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How Brands Can Rethink the Way They Market to Gen Z

Gen Z feels under-resourced even with the amount of information available to them with Google & social media. Here’s how brands can adapt and educate this new generation through their marketing. Read on to find out how brands can rethink the way they market to Gen Z. Download this article here.

gen z

We’ve discussed that Gen Z appreciates a flexible, collaborative work environment.

Tools should be accessible and efficient, with a seamless user experience.

Today we’re going to talk about how Gen Z feels under-resourced in the way they learn. There’s no proven vetting process on Google, and young people don’t always know where to turn to get the information they crave.

Brands, take note—this piece will outline key strategies for reaching a Gen Z audience including ways to market to Gen Z. Using the insights we’ve gleaned from our own research, onomy will describe why Gen Z expects more and highlight what you can do to give them more.

Understanding a Gen Z Audience

Born after 1997, Gen Z grew up immersed in tech. As a result, they expect to have the resources they need to succeed pretty much on-demand. 

Yet this isn’t always the case online. Trusted information can be tough to come by. But after watching their Millennial counterparts struggle in the wake of the Great Recession, Gen Z has understandably high expectations. 

To understand the reasons for this, consider the following traits of these digital natives:

Gen Z Audience Traits


We mentioned the Great Recession above. Gen Z also grew up post-9/11. These experiences from the aughts have made them more skeptical and a lot harder to sell to than earlier generations.


Gen Z is private and likes to learn independently. This makes them more likely to focus on online or even bite-size learning—in large part so they can go at their own pace and keep their privacy in check.


Gen Z generally want their own space to work and learn. That said, they’re still open to collaborating on-demand. Brands should be aware of this while strategizing to reach a younger audience.

With these insights in mind, it might not come as a surprise that Gen Z checks their email less frequently than their Millennial predecessors. They’re less likely to rely on a single content format like online articles (it’s no secret Gen Z watches a ton of videos), and they want brands to be realistic—not idealistic.

We’ll get to all of this shortly.

How Gen Z Learns on Social Media

Gen Z wants digital learning tools to be integrated into their online experience. They’re self-reliant and expect brands to deliver. 

What does this mean? While Millennials valued polished, curated content, Gen Z wants the good, the bad, and the ugly. Younger consumers also expect a focus on diversity and inclusion, with plenty of behind-the-scenes information so they can confirm everything checks out. Honesty and trust are integral. 

Here’s an example:
While looking at colleges, Gen Z is largely focused on diversity. Rather than making empty promises on how diverse your institution is, you can turn to social media to let people of color, members of the LGBTQ community, and other marginalized voices speak their truth directly.

The takeaway? Gen Z doesn’t want to learn from a brochure or an email. They want video showcasing what’s really going on—available in real time. 

44% of Gen Z using social media on an hourly basis, it makes sense that they expect brands to keep up. While older Millennials might google lists and online reviews, Gen Z is more interested in social media comments and organic video content so they can see firsthand what’s going on. 

Gen Z is on Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube with their eyes wide open. They use social media to sign petitions, make donations, and learn more about opportunities in their own communities. Social platforms are educating this generation on causes they care about. 

Brands that aren’t participating should reconsider their approach. Because Gen Z feels under-resourced—and they’re waiting.

How Brands Can Establish a Gen Z Marketing Strategy 

onomy can help you refine your strategy for reaching an underwhelmed Gen Z audience. 

Tips to Better Educatte Gen Z Consumers

Offer more video content

recent IRI study found that women in the U.S. between the ages of 17 and 23 use TikTok videos as their main way to learn about new products. The hashtag #tiktokmademebuyit has over 1.5 billion views on the platform, while the hashtag #amazonfinds boasts over 6.7 billion views. 

Partnering with influencers and employees can go a long way in putting out the video content Gen Z craves. Don’t overlook this vital way to reach a young audience. Gen Z might just by your product right from their For You Page (FYP). 

Deliver a personalized service

Gen Z values experimentation and discovery in the way they shop. They’re less loyal to brands than older consumers, and they’re always looking for products they didn’t know they needed. Rather than making a hard sell, brands need to showcase
how their products will improve the consumer’s lifestyle.

Deep personalization is key here. Gen Z wants to customize and even influence the products and services they rely on. Brands who want to reach this audience should engage with young consumers and give them a chance to contribute in the future.

Be transparent

To build a lasting relationship with a Gen Z audience, brands need to be transparent and open. Because while this generation won’t hesitate to boycott brands over false advertising or ethical problems, they also recognize that brands aren’t perfect. This means that companies need to build credibility and trust.

Essentially, Gen Z wants to know exactly what’s going on behind the scenes. In fact,
58% of both Millennials and Gen Z claim they would trust a brand more if they shared challenges or works-in-progress in addition to all their wins.

Ultimately, Gen Z seeks honesty—which is exactly what makes providing the right resources so crucial. 

Connect with onomy Today 

Gen Z learns from trusted interpersonal connections. They like bite-sized resources and value the relationships people can cultivate on social media. To elevate your understanding of how to reach a Gen Z audience, contact onomy. We’re all set to deliver answers in the sea of knowledge shared on social. 

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