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How to connect with Gen Z throughout the Purchase Cycle

Not all generations are created equal. This most recent generation, Gen Z, is quickly growing into an audience that marketers need to keep an eye on. This age group will soon enter adulthood and expand its influence and purchase power. Gen Z includes anyone born between 1997 and 2012. This group is massive, with over 90 million generation members in the US (over two billion worldwide) compared to 72 million US millennials and 73 million US boomers. Gen Z holds over $44B in annual purchasing power and influences the majority of household purchases, according to AdWeek. As Gen Z continue to move into their early careers, this will only continue to increase.

It’s obvious that this generation is a force to be reckoned with, but how can you engage with them in your brand’s purchase cycle?

Gen z purchase cycle

Connecting Pre-Purchase with Storyliving

The way to Gen Z’s attention is through storyliving. What is storyliving, you might ask? According to Forbes, it is modernized storytelling which enables consumers to experience a company’s brand narrative or brand DNA. This refers more to the values that the company stands on rather than what they do or sell.

Gen Z has forced marketers to evolve the way they tell their brand story. This evolution has shifted away from the one-way communication from brand to anonymous consumer, to a conversation between brands and their consumers. Using Gen Z’s propensity for mobile technology, you can facilitate those conversations in meaningful ways to build a deeper relationship with your brand in the pre-purchase stage. Vocal brand advocates can tell your brand story and build credibility and authenticity among Gen Z. Platforms like YouTube and Instagram will reach this audience where they already learn about brands.

Connecting During Purchase

This generation prefers to research products online and shop brick and mortar, which presents an opportunity to reach them at that moment of truth at-shelf, to encourage purchase and build brand affinity. This is achieved when the physical and digital worlds collide to bridge the gap between offline users and online consumers.

You can create an interactive experience at-shelf, with a short quiz for consumers to learn more about products and receive product recommendations, product offers, and chances to win. This grabs the attention of consumers while shopping, motivates them to interact with your product, and generates share-worthy content. Additionally, these types of efforts can garner data acquisition into CRM database for future conversations.

Connecting Post-Purchase Interactions with Gamification

Games use individual, physiological, and social motivators that encourage repeat action and specific behaviors. You can use gamified experiences to create fun, bite-size engagements that leverage Gen Z’s desire to interact with the brands they consider fun. Doing this allows the opportunity to continue the conversation beyond purchase and to stay top-of-mind among known consumers. Whether playing for bragging rights or prizing, it matters to this audience and will maintain engagement over longer periods of time. Create a bracket challenge or daily gamified experience anchored in cultural interests like sports, movies, or pop culture.

Want to learn more about connecting with the digital natives that are Gen Z? Read more in HelloWorld, a Merkle Company’s new Generation Z eBook.