Your Guide to Marketing to Gen Z

generation z

For several years, it seems like we’ve all been constantly analyzing the personalities and buying behaviors of Millennials, the generation born between the early 1980s and the mid -1990s. Sometimes it feels like the topic has been so exhausted that all we’re left with is a bunch of unfair generalizations and clichés. It’s tiring, but don’t lose focus! There’s a lot to be learned from studying generations.

generation z

Enter Generation Z

Let’s turn our attention to the next big buying population: Generation Z. They are the post-Millennial generation born during or after 1995 and will constitute 40% of U.S. consumers by 2020. The oldest members of the group are only recently out of high school, but they are about to be our customers and employees and we need to start reaching them.

Good news! Early research indicates that promotional products are uniquely suited to connect with Gen Z buyers. Here’s why:

Promotional products break through the “ad blindness”.

As a recent Forbes article points out, modern consumers are so used to seeing messages on their smartphone and television, that they become highly skilled at ignoring ads on their screens. Promotional products, which are tangible and useful, will be vital for amplifying messages in ways that Gen Zers are not used to. Remember, these are individuals who only know a world with The Internet.

Gen Zers prefer a cool product over a cool experience.

A recent study by Deep Focus, a leader in consumer behavior research, indicates that Gen Z prefers being sold a cool product (60 percent) over a cool experience (40 percent), while Millennials prefer the opposite. This is good news for promotional products – but there’s a catch. With a world of information at their fingertips and having grown up with the Internet, Gen Z is very selective with their purchases. A product better pass the quality test or your brand will be in serious trouble.


Gen Z consumers take selfies, a lot of selfies. One poll found that every third photo taken by those between the ages of 18 and 24 is a selfie. And since they post those selfies all over social media, savvy marketers will take advantage of the trend and use giveaways, contests and events to get their promotional products in Gen Z selfies. Think about all the impressions as those images are shared around the world by your new brand ambassadors.

The Bottom Line

Gen Zers are skilled message consumers and ignorers, looking for exciting things they can show off to the rest of the world. They are going to be a driving force in the economy so it is vital to reach this group now to establish a connection. Here are some cool products to help you get your brand front and center in all those Instagram posts.

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