Youth Marketing 101: How can brands reach digital natives IRL?

When thinking about strategies to reach Gen Z, it’s natural to focus on the digital sphere. After all, this is a group known as digital natives, born into a world of smartphones, apps and wifi connections. However, this narrow focus can lead marketers to miss out on valuable opportunities to meet this audience in other parts of their lives. While we wouldn’t urge brands to ditch digital, we would encourage combining digital and physical marketing to create an effective omnichannel strategy that raises brand awareness and trust.

Not sure how to create a physical marketing campaign that’ll distract Gen Z from their Instagram feeds? Here are our top tips…

Find your audience

If you’re struggling to get young consumers to come to you, you need to go to them. Whether you’re planning a billboard ad campaign, experiential activation, or sending out a promo team, you’ll only reach your target market if you choose the right location. Think about the places they go day-to-day, for example college and university campuses, and the surrounding areas. Also consider events that will bring together Gen Z en masse, such as festivals, gigs and conventions.

Relevance is key

If you’re going to invest in physical marketing, you’ll only get a good ROI if your campaign is created with your target market in mind. Take time to research the latest youth trends and marketing campaigns that have resonated with young people, and if possible, road-test your ideas with a focus group or online panel to get useful, actionable feedback. In order to attract Gen Z’s attention, your campaign needs to be eye-catching and relevant, so they feel that your brand is especially for them.

Use the power of digital

Planning a real world event or activation doesn’t mean you can’t use digital marketing to ensure it’s a success. For example, use social media ads to spread the word to a carefully targeted group, or invite your email subscribers to an exclusive launch event. Apps such as Instagram are the primary way that young people discover events and activities these days, so by using their preferred platforms to inform them of a fun, free thing to do, you’re offering them an opportunity to entertain and impress their friends.

Make it shareable

Thanks to social media, your physical marketing campaigns can achieve wider reach than ever before. However, you can’t just put up a billboard and wait for the tags to start rolling in… you need to create a campaign that your target audience will want to share. Gen Z are acutely aware of their personal brand, so they’re conscious of how anything they share reflects on them. That means your branding needs to be cool, visually appealing and engaging. Take inspiration from the feeds of your brand’s young followers to understand what they like to share.

Learn more about the youth marketing strategies that are reaping rewards for Gen Z’s favourite brands at our upcoming event, YMS19 NYC. Click here for all the details and to secure your tickets at our current Super Early Bird rate.