Rule #1: Don’t be creepy. Gen Z is sick and tired of being exploited by cheap tricks. “Sex sells” is an old way of thinking. Today, it is just manipulative and everyone knows it. You will not be rewarded for your efforts to use it. These days, authenticity sells. Young people have had enough of transparent fakery. They are not stupid and they have access to the kind of information at the fingertips that once required expensive, private investigators. Lie to them and they will find you out, expose you, and burn your business to the ground on social media.
You already know what this is like if you have made a few marketing missteps along the way. It doesn’t have to be the end of your business. The first thing you need to do is secure extra finances so that you can market your way out of the hole in which you find yourself. Resources like a Western Shamrock loan can help you even if you have made a few mistakes and have less than perfect credit. Once you weather the initial financial storm, you will be ready to implement more effective marketing strategies that will reach a younger demographic. Some of those strategies will include the following:
Go Where Your Market Is and Be Where They’re Going
Young people aren’t listening to terrestrial radio or watching traditional broadcast television. There is only a handful of waking hours in a day when young people can stare at screens. A large percentage of that time is spent on the second wave of social media. If you don’t have an effective TikTok marketing strategy, you are not reaching the younger generation.
It is not enough to figure out where your market is, you also have to skate to where the puck is going to be. Do you know where the youth market is likely to be next? If not, call a meeting today and start working with your marketing team to figure it out. Facebook is convinced that they are headed to the metaverse. Apple is also preparing a big bet on virtual and augmented reality. Mass market appeal is still a few years off. But that means now is the time to get a foothold early.
Young people live in apps. That means you need to be where those apps can be found. Apple is gambling a lot on inserting more ads in their App Store and other products. All the platforms including Windows, are moving to more ads in more places. That means that you will have more opportunities to share your brand and message to a wider audience both where they are and where they are going to be.
Care About What They Care About
You not only have to be where they are with your message, you have to be where they are with their message. We haven’t seen this much youth engagement with the body politic since the 60s. Young people care about things again. That is good for the world and it is good for your marketing efforts. You have to care about what they care about if you want them to be enthusiastic about your brand.
It can’t be a mere surface gloss. Remember, they can see right through you. Lean into issues that businesses have traditionally left untouched. You can’t be that risk averse anymore. You have to be willing to take a position on challenging issues about which your market deeply cares. Stand with them and they will stand with you.
Support Your Market
You can’t just treat the younger generation as a new frontier to exploit. You have to be willing to support the future success of your market so that they will be able to support your business. Be a part of scholarship programs. Sponsor tuition to trade schools. Offer apprentice programs. Help today’s young customers become tomorrow’s titans of industry. If you are only serving the people who are already successful, you will miss out on the next wave of successful people. If you want them to remember you when their success is in full flower, you have to help them tend their garden of potential.
Gen Z is tough, cynical, and well-informed. They care deeply and are willing to push hard for what they want. Tap into that market by being where they are and where they’re going. Care about what they care about. And support their present so they can support your future.