Charis Johnston

Charis Johnston

Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce

Is your business targeting the right market?

The rising generation of consumers born between 1995 and 2012, labeled Generation Z, is a demographic of untapped potential. Today’s teenagers, college students and recent college graduates, all members of gen Z, are a worthwhile target market because they have few fixed expenses and more disposable income.

“...Gen Zers [...] have a spending power of $143 billion and will account for about 40% of global consumers this year” (2019), according to Business Insider.

Below are five strategies to reach a younger target market based on the consumer behaviors of Gen Zers.

1. Create a socially and ethically conscious business model.

According to a 2019 survey of 1,000 individuals by First Insight, “Generation Z is [...] the most willing to pay more for sustainable products (73%).”

Gen Zers care about the society, environment and communities of which they are a part.

According to the digital marketing agency RevLocal, “60% of Gen-Zers want to positively change the world through their work, so they want to shop brands that can do the same.”

To the Gen Z mind, spending money on a product that reflects a greater good, a cause or addresses a social issue is a significantly more convincing purchase than an alternative product that may be cheaper, but comes with the cost of a guilty conscience.

2. Practice consistently clear branding.

Individuals of Gen Z have grown up with access to the internet and expect a level of speed and convenience that customer service and businesses social platforms must commit to fulfilling.

Devon Anderson, owner of Sage Organic Marketing and fellow Gen Zer said in an interview conducted via email, “If the company does not have a digital presence or shows little consistency, this is an immediate red flag and I often look to a different company.”

According to a Forbes article analyzing a study by the National Retail Federation and IBM’s Institute for Business Value, “almost half of Gen Z members surveyed (which was more than 15,000) said the most important thing to them when shopping is the ability to find things quickly, and more than 60% say they will not use apps or websites that are hard to navigate or slow to load.”

3. Establish a social media presence.

A 2018 Pew Research Center survey said that “45% of teens now say they are online on a near-constant basis.”

Anderson said, “If you don’t have an Instagram, Pinterest, Youtube or TikTok, you could be missing out on a vast audience. Play around! Create different graphics, types of copy, and ‘post vibes’ to find a good connection between your business and the younger generation’s attention.”

Taking the time to establish authority for your brand on the social platforms that align with your business model and reach your target market is crucial for gaining the following of a young audience.

4. Bring your consumer into your brand community.

According to an IBM Institute for Business Value report, “44% of respondents said that, if given the opportunity, they would like to submit ideas for product design. Forty-three percent said they would like to participate in a product review, and 42% indicated they want to participate in an online game for a campaign.”

Gen Zers are community oriented and look for a collaborative experience when interacting with a brand. Businesses should be quick to provide the community engagement that Gen Z consumers are seeking.

5. Have an authentic brand identity.

According to research by Morning Consult, “56% (of the 2,000 13-38-year-olds surveyed) have purchased a product after seeing a post from someone they follow." The research shows that “influencers are more trusted than celebrities as brand spokespeople."

Gen Zers are looking for trustworthy endorsements before enacting their purchasing power.

Another option for creating authenticity around your brand could be utilizing user-generated content. A Marketing Dive article reports that “82% [of Gen Zers are] saying they trust a company more if it uses images of real customers in its advertising.”

Reposting customers on social media or creating a marketing campaign that uses your brand’s customers is proven to stimulate action from Gen Z consumers.

Charis Johnston is a summer intern at the Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce. She is currently a second-year multimedia journalism and graphic design student at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego.

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