Marketing to Gen Z

September 21, 2023

Small Business

Tips & Tricks


How To




Tik Tok

Marketing to Gen Z banner

Capturing new Gen Z clients isn’t as difficult as it may seem! As a member of Gen Z, I can identify a few differentiating qualities that make this generation unique and result in different marketing tactics. Everything from where their values lie to who most influences them can inform your marketing strategy.


Differentiators of Gen Z

According to the Pew Research Center, anyone that was born between 1997-2012 can be defined as a member of Generation Z or Gen Z. World events shape each generation, whether it be an economic crash or times of war. Gen Z’s biggest differentiator is that they grew up during the rise of a technological revolution and are referred to as “digital natives”. From a very young age, this group had the ability to surf the internet, send messages online, and post on social networking platforms.



Generation Z tends to have strong beliefs and values that heavily influence where they spend their time and money.

Being aware of climate change, Gen Z and Millennials are large advocates for businesses taking steps to reduce their carbon footprint both on and offline (Figure 1). This emphasis on being environmentally conscious of how humans are treating the planet has led to a rise in marketing surrounding sustainability especially in the fashion industry. If you choose this campaign route, be honest and true to your brand.

Warning! Many companies have been green-washing, advertising their business/products/services as more environmentally friendly than they actually are, and Gen Z has taken to social media to call them out. This attempt to connect with this generation, in turn, resulted in negative press.

Policy and racial justice is also another important topic for this generation. Gen Z is standing up and no longer allowing injustices to be overlooked or brushed under the rug. Learning about and supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion must be a standard practice in all institutions.

Growing up with the internet, Gen Z has little patience with inefficient technology. If you are interested in connecting with this group, it’s crucial to have a fast, easy-to-use, and mobile-friendly website.


Who Influences Gen Z

Every generation gets its information from different sources, which is important to recognize when trying to reach a specific audience for marketing purposes. The media has been influencing generations of individuals since the beginning! While other generations connected with radio hosts, television news, or even MTV, Gen Z has been forming parasocial relationships with online influencers on YouTube, Instagram, etc. since their early middle-grade years.

  • Influencers: People with large social media followings and credibility amongst an audience or industry. Even though viewers and listeners have never met internet personalities in person, they consider themselves friends with these people because they know so much about them from what is posted online. It’s estimated that Generation Z spends a minimum of 4 hours online a day, so it is no surprise that individuals online that they connect with are influencing their actions and opinions. As a small business, you can consider partnering with a relevant influencer for a mutually beneficial relationship. Through this exchange, you gain access to the influencer’s followers (their eyes and ears) and they get a brand deal and new content.
  • Family & Friends: Word of mouth or having a family/friend recommend a product increases the credibility of a product exponentially for Gen Z. They trust their relationships enough that what they are told often sway opinions and buying habits.
  • Online Reviews: They often check reviews and care about what people have to say about a product or service. Studies show that 68% of Gen Z customers read a minimum of 3 reviews before a purchase is made. Encouraging your patrons to write a review or re-post your business on social media could be a great way to grab new potential customers’ attention.


Marketing Tips

How do you market to Gen Z  as a small business? Here are my best tips and tricks to attract this new demographic.

    1. Create short-form video content
      1. TikTok
      2. Instagram Reels
      1. Don’t be to stiff
      2. Honest
    3. Share organic content (create like a creator)
      1. Grab attention
      2. Establish credibility
      3. Promote brand
    4. Build a community
      1. Interact with people in the comments
      2. Entertain or educate
      3. Avoid going straight for the sell
    5. Values Matter!
      1. Gen Z supports brands that share the same values as they do
        1. Share your brand’s beliefs
        2. Don’t do performative activism and allyship
    6. Partner with an Gen Z influencer
      1. They trust their peers
      2. Don’t just pick anyone!
        1. Make sure they align with your brand and are relevant
    7. Sales/ Discounts
      1. Gen Z loves a good deal
      2. Financially not free yet (student loans, debt, etc.)
      3. Use time-sensitive content
        1. FOMO- the audience will have a fear of missing out


For additional insight, be sure to check out our other marketing blogs.