, your audience will know that you’re not following through. Action speaks louder than words is a cliche, but that’s because it’s true, which leads to my last point.
Prioritize Customer Feedback
We all know that social media can sometimes be a beast when it comes to getting called out by customers for a problem, but here’s the thing: it can also be your greatest friend when you’re being called in. Generation Z is not naïve enough to believe that any company is perfect, and they believe that the best way to get better is to be better so when (not if) you commit a marketing faux pas, own it. Explain that the mistake happened and then spell out the ways you are going to keep it from happening again. Tell your audience that you are going to be better and how, then DO IT. This process shows that you are a company with a conscience and that you are so committed that you are willing to be held accountable going forward as well. This kind of openness is going to show Zoomers that you’re more than a machine.