Promotional products for the tech-savvy Gen Z

Published: 05 / 02 / 2019

Move over millennials, now there’s a new, even more influential and tech-savvy group to focus your marketing efforts on. Born between 1996 and 2010, Generation Z – the youngest generation with a label – is now coming of age.

With a potential annual purchasing power of £34 billion, not to mention their influence on family purchases, Gen Z-ers are a golden opportunity for marketing professionals. Surely the same marketing and promotional initiatives used to win over millennials will work on Gen Z-ers too? Not necessarily.

Where millennials prefer the personal approach, Gen Z-ers expect it. Marketing professionals can anticipate greater demand for customised product presentations, branded items built-from-scratch and ‘rapid import’ overseas custom products.

Finely tuned to corporate responsibility, social justice and the environment, Gen Z-ers also expect brands to demonstrate their ethical operations and willingness to give back to the community via social media, blogs, video and other channels.

Though the internet and mobile devices are integral to the lives of millennials, Gen Z have known nothing else. According to research by the National Retail Federation and IBM’s Institute for Business Value, 74% of Gen Z-ers spend their free time online. They choose text and email over phone calls and do not respond at all to hard sell or spam marketing tactics.

Video has a particular draw for these digital natives, making it key to any campaign. A study by entertainment company AwesomenessTV revealed that Gen Z-ers watch as many as 68 videos a day, with Snapchat and YouTube proving to be the preferred viewing channels.

Influencer and social media marketing are the two most effective strategies for building engagement with Gen Z. Influencers, with their reach and perceived authenticity, are extremely credible in Gen Z circles. One Instagrammer or YouTuber wearing a branded T-shirt, for example, can do wonders for a brand’s image.

Equally, distributors can add value to their offering by advising clients on Gen Z-specific programmes including branded merchandise and giveaways.

Just like millennials, Gen Z-ers are often seen as lazy and indulgent. However, research suggests they’re highly driven and even entrepreneurial. A study by the Harvard Business Review found that 70% of teens are self-employed, taking part in everything from eBay sales to teaching piano. As a result, distributors should be prepared to work with them to produce branded merchandise, for example.

Branded experiences are everything to Gen Z-ers. Therefore, it’s important that promotional professionals create unique experiences with relevant branded products. In collaboration with online used car dealer Carvana, experiences company Boundless installed a branded toy car vending machine at the 2017 SXSW, much to the delight of festivalgoers. By inviting visitors to shake the machine to receive a replica car, the experience could be videoed, and subsequently shared on social media. This blend of real-world experience, branded items and digital promotion is a sure-fire way to connect a Gen Z audience with your brand.

Gen Z-ers are a complex bunch – connected and savvy, yet anxious and isolated. There is much about this generation that marketers are yet to understand. However, armed with a little insight, the potential returns from this audience are huge. From customised packaging and interactive products to VR and socially responsible products, the key to successful marketing lies in transforming the ordinary into something truly extraordinary.

Contact Adare International today and discover how you can create promotional products that make Gen Z look up from their screens and take notice: hello@adareinternational.com.

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