It’s probably time to update your marketing strategies when it comes to your teen audience. We are officially in full swing of the teen years of Gen Z, a generation that currently ranges from about ages 10-25.
The oldest end of this cohort already command $360B in disposable income, according to Bloomberg. This generation also has very different shopping and consumption habits than millennials. They’ve been shaped by the pandemic, after all. So if you haven’t made changes to your marketing strategies recently, you’re probably losing out. Let’s take a look at five marketing strategies you need to try to build your teenage audience.
Take a stand and highlight your good works
Perhaps most important when it comes to marketing to young people in general is to “show your dedication to ethical sourcing, animal welfare and lowering your carbon footprint,” says Brian Case, Director of eCommerce & Retail at Selkirk, an eCommerce company in the pickleball space.
The majority of Gen Z shoppers prefer to shop with sustainable and ethical brands. A recent study found that many Gen Zers are even willing to spend 10% more to buy a sustainable brand, says Forbes. As Case puts it, “in order to support causes, safeguard the environment, and challenge businesses that pursue profits at all costs, Gen Zs are leveraging their influence and purchasing power.”
It’s your job to provide transparency with anything and everything you can including:
- Manufacturing processes
- Where you source materials
- Where your profits go to
Everlane does this brilliantly. On each item’s page, the company provides the exact cost of the labor and materials that go into creating the item.
Even more than just providing transparency on your own processes, it’s important to take a stand on current events.
Teens want to support brands that align with their beliefs and are willing to alienate some customers in order to do what they believe is right.
Video-content is non-negotiable for teen-facing brands.
While social media has been a staple of marketing to not just teen audiences but nearly all demographics for about a decade now, teenagers continue to be on the forefront of whatever the latest social media tech is.
And now, it’s a bite-sized style of video content made popular by TikTok. (There are now other places you can find this type of content, most notably Instagram Reels.) Ashleigh Duggan, owner of Air Experiences, puts it simply: “If you’re not creating material suitable for Instagram Reels and TikTok, you’ll struggle to be seen where teens tend to engage and react.”
Sofia Voudouroglou from teemill.com points out that teens spend over 90 minutes on just TikTok alone and shared this case study:
“One of our top stores used TikTok to launch their business—this was the only marketing they did. Posting simple videos over trending music, they showed several pieces that made up cool outfits – and one of the pieces was always from their own brand. One of their videos went viral, gaining 350 thousand views. In the following month they received 34x more visits to their site – and made 39x more sales than usual.”
All that to say: time to get on TikTok.
Offer cashless payment methods
Teens don’t typically have credit cards. Despite this, they’re moving away from cash as quickly as the rest of consumers. A study showed that as early as 2019, 86% of college students were already using mobile payment methods.
For that reason, it’s crucial update your point of sale technology to be able to take more than just the classic credit and debit cards. You need to be able to take payments from mobile wallets.
Both eCommerce and brick-and-mortar stores should take payments from systems that allow digital cash payments, like Venmo or Paypal in order to best appeal to a teen audience.
Offer flexible delivery options
James Green, Owner of Cardboard Cutouts points out that “not every teen is going to be able to pick-up an item at the store,” so offering flexible delivery options can help encourage them to shop with you. As Green puts it, “teens are dying to be adults already and want to be treated more like adults than kids. Make it easy for them to shop with you and you’ll create a loyal following.”
Many stores now partner with delivery services like Doordash to provide same-day delivery. Michael’s Crafts offers same-day delivery on anything from their stores for $9.99, for instance. Such a flexible option provides teens with the chance to interact with a brand on their own terms, regardless of their access to transportation.
Work with influencers
Social media influencers have an enormous amount of power over the buying decisions teens make.
Alice Eve, marketing director at Cicinia.fr, a bridal shop that sells prom dresses as well, says that influencer marketing is by far the most effective way to reach teenagers in her experience. “Firstly, teenagers trust their favorite influencers sometimes even more than family. That said, they readily follow their recommendations. Secondly, teenagers frequently want to emulate their favorite idols.”
Eve also points out that influencer marketing is a good way around the fact that 51% of teenagers use ad blockers. Ad blockers can’t block influencers’ posts.
You can even go beyond simply sponsoring a mention of your brand. You can collaborate with influencers to release a cobranded product. This strategy has been exceptionally lucrative for many brands. Dunkin’, for instance, released a special cold brew with TikTok wunderkind, Charli D’amelio and had a 45% surge in sales the very next day, driven by her massive teen fanbase.
Teenagers tend to be the most difficult group to market to, likely because they change so frequently. The moment you perfect a strategy, teens are all on a new platform. That said, as of 2022, these five tips will serve you well.
About Francesca Nicasio
Francesca Nicasio is Vend's Retail Expert and Content Strategist. She writes about trends, tips, and other cool things that enable retailers to increase sales, serve customers better, and be more awesome overall. She's also the author of Retail Survival of the Fittest, a free eBook to help retailers future-proof their stores. Connect with her on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Google+.