How to Market to Gen Z

Marketing to Gen Z: The Digital Natives

By Megan CombsDec 23 /2021

In a time where any given employer could have four generations of people representing their workforce, marketers are also struggling to appeal to each generation with their marketing strategies. In this four-part series, we break down the characteristics of each generation — Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millennials and Gen Z — and discuss their values, buying habits and what not to say in your marketing.

This blog in the series will focus on marketing to Gen Z.

Who is Generation Z?

Gen Z encapsulates those born roughly between 1995 and 2010. They are the first generation of digital natives — meaning they’ve never known life without the internet. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Gen Z is expected to make up 30% of the U.S. workforce by 2030. Made up of around 68 million people, Gen Z is also the most racially and ethnically diverse generation, clocking in at 52% non-Hispanic whites, according to the Pew Research Center.

What is Generation Z Known For?

Members of Gen Z buck trends and set trends in their own way — most notably their disruption of traditional gender norms. Generation Z gravitates toward gender inclusivity and unisex options. In fact, 77% feel more positive toward brands that promote gender equality on social media.

Some brands have already reacted to this, such as Procter & Gamble. The company removed the Venus symbol (the traditional symbol for the female sex) from its Always line of hygiene products in an effort to be more inclusive for nonbinary and transgender customers.

Generation Z also values individual expression, self-love and authenticity. They don’t respond well to brands that say they value diversity but don’t actually show it. According to research, 7 out of 10 Gen Zers say it is important to defend causes related to identity. They are more interested than previous generations were in human rights, especially in matters related to race and ethnicity, in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues, and in feminism.

Marketing to Gen Z

Generation Z gravitates toward omnichannel marketing and sales — as digital natives, they expect to be able to consume products and services at any time in any place. 55% of Gen Z use their smartphones for five or more hours a day, and 26% use them for more than 10 hours per day, according to the Pew Research Center.

They are pragmatic and analytical about their purchasing decisions and prefer to buy from companies they consider ethical. The people born into Gen Z also trust a recommendation from friends more than any other review — in other words, word-of-mouth marketing.

Gen Z Marketing Dos:

  • Highlight individuality in the use of a product or service
  • Present products as neither male or female
  • Take a stand and make sure your company ideals permeate the entire stakeholder system, not just meaningless social media posts
  • Prove your sustainability efforts
  • Include more diversity in advertisements
  • Embrace social channels, especially Instagram and YouTube
  • Harness the power of influencers
  • Create short-form video content


Gen Z Marketing Don’ts:

  • Inundate them with blatant ads — they find them disruptive
  • Use their data in ways that aren’t disclosed in a very straightforward manner
  • Force diversity in marketing efforts if you don’t also embrace it within your company
  • Use labels that aren’t inclusive
  • Avoid taking a stand to avoid controversy
  • Be afraid to showcase your sense of humor

Marketing to Different Generations

Inclusivity in marketing doesn’t stop at what a person looks like. You have to consider their whole identity, what makes them tick and what influences their purchasing behaviors. The things that resonate with the Millenials may not move the needle for the younger people of Gen Z.

Check out the other blogs in this series:

Marketing to Baby Boomers
Marketing to Gen X
Marketing to Millennials

Not sure how to parse the generations that make up your buyer personas? Kuno Creative has a team of experts ready to help segment your audience and boost your bottom line.

5 Secrets Revealed

Megan Combs
The Author

Megan Combs

Megan provides copyediting and macro editing recommendations across Kuno. Previously, she was a top content marketer at Vendome Healthcare Media, where she helped clients translate their brand promises into strategic digital and social media messages. She also served as a content creator and editor at AOL’s