Gen Z: Our Next Consumer | SMH Branding

It’s time for change.

You may be asking: who is Generation Z and what makes them so different from Millennials? While Millennials currently receive the lion’s share of business’ attention, there’s a new kid on the block.

Just when marketers thought they had Millennials figured out, Generation Z enters the picture.  And you’d be a fool to ignore them.

But who are the generation after Millennials, and how can you tailor your marketing efforts to reach them? Unfortunately, if you think that it’s going to be any easier marketing to Generation Z than it was to Millennials, you have a lot in store.

Let's start with one statistic: Generation Z will have $44 billion in buying power. 

And no, that's not a typo. That's 44 billion dollars with a B

On top of that, Gen Z makes up 27 percent of the U.S. population.

With that many people and that much money being spent, you'll want to get a head start on marketing to Generation Z. But, just as much, you can't abandon your customers from previous generations just to sell to Generation Z.

They also want your products and services to provide value to them and meet their needs. If you try to sell something to Gen-Zers for the sake of making a sale, you just won't make it. Period. Here are some tips below you could use to market to a Gen-Zers:

Not Easily Manipulated 

Say goodbye to paid actors in your commercials. 

In all seriousness, Gen-Zers want to see real, relatable people in marketing campaigns. The people in your ads need to share the same struggles or have the same beliefs as your Generation Z audience.

They Do Research

Generation Z do their homework and are exceptionally media savvy, able to see through inauthentic corporate messaging or advertising that appears too glossy and perfect. This will present a challenge to marketers who rely on images of perfection to sell products—as this generation embraces individualism and quirks, so should your advertising.

They Communicate

Whereas Millennials want to communicate with brands, Gen Z expects a one-on-one dialogue with a brand that goes beyond the traditional confines of social media. Gen Z has highly tuned radar for being sold to, as well as a limited amount of time and energy for determining whether something is worth their time. 

They Want To Hear the Story

They want companies to help them solve problems or build their own story. Explain to your Gen Z customers how your product or service can help them. Make your sales pitch relevant and easy to understand.

Researchers found that 55% of Gen Zs are captivated by and will stop and watch an ad if has an element of humor, 45% will pay attention if it has great music, and 33% will value an ad if it’s inspiring.

It seems that Gen Z inherits its love of good storytelling from the Millennials, with 67% of respondents saying that they are more interested in narratives and content with relatable and realistic endings. 

They Use Social Media

Unlike Millennials, Generation Z has had quick, easy access to the Internet and social media for most of their lives. Because of that, they rely on social media for a number of reasons, so much that they check their accounts at least hourly.

Gen Z is also more likely to visit YouTube than any other social site, with 85% declaring their preference for it; 40% also say that they would prefer interacting with their favorite brands on YouTube than any other platform.

They Do Research

Their  path to purchase often begins with the brand’s own website. 

Remember how popular TOMS shoes were with Millennials? In case you're unfamiliar, the company provided a pair of shoes to those in need for every pair of shoes purchased from them.

Millennials loved TOMS because not only were their shoes were popular, but they stood for a great cause.

It's not much different with Generation Z. In fact, Gen-Zers want to positively change the world through their work, so they want to shop brands that can do the same.

As the consummate information seekers, Gen Z kids research products on their own before making a purchase and are extremely value- oriented—according to a survey of 1,000 teens, 79% said they researched online to get the best deal. 

Love Diversity

This generation is the first to grow up with an African-American president and is the most racially and ethnically diverse in American history.

It makes sense that a generation that’s the most ethnically and racially diverse in American history, and the most photographed—thanks to social media and selfies—Generation Z would redefine the definition of beauty.

Do Not Expect Perfection

And if you’re continuing with your carefully curated, staged images on Instagram, then think again. While millennials bought into the perfectly placed lattes and poses by aesthetically-pleasing walls, Gen Z are ditching brands that showcase this in favour of a more unfiltered, messier approach.

Gen Z teens are embracing differences and quirks and rejecting long-established beauty standards. This open-minded attitude allows teens to take a more playful approach to hair and makeup. Today, anything goes...pastel hair, glittery eyeshadow, or an ombre lip!

One brand using micro-influencers on social, is e.l.f. Cosmetics through their Beautyscape campaign. These events enable influencers to meet with each other, try out the latest products and learn new beauty techniques, which they share with their followers on Instagram, of course.

They Follow Beauty Trends Early

In addition they’re experimenting at an earlier age. Researchers found that girls as young as 8-12 use an average of 4.5 beauty products, typically lip balm, fragrance, and nail polish, and go for professional beauty services such as nail art. For this digital-first generation, it’s only natural to turn to online sources like YouTube to learn how to apply makeup and style their hair. Social media influencers and YouTube tutorials have upped Gen Z’s beauty IQ and contributed to their chameleon-like approach to changing looks to suit moods or occasions.

Excited to Try New Things

Generation Z is excited about trying new products, brands, and application methods, so innovation and a constant flow of new ideas and approaches to beauty will be key to keeping their attention.

Tips for marketing to Gen Z:

Generation Z redefines savvy. They’re unrelenting researchers, discriminating consumers, value oriented, and socially aware. To remain competitive, brands will have to take a fresh approach to their marketing. Among Women’s Marketing’s top insights to reach Generation Z:


• Communicate through bold, interactive visual content
• Interact with them across multiple platforms
• Engage in two-way dialogue
• Inspire them through causes they care about
• Represent their diversity

Boost brand loyalty by marketing to Gen Z

While millennials and Generation Z might seem similar, if you scratch the surface, and you’ll see there is more than what meets the eye.

If your target market includes the younger of the two generations, then by tweaking your digital marketing strategy to incorporate the tips above, you can boost brand trust and loyalty with your Gen Z audience.

Do you need our help?

At SMH Branding, we excel at growing incredible beauty brands, from idea to launch, across every product type. With deep consumer and industry insight, we build smart media and business strategies that help brands thrive. Reach out and shine with us today. Take our masterclass for a step by step guide to build your own beauty brand. 

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