Marketing to Gen Z

by Ashley Sipe

Illustration by Nia Freeman

Generation Z, which includes those born between 1996 and 2010, is a tech-centric, social and inquisitive generation. Having lived through the Recession of 2008, the rise of smartphones, multiple social protests and the Covid-19 pandemic, this group is now approaching or currently entering adulthood. This opens a whole new market to businesses, as roughly 2.47 billion people are about to join the global economy. This generation, which makes up 40% of the consumer population, is extremely influential in the market and holds a lot of spending power. 

This group requires a different marketing approach than previous generations. A colorful website and cheesy commercial won’t win the hearts of Gen Z. Here are some strategies that will appeal to them. 

Digital Presence: Maintaining a strong digital presence is essential for successfully marketing towards Gen Z. 83% of Gen Z shops through different social media apps and 64% will look up a business online before going to a business in person. With that being said, here are some ways to ensure your digital presence is impressive to Gen Z.

  • Social Media Presence: Instagram is one social media platform that can be a powerful marketing tool for businesses. Businesses are able to engage with customers, share news and showcase new products. Similarly, TikTok allows businesses to produce video marketing, on a budget, to engage with users. 

  • Up to Date Website: A website is one of the first impressions a business can give prospective clients. 75% of people admit that website quality can be a factor in determining the credibility of a business. Gen Z will not accept a website that lags upon opening or opens to an unprofessional looking website.


  • Move Mobile: If your product or business is applicable, consider developing a mobile app for it. Gen Z is constantly on their phones, so being reachable through an app would be beneficial. This also allows you to send out alerts on sales or news. 

Company Values: Gen Z is very socially aware and ethically mindful. They want to support companies who are ethical in production and are willing to pay more in order to invest in a morally just company. Here are some ways you can show your company cares about the issues important to Gen Z

  • Be Genuine: Gen Z doesn’t want to see a generic post about current events or social movements. Instead, businesses can do things like hosting a benefit night for a cause or showcasing a staff member’s connection to the issue. 

  • Take a Stand: Amidst a plethora of social, racial and environmental debates in recent years, Gen Z expects companies to speak out when issues arise. For instance, many people praised Ben & Jerry’s for speaking out against police brutality amidst the George Floyd protests. Studies show, speaking out on an issue could increase consumers’ willingness to invest in a product or service. 

  • Produce Ethically: Gen Z cares about how the products they are investing in are produced. Is the produce locally grown? Are the products eco-friendly?

Build Partnerships: Gen Z is very influential, meaning when a well-known person posts on TikTok or Instagram about a new product or restaurant, people are going to be influenced to go. While this option may cost some money, it can be very effective in attracting new clients.  

  • Student Athletes: Name, image and likeness (NIL) allows college athletes to partner with businesses to create advertisements or products. Local college businesses can benefit from this by teaming up with university athletes to promote themselves to students. 

  • Local Influencers: Micro Influencers, who are people with more than 1,000 followers but are not quite a celebrity, are also resources for businesses. Whether it is a TikTok showing off a new outfit they got from your boutique or an Instagram post showcasing their dinner, micro influencers have the power to bring traffic and trust to your company. 

  • Business Partnerships: Developing partnerships with other local businesses and events is another way to build more traffic. Gen Z cares about being a part of a community so they are more trusting of businesses connected to their community. This also allows businesses to expand their network and presence within the community. 

Through the use of a strong digital presence, clear company values and strong community partnerships, Gen Z will become more trusting and willing to invest in products and services. These tactics will help your business appeal to Gen Z and lead to long term client relationships.  

For more marketing tips and strategies, check out our website here.