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Marketing Insights

10 Ways Brands Can Boost Their Gen Z Marketing

Harry Suresh

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A slew of recently published studies shed light on how brands can reach out to Gen Z consumers (typically defined as individuals born after 1995). In particular, the findings provide key insights on Gen Z’s spending and shopping habits, their brand loyalties and engagement, and the best marketing strategies to reach them.

Although Gen Z consumers don’t have as high of a spending budget yet as the generations before them, they still have $44 billion in buying power and are the largest generational cohort in the US coming in at over 60 million individuals. This latter key stat has brands and marketers scrambling to capitalize on their buying for years to come by building brand awareness now — 59 percent of Gen Z consumers said they trust brands they grew up with. But as the newest and least studied generation, brands all too often misunderstand the Gen Z market and don’t know how to effectively advertise their products to them.

Here are 10 ways brands can boost their Gen Z marketing, according to recent studies:

1. Gen Z values price and quality over brand name

A study last week by advertising agency Saatchi New York found that Gen Z cares little about traditional brand names or cleverly-branded names, for that matter. Rather, Gen Z covets high-quality products and brand authenticity. The Saatchi study further states that Gen Z consumers tend to be very skeptical of brand imaging. A similar IBM study found that over 50 percent of Gen Z-ers are willing to switch brand loyalty if a product is not up to snuff. Instead of manufacturing a perfect brand image, marketers should push more personalized and purpose-driven marketing at Gen Z-ers.

2. Gen Z consumers are less price conscious than Millennials and more willing to buy luxury brands

Echoing the finding from above, Gen Z shoppers highly value quality products and are willing to spend the extra cash in return for better quality. Unlike millennials, Gen Z is more and more frequently ditching discount stores like Ross, Rainbow, and Burlington for more traditional, luxury brands and upscale retailers like Vans, The North Face, and Ugg; according to a report from InMarket. And Gen Z consumers are less likely than both millennials and baby boomers to compare prices while shopping, according to Euclid Analytics.

3. Gen Z, surprisingly, love Brick-and-Mortar stores

Gen Z-ers have never known a world without cellphones or the internet, but, despite this, the group highly values shopping in person rather than online. The case is especially true when it comes to clothing, shoes, accessories, and makeup. According to the IBM report, 67 percent of Gen Z respondents shop in physical stores “most of the time,” and another 31 percent shopping at brick-and-mortar stores “sometimes”.

4. Gen Z is the mobile generation and mobile video is the best way to reach them

Just because Gen Z-ers don’t do most of their shopping online, it doesn’t mean that the internet and their mobile phone don’t play a huge role, especially in regards to video. In fact, 71 percent of Gen Z consumers say they use their cellphone to watch mobile video daily, compared to 51 percent who watch video on their TV daily and only 45 percent who watch video on their computer daily, according to a report from the ad firm Sharethrough. And since Gen Z’s mobile phones are their primary means of video consumption, it is important for brands to incorporate mobile video into their marketing strategies if they intend to win over Gen Z consumers.

And since Gen Z’s mobile phones are their primary means of video consumption, it is important for brands to incorporate mobile video into their marketing schemes if they intend to win over Gen Z consumers. According to Sharethrough’s findings, Gen Z-ers favored mobile videos that allow them to preview the video silently in-feed before viewing it and while reading the headline and description. The study also found that the headline and first three seconds of the video has a large impact on if Gen Z consumers will watch a mobile video. Marketers and brands should be wary of using ads that try to control Gen Z web behavior or disrupt their user-experience — 56 percent of respondents said these are the main reasons they use ad blockers.

5. Social media influences Gen Z’s shopping habits

In addition to reaching Gen Z through mobile video, brands should devote significant resources to drawing them in through social media as well — over 80 percent of Gen Z-ers say that social media influences their purchases compared to 74 percent of millennials, according to research done by Yes Lifecycle Marketing. Apps like Instagram (44%), Youtube (32%), and Snapchat (%21) are some of the biggest drivers in Gen Z purchasing decisions.

6. Gen Z are well-informed shoppers

When a Gen Z shopper walks into a store, they already know what they are looking for — or at least a staggering 98 percent of them do, according to the IBM report. On top of this, Gen Z-ers are more likely than any other generation to ask for help or seek advice from a store associate and they expect these associates to be as informed as they are on the store’s products and services. Companies like Apple and Best Buy excel at giving customers the online information they need as well as an in-store experience to match.

7. Meaningful engagement is the best way to reach Gen Zers

Gone are the days of traditional, straightforward product marketing. Now, brands are having to lead a full-fledged marketing campaign that not only advertises its product but inspires and draws the ever skeptical newer generations in. For Gen Z, this is especially true. Gen Z shoppers look for relevance and authenticity rather than a manufactured image. If they don’t get that, then their brand loyalty will go elsewhere. Influencer advertising on Instagram and Youtube is a great way of achieving this — if the influencer is trusted and transparent, that is.

8. Gen Z are more likely to participate in loyalty programs and product reviews

Although not as high as Millennials (71%), most Gen Z consumers (63%) participate in at least one loyalty program and the majority of both (64%) “could be persuaded to shop with a brand if they have a loyalty program,” according to firm CrowdTwist. In particular, Gen Z-ers prefer to play games and write product reviews to gain loyalty points.

9. Gen Z consumers seek a personalized shopping experience

One thing that both millennials and Gen Z share in common — 75 percent, according to CrowdTwist — are their willingness to give over personal information to companies if it means a more personalized shopping experience. Even more, Gen Z-ers expect brands to know and appreciate them just as much as they know and appreciate the brand.

10. Gen Z wants to make a difference if they can

Not only do Gen Z consumers expect a shopping experience tailored to their personality, they also want their brands to be socially conscious. According to the Saatchi New York report mentioned above, Gen Z-ers are even more likely than millennials to give their money to companies who do good in the world — “79 percent said they would engage with a brand that could help them make a difference.”

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Bitcoin, Litecoin & Ethereum prices slumps after report China to ban crypto-currency exchanges

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Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrency prices fell sharply on Friday after a report from local news media Caixin, WallStreetCN and JRJ said China is planning to shut local cryptocurrency exchanges.

According to the China Securities Journal, Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrency trading platforms have become “illegal economic activities, money laundering, and bankers manipulate the price of loser retail channel, should be banned as soon as possible” – (unedited machine-translation).

However, after our careful investigation, and no official confirmation from Chinese authorities, we were unable to confirm whether these claims were true or false.

As reported by Reuters earlier today, Bitcoin dropped to a low of $4,227 BTC=BTSP on the BitStamp platform and last traded at $4,334.97, down 6.1 percent.
Bitcoin hit a record high of nearly $5,000 on Sept. 2.

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Amazon develops new AI that can predict the latest fashion trends

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Amazon has developed a new AI system that will allow it to predict and potentially help shape the latest trends in fashion.

The machine learning system, built by Amazon’s developers, will analyze social media posts and the limited information they offer — like clothing tags or labels — to determine what is fashionable or soon to be in style.

After obtaining the data and analysis, Amazon’s AI fashion designer would theoretically be able to push more fashionable clothing brands to the front of its gigantic e-commerce marketplace — a progression that might force brands to constantly stay up-to-date with trends so not to be left behind.

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And the move makes sense for the online retail behemoth. In the past couple years, Amazon launched its own in-house clothing line, and Prime Wardrobe, which lets customers ship a box of apparel to their home to try on before purchasing, all in the attempt to personalize the online clothes shopping experience as much as possible. Amazon also built Echo Look, an in-home Alexa-powered device that can take pictures of consumers and then offer real-time fashion advice. Amazon teams are also working on an artificial intelligence that can learn about style by looking at images and then come up with similar styles itself from scratch.

Amazon isn’t the only one developing fashion AI systems that can predict style trends. Researchers at the National University of Taiwan built an artificial intelligence system that can comb through images and accurately identify and classify styles and then foresee what will be fashionable in the season to come.

But as it stands, Amazon’s new host of fashion AI systems could pose serious repercussions for the fashion industry and offer it a potent advantage to traditional department stores and clothing lines. Amazon is currently on pace to pass Macy’s as the largest clothes retailer in America this year.

Many forward-looking brands understand this and are already innovating their apparel line to anticipate fashion trends using the likes of Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook. From the current view of the future, brands and clothing retailers will need to understand and forecast trends to keep up in the ultra-competitive marketplace that is appreciating technological innovation more and more each year as shoppers continue to shift to buying from online stores.

It’s not clear as yet though, if Amazon’s game-changing AI will eventually be available for brands to use in order to help follow and predict fashion trends.

All of these potentially groundbreaking innovations were discussed and revealed at an Amazon hosted a workshop with both industry leaders and academic professors. As for the Amazon’s machine-powered fashion AI’s ability to predict trends anytime in the near future, the academic researchers surveyed by MIT Technology Review are skeptical. The researchers believe that human clothing designers should still handle the bulk of the responsibility, albeit aided and assisted by the rapidly advancing fashion AI when needed.

For consumers, this seems to be yet another step closer to what looks like an inevitability — bringing a highly-personalized shopping experience to the living room. And for brands that can’t keep up with these innovation and technological advances, they will surely suffer in the retail marketplace.

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Artificial Intelligence’s impact on the future of digital marketing

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Artificial Intelligence's impact on the future of digital marketing

The heart of digital marketing lies in managing different forms of online company presence – this can be achieved by reaching out to the target customers via the digital space, such as online advertising and social media marketing.  Nevertheless, technological innovation today changes so rapidly that many companies are struggling to keep up.

AI is becoming increasingly dominant

To stay ahead of the game, companies integrate modern technologies with traditional marketing techniques to create innovative marketing solutions. The doom of the high-street shops is nigh as digital marketing becomes increasingly dominant. The VR, Augmented Reality and Artificial Intelligence hold the key to the future of digital marketing.

It is apparent that today customers do not just want products, they want experiences. Unlike the past, Customer Experience Management (CEM) systems are replacing the Customer Relationship Management (CRM). To offer a fresh and unique experience to customers, many companies have begun using artificial intelligence and virtual reality as part of their marketing strategies.

A prime example is “Coca Cola’s Santa’s Virtual Reality Sleigh Ride”. This marketing campaign gave the people in Milton Keynes (UK) a chance to be Santa for a day, flying on a sleigh in an immersive experience. By using the VR experience, Coca-Cola has effectively established a strong connection between the brand and the joy of Christmas. We can only expect even more sophisticated, VR-based marketing campaigns in 2017’s Christmas.

A wonderful experience such as this last longer in the mind of customers, thus, ensuring Coca-Cola’s sustainable growth despite the changing business environment; this is especially true for the millennials and  younger generations who will purchase a can of Coca-Cola because of the positive connection they had with the brand. Currently, there are around 43 million users worldwide. As this technology continues to develop, it is estimated that the number of users will reach 171 million by 2018.

In March 2016, artificial intelligence’s greatest achievement went down in history when Google’s Deepmind’s AlphaGo beat a Go professional player, Lee Sedol in the game of Go. Nevertheless, it should be acknowledged that the game of Go has long been very challenging for artificial intelligence due to the boundless possible ways to play the game – the number of possible positions made up of more than the number of atoms in the universes.

Artificial Intelligence’s impact on the marketing industry

Thanks to the new machine learning algorithm, the technology has continuously improved itself at an exponential rate, continuing to shape our world beyond our imagination. For instance, the new Samsung refrigerator can track what groceries you buy at your local supermarket; it places an order on your behalf just before your food hit the expiry date. Amazon’s “Anticipatory Shipping” also integrated AI tech to help determine when to relocate products to its nearest fulfilment center, making it available before you click the “Buy it now” button.

Given the development of this technology, many marketers today work alongside artificial intelligence to deliver effective and impactful customised ads across the digital channels. Some may argue that artificial intelligence may make marketer job obsolete, but this is not the case. As marketing is about connecting with the customers emotionally to implant a lasting memory within the mind, thus, it will require the human intellect to come up with creative campaigns – AI tech will make this job easier.

In the future, Data and information will be more important than ever. Those with access to new technologies will have the upper hand in the digital marketing realm: the smarter the machine learning capabilities, the better the data, thus, the more effective the execution of the marketing campaigns.

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