13 Sep 2022

B2B marketing for a Gen Z audience

By Nathan Makalena

Lots has been written about marketing to a Gen Z audience. Progressive and pragmatic, sincere and ironic, we’re quite an amorphous bunch with some unique purchasing habits.

As well as becoming the biggest commercial demographic (with a global spending power of £113bn annually) we’re also close to being the workforce majority. As a result, Zoomers are making more and more business purchasing decisions too.

B2B is a different ball-game to consumer marketing, it’s not as easy as pouring baked beans on your Weetabix. So what does the Gen Z decision-making process look like at each stage of the sales funnel?

Awareness: Post content authentically and regularly

In the fast-paced social-media environment, it’s less about catchy ads and more about consistent content (videos and posts that are relevant and useful).

For example, Squarespace is effective at producing engaging, regular content: from short-form docs with creators, design-focused tips for users, and brand collabs with publications like Wired and It’s Nice That. The trick here is that all activity is aesthetically consistent and adds value for the audience.

Interest: Foster a like-minded community

Subcultures have migrated to internet communities – fandoms and fervent audiences gathering around Facebook groups, subreddits and hashtags.

One-way advertising is the antithesis of this. Brands should instead look to ways they can involve their buyers and create a community.

To take one example, Adobe has been adept at building an online community. Through livestreams, competitions, and support communities, they’re constantly creating opportunities for customers to learn about and interact with each other.

Evaluation: Impulse purchases… in this economy?!

Being chronically online, Gen Z is constantly bombarded by advertisers. On average, Zoomers see 10,000 marketing messages a day.

This makes us a generation of seekers: conducting research, reading reviews, getting tips from friends and peers, all in order to separate wheat from chaff. For businesses, this means being direct and transparent. Prioritise SEO to make research easy, make the benefits clear, and win trust.

Action: Encourage us to act on our principles

Three-quarters of Gen Z consumers say that sustainability is more important to them than a brand name when making purchase decisions. Gen Z wants to work for, and buy from, sustainability-minded businesses.

Both businesses and the older generations are listening. Worldwide, 2,500 firms are now certified B-Corps – companies certified by B Lab as meeting high standards of social and environmental performance. Gen X’s willingness to pay more for sustainable products has increased by 42% since 2019.

Socially responsible firms that act on issues of equality, diversity and sustainability will win out against those that don’t when it comes time for Gen Z to take action.