Marketing to Gen Z: Strategies for 2023 Success

10 min

Gen Z is going to be big business for the next few years. Here’s why:

  1. Gen Z represents 20.57% of the US population. That’s roughly 68.6 million Americans and consumers.

  2. Gen Z shops on social media. Specifically, 83% of them shop via social media, either as an online store or as a referrer to an online store.

  3. 97% of Gen Z say social media is their preferred method of research for buying decisions.

As the first generation of true digital natives, Gen Z has its own rules for marketing to them. By understanding their values and how they engage with technology, it is possible to use effective strategies that will resonate with this new demographic like never before.

  1. Authenticity is at the forefront.

  2. Loyalty is highly valued.

  3. And a focus on social consciousness is one of the key traits of Generation Z.

Marketers must adapt in order to successfully target these consumers who are well versed in all things online.

In this article, we’ll show you what Gen Z values, how marketing is different for this generation, and give you some examples of how brands have successfully connected to millions of young people. Let’s get started!

Short Summary
  1. Gen Z (born 1997-2012) values loyalty, credibility and transparency. Marketers must understand their unique preferences to effectively engage them.

  2. Successful Gen Z marketing campaigns utilise an authentic approach that leverages influencers, social media platforms, user generated content & cause-marketing.

  3. Popular techniques include interactive experiences, personalization & leveraging pop culture, all of which build trust and create lasting loyalty.

What is Gen Z or Zoomers?

This cohort has grown up being surrounded by technology their whole lives, which has influenced both their preferences and desires when it comes to brands or products.

Definition of Gen Z

The Gen Z audience, also known as "Zoomers," comprises individuals born between 1997 and 2012 or in their mid-twenties and younger. This dynamic generation distinguishes itself from previous cohorts through their unique perspectives and behaviours. Growing up in an era defined by constant connectivity and rapid technological advancements, Gen Z's mindset has been shaped by their digital upbringing. This digital fluency influences their thoughts, actions, and consumer habits, making them a distinct and influential force in today's market.

Identifying Characteristics of Gen Z

Gen Z is an incredibly lucrative market with estimated buying power of over $140 billion. This generation can effortlessly move between the online and offline world while gathering all necessary data through research methods. Yet they are also widely known for having a short 8 second attention span, so effective marketing strategies must be implemented in order to captivate them quickly.

By delving deeper into GenZ's world, one thing is clear: they respond best when approached honestly & authentically. Offering relatable content alongside innovative technologies – such as AR/VR – is paramount today if you want to gain genuine engagement with this target audience. Don't forget about traditional methods either since more often than not they mix surprisingly well together. A creative Gen Z marketing strategy can design interesting campaigns able to unify diverse audiences around specific ideas.

To capture their interest, marketers must deliver concise and compelling messages, leverage immersive experiences, and align with their values of inclusivity, sustainability, and social responsibility.

Brief History and Context of Gen Z

Gen Z, otherwise known as the iGeneration is distinct from others since they were among the first to be exposed to digital technology at an age when online platforms are utilised for work-related tasks and socialising purposes.

Marketing strategies targeting Gen Z should concentrate heavily on exploiting user generated content, influencers, and leveraging social media marketing. These are all factors which this cohort considers before buying any product or service. Gen Z audiences also demand convenience provided when making purchases.

What are the values of Generation Z?

Generation Z stands out amongst the other generations when it comes to their values. They prioritise loyalty, credibility, inclusivity and transparency – values that are greatly influenced by families and influencers. This generation’s main motivator is truth-seeking behaviour, which sets them apart from others. To successfully capture Gen Z's attention on the market, brands must show a sincere dedication towards these principles while marketing specifically to them. A closer examination of Gen Z's leading core beliefs will help marketers make better connections with this demographic group when they are making purchasing decisions.

The Importance of Loyalty to Gen Z

Brands that focus on creating a strong sense of identity, responsibility and community with Gen Z will reap the rewards from this generation's high spending power. Offering customers an enjoyable loyalty program is key to developing relationships which are so important for Generation Zers when making brand decisions. Loyalty plays a major role in helping companies maintain a positive reputation among these young shoppers, who take their relationship with brands they identify as part of themselves seriously.

Making advertising or business decisions that are at odds with your brand's values or the Gen Z market can put off young consumers. So every decision must be weighed in terms of how the brand is currently perceived and whether this new direction will feel like a betrayal of the loyalty and trust that has been built up.

It is essential for businesses today to recognize how vital it is that trust be built between them and this influential age group by taking into consideration environmental sustainability matters alongside social values in order to gain real customer commitment over time, because investing now can prove lucrative benefits. Down the line!

Gen Z: Influencers Within Their Families

Gen Z's choices don't just end with their own buying decisions. They are also responsible for influencing the people around them. Studies show that 48% of all family purchases stem from what Gen Z needs, and another 36% have been swayed by this generation’s opinion in some capacity.

Marketers can take advantage of this situation through influencer marketing – targeted not only at GenZ but also to its families as well if it aligns correctly with brand values and target market demographics. Through working alongside influential figures who resonate effectively with the company's message, marketers can make a larger impact while increasing sales numbers too.

The Crucial Role of Credibility for Gen Z

Gen Z has a need for truthfulness and authenticity, so to earn their trust brands must display openness and responsibility. An example of this is Cocokind skincare, who released an overview of the racial background makeup of its staff in order to emphasise that they operate with integrity when it comes to delivering genuine content targeted at Gen-Z customers. Brands have recognised how important credibility is to Generation Z as consumers, making them more discerning than previous generations. Showcasing a brand’s values is more important than ever.

Additional Significant Values of Gen Z

Generation Z values loyalty, credibility and social consciousness. They prefer companies that are honest and direct in their communications, provide meaningful work experiences with opportunities for growth and stability while having an inclusive culture. They prioritise environmental awareness as well as self-care, which has been made easier by advances in technology. Brands seeking to earn money. Gen Z’s trust must align themselves with these values. When done authentically, a strong bond is created between them, resulting in lasting loyalty from this generation.

How are they different (in marketing) than other generations?

Gen Z is the very first generation to grow up surrounded by digital technology. On average, they spend four hours per day on social media, which leads them to be more aware when they are the targets of digital marketing. Brands are having a shift in their marketing strategies with an emphasis on authenticity and user-generated content so that they can connect better with Gen Z's audience. To contrast other generations from this one, there needs to be different approaches when it comes down to marketing to gen z specifically as opposed to just generalised 'marketing' or even generic 'generation' based advertising efforts.

Contrasting Gen Z and Gen X in the Marketing Context

When comparing Gen Z to Gen X (those born between 1965-1980), it is essential to recognize the diverging inclinations they have towards loyalty schemes and their commitment in regards to how authentic as well as up-to-date marketing campaigns are. Members of Generation X tend more strongly toward being faithful customers who support brands they’ve been with for a considerable time frame, making them likely beneficiaries of reward programmes.

In contrast though, those belonging to Generation Z care most about brand authenticity and staying on top of current market trends. They value organisations that act upon their values while swiftly altering tactics according to fast-moving markets.

Millennials, born between 1981 and 1996, are somewhere in between these two generations. They need their own marketing strategy, but some of the strategies for both Gen X and Gen Z will work.

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How Baby Boomers Differ from Gen Z in Marketing Aspects

Marketers have to adjust their tactics in order to reach both Baby Boomers (1955-1964) and Gen Z. For instance, while the former prefer traditional media outlets such as radio or television for advertising, marketers need to take advantage of digital channels and every social media platform with interactive content when connecting with the latter group. It is important that marketing strategies still maintain a presence on TV commercials or newspaper ads so they can also connect effectively with Baby Boomers.

How to market to Gen Z?

Marketers need to take a comprehensive approach when it comes to reaching out and connecting with Gen Z. It requires combining social media outlets such as Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok as well as involving influencers in their strategy. They must strive for openness plus authenticity in order to appeal fully to this generation's preferences regarding brand loyalty and transparency. Plus creating user-generated content containing both socially and environmentally friendly initiatives is another way marketers can draw attention. Convenience & speed should be taken into account by leveraging interactive collaborative techniques tailored specifically towards attracting the gen z crowd while being mobile-friendly at all times.

An example Instagram post to market Gen Z audience.

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3 best Gen Z marketing campaigns

Analysing the most successful Gen Z marketing campaigns, brands can get an idea of how to best appeal to this age group. Strategies like emphasising core values, utilising social influencers and devising engaging content are integral for successfully reaching out to Generation Z with their message.

TikTok Campaigns: Harnessing Virality and User Participation

Brands have the potential to effectively connect with Gen Z through viral campaigns on TikTok. Examples of this are Chipotle’s #GuacDance challenge, Nike's #DreamCrazier initiative and the widely known #Don'tRush Challenge – all successful strategies that show how user-generated content has been utilised in a creative manner by brands targeting Generation Z.

Gen Z Focused Cause-Marketing: Case Study of Patagonia's Environmental Advocacy

Patagonia's gen z marketing campaign has been successful, as the company highlights the importance of incorporating social and environmental awareness into its strategies. Gen Z admire brands which share their desire to make a difference in our world. Thus, Patagonia’s commitment towards protecting nature and advocating for sustainability is resonating with them.

Gen Z marketing campaign example of Patagonia

Leveraging Pop Culture: Fortnite's In-Game Concerts and Events

Brands are turning to pop culture in order to engage Gen Z by creating interactive experiences. For instance, Fortnite is a perfect example of this marketing strategy as they have hosted several live concerts and events within the game featuring popular artists such as Marshmello, Travis Scott and Diplo, which has drawn millions of players from the generation. It provides an immersive experience for brands that helps foster lasting connections with their young audiences while building loyalty over time.

Fortnite is a perfect example for Gen Z marketing strategy.

Additional Successful Gen Z Marketing Campaigns

Marketing strategies that connect to Gen Z have achieved success, including ESPN's That's So Raven TikTok campaign, Fenty Beauty utilizing the #TheNextFentyFace hashtag and Lululemon tapping into their ambassadors and micro-influencers on Instagram.

Connecting with this influential generation requires content tailored for them - authentic, fun yet aligned with what matters to them. This is why these successful marketing campaigns targeted towards Generation Z are noteworthy examples of how to market effectively in today's landscape.



Brands looking to capture the attention of Gen Z should understand their values, likes and unique qualities. Utilising social media, influencers and content created by users coupled with honest marketing tactics will allow for a long-lasting bond between this digital native demographic and those marketers willing enough to adjust accordingly in order to reap the benefits that come from connecting with such an important generation.


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Author of the article


Senior PPC Expert

Roland is the youngest on the team, but ... don't let his age fool anyone. He’s as tenacious as they come and would never turn down a PPC challenge. If there’s a fix he’ll find it. If there’s a better way, he’ll reveal it. But not just for PPC

A real ‘T-Shaped Marketer’ Roland’s skilled at digital dot-joining across PPC, SEO, CRO, WordPress, or Measurement.

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