Marketing Strategies

5 Ways to Use Experiential Marketing to Attract Generation Z

Tips on how to instill brand loyalty in young people.
5 Ways to Use Experiential Marketing to Attract Generation Z
Image credit: RyanJLane | Getty Images
Guest Writer
CMO of Medly
5 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Younger generations are spending their dollars in different ways than the ones that came before. In fact, studies consistently demonstrate that millennials prefer buying experiences to purchasing physical objects, and 72 percent plan to increase the amount of money they dedicate to the former in the next year.

Similar to their big brothers and sisters, members of Generation Z favor collecting memories over materials. However, it's also important for this generation to share experiences with peers. Exhibitions, concerts and sporting events are all potentially attractive ways for the two groups to spend their money, and members of Generation Z are especially likely to go out of their way to promote the events they attend.

Experiential marketing allows consumers to engage with products or services and develop connections to them. As a CMO, it's critical to ensure your event leaves a positive impression on an impressionable group of consumers. If it's instilled at a young age, brand loyalty can last a lifetime.

An experience they'll never forget

The events people attend often create powerful memories that stick with them for many years. Nearly 80 percent of millennials cite events or live experiences as some of the best memories of their lives, and almost 70 percent report that attending such events gives them a better sense of connectedness to those around them, their community and the world.

"The power of experiential marketing comes in its conversational nature, and this type of connection shouldn't just be another tool in brands' marketing tool kits," advises Jeff Snyder, founder of Inspira, which works with companies to build genuine relationships through client development and audience engagement. "To reach customers in an unforgettable way, brands should make personal interaction a recurring and foundational element of their marketing strategies."

Younger generations are focusing more on experiences than products, in part due to their disconnect with traditional advertising. Consumers have become fed up with the saturation of the marketing landscape. While browsing online, they rely on ad blockers, tune out television ads and turn their attention to their smartphones or watch their favorite shows ad-free via Netflix.

The beauty of experiential marketing is that, when done correctly, it provides these generations with an experience they actually want to take part in.

Related: This 14-Year-Old Founder Explains How to Market to Teenagers on Social Media

1. Segment your target market through psychographics

Psychographics target an audience by examining its values, attitudes, and motivations. For example, members of Generation Z have different attitudes than their baby boomer parents -- and, unsurprisingly, they want different things than their parents wanted.

Dividing people into simple demographics is no longer enough. Awareness of psychographic differences allows for better targeting. One group can receive a message tailored to its thinking, while another group receives the message it relates to more strongly -- even if the two groups are part of the same demographic.

Related: Use These 5 Steps to Create a Marketing Plan

2. Focus campaigns on giving something to the customer

A campaign designed to educate and share with your customers will go further with younger generations than one designed to get something out of them, such as an email sign-up.

Lean Cuisine started a #WeighThis campaign, which included the brand installing "scales" in Grand Central Station. Instead of measuring their body weight, participants were paired with boards to write down the merits they actually wanted to be weighed on. Whether it was time devoted to a volunteer effort or their dedication as parents, women actively participated without being asked, and nobody from Lean Cuisine made an effort to sell them anything.

Related: 4 Ways to Market Your Business for Free

3. Use contests or sweepstakes to attract people to an event

Guinness ambassadors spent a couple weeks in bars around the U.K., wearing branded flight attendant uniforms and offering customers entry into a sweepstakes for ordering a pint of Guinness. Each night, a single player won the grand prize -- a flight to Dublin on a private jet with four friends. In this instance, the event had little to do with advertising the actual product and much more to do with an enchanting possibility.

Related: 10 Laws of Social Media Marketing

4. Hand out free merchandise

Nothing inspires envy like some free swag, so give Gen Zers a reason to show off their attendance at your event. Millennials are also reliable social media users: Adweek reported that 81 percent share photos on social media at branded events and 71 percent take advantage of event-specific hashtags, particularly if they have something to show off when doing so.

Related: 10 Marketing Influencers That Every Entrepreneur Can Learn From

5. Take videos and photos

Use the content from the event on social media so Generation Z can share it. Instagram and Snapchat are especially near and dear to Generation Z's hearts because of their seemingly more authentic content.

Generation Z and millennials will value a memorable moment over a material object almost every time. Marketers who capitalize on this in an authentic way can make a true, lasting connection.

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