The best marketers are those who are most in tune with their customers. They understand what consumers want, when they want it and how they want it delivered.
Of course, this level of understanding is much easier to discuss than achieve. It's often challenging to figure out what motivates a consumer.
Lately, top brands and executives are turning to youth marketers for advice. This move makes a lot of sense. After all, what better way to gain insight into customers than to talk to leading influencers who happen to be your target customers?
Two of the most successful gen Z marketers today are Connor Blakley, age 17, and Deep Patel, age 18.
Young but poised, Blakley and Patel have been consulting for Fortune 500 companies for years now. The two clearly understand how generation Z thinks and, more importantly, how to meaningfully engage and form lasting relationships with this group.
Currently, if you want to learn about marketing to gen Z, you have a limited selection of sources. That's why Patel and Blakley are building YouthLogix, a publication for all things related to youth marketing.
Their goal is straightforward: to provide resources for marketers so that they can better understand how to reach this new, influential and diverse generation of consumers.
Here are eight innovative ways that brands can reach gen Z:
1. Consider influencer marketing.
Members of generation Z have grown up with a screen in their hands. Because of this, they've been able to establish genuine relationships with influencers across platforms such as YouTube, Snapchat and Instagram.
These connections are much deeper and more prevalent than we've ever seen throughout history. As a result, gen Z knows all about influencers. They connect with these people every day, and they even have emotional relationships with them.
This is a huge opportunity for brands to partner with influencers to help spread a message. The connection is a fragile one, but it nevertheless creates a direct channel for reaching vast numbers of gen Z consumers.
2. Don't rely on dotcoms.
Gen Z will not search the web for your dotcom website. They often go through social outlets.
What that implies is that in order to reach the eyeballs of gen Z kids, brands need to find the channels where those consumers are looking. Most likely, those channels will be somewhere other than a traditional website.
3. Use visuals.
A big difference between gen Z and previous consumers is a shorter attention span. That means marketers and brands will need to build content that consumers can digest easily and quickly.
Gifs are a great tool for brands to deliver their messages concisely and powerfully. They pack a punch and can be delivered across many media platforms to find their audience. Because of their concise and efficient nature, gifs and other short clips are a perfect way to appeal to gen Z.
4. Follow the "new social contract."
Some interesting research has been done on the way in which gen Z consumers prefer to interact with brands. Researchers have concluded that dealing with gen Z requires a new type of social contract.
Gen Z likes brands that can engage them, provide a relatable and personalized experience through social media, reward their loyalty and maintain consistentcy across all channels.
5. Seek quality over coolness.
Although they appreciate conciseness, generation Z seeks quality as well. In addition to being extremely cost conscious, gen Z consumers know great value when they see it.
They'll always side with high-quality products and content over what may be perceived as cool.
6. Blend the online and offline spheres.
For gen Z, there is no separation between the offline and online worlds. Just as they interact and form relationships in person, gen Zers build real friendships with people they meet online.
This phenomenon occurs with not only other people, but also brands and companies. The most in-tune companies will always build a strong online connection with their customers so that they can best understand their wants and needs.
7. Recognize purchasing drivers.
According to a study conducted by Penn Schoen Berland, nearly half of gen Z says cost is the deciding factor when making a big purchase. A secondary factor is whether the product helps them reach a goal. This is an important deviation from the traditional marketing standard.
A gen Zer is a tough but extremely valuable customer if you can convince them that your product or service is worth the price and actually provides value. If you can accomplish this task, then you can expect a long-term customer.
8. Aim for consistency.
Consistency is crucial when you interact with gen Z consumers. They are tough and stubborn. They will also remember all of the interactions that they have with companies and brands.
That is both good and bad. Gen Z will reward you if you show them you are valuable. However, they will never forget a poor interaction, either in person or online. Creating consistent, quality interactions with gen Z is a key part of connecting to this influential consumer group.