Marketing to Gen Z has become a top priority for brands, with their estimated spending power of over £300 billion. However, despite this large investment, many brands still struggle to effectively engage with this demographic. Through our network of students across 45 cities in the UK and Ireland, we have identified the top three marketing mistakes brands make when targeting Gen Z.
The first mistake is the overuse of “try-hard” tactics. Gen Z is quick to dismiss brands that appear to be trying too hard to be cool and relatable. Using outdated or forced Gen Z “lingo” can also backfire, as slang evolves rapidly and what was once considered trendy can quickly become outdated.
Secondly, brands often make the mistake of categorizing Gen Z as a single demographic, failing to recognize the sub-cultural nuances within the group. From music preferences to fashion trends, Gen Z’s interests and values are diverse and complex. Brands must make a better effort to understand the individuality of each member of this generation in order to engage with them effectively.
Finally, brands must avoid the mistake of assuming that all members of Gen Z share the same values. While this generation is known for being opinionated, forcing a singular value-set onto them can come across as inauthentic and disingenuous. Instead, brands should focus on demonstrating their own authentic values and beliefs.
In the current digital age, Gen Z Marketing is becoming increasingly crucial for brands that want to stay relevant and maintain a competitive edge. This generation has grown up in a world where technology and social media are ubiquitous, and their unique communication patterns, values, and preferences are drastically different from those of previous generations. Brands must recognize and adapt to these differences to create meaningful connections with Gen Z.
However, it is not uncommon for brands to make common mistakes when targeting Gen Z. Despite spending significant portions of their marketing budgets on this demographic, they often fall short in their attempts to engage with Gen Z. One of the biggest mistakes brands make is the attempt to appear cool and relatable, resulting in campaigns that come off as “cringe” to Gen Z. Using outdated or inappropriate slang, for example, can alienate this demographic and damage a brand’s credibility.
Another mistake brands make when marketing to Gen Z is treating them as a singular demographic, rather than recognizing the sub-cultural nuances within the group. Gen Z is a diverse and dynamic generation with varying interests, hobbies, and beliefs. Failing to recognize and cater to these differences can lead to ineffective marketing campaigns that miss the mark.
Additionally, brands often try to impose their own values on Gen Z, assuming that all members of this generation share the same beliefs and priorities. This can come off as inauthentic and disingenuous to a generation that values transparency and authenticity. Instead, brands should focus on representing what they care about authentically, net worth rather than trying to force a particular value set onto Gen Z.