Funneling Marketing Dollars to Generation Z Buyers

Generation X is at peak buying power with the lucrative Millennial generation not far behind. Marketing to both of these generations is a smart, long-term play. However, another big buying group is ready to give its predecessors a run for their money: Generation Z.


Born between 1995 and the mid 2000s, Generation Z accounts for slightly over 20 percent of the US population and holds around $44 billion in buying power. Sure, many of this generation are teens and tweens. Why market to them now?


Turns out, they have a lot of power: up to 73 percent influence how their parents spend money on household goods and big-ticket items. Plus, they’re digital natives. They navigate online channels much better than their parents and grandparents, so they often run the show from product evaluation to purchasing methods.


They are also inching closer to peak buying power every day. Develop marketing and engagement strategies now so you can attract this generation as they develop habits and brand relationships that they may take into adulthood.


Like the generations before them, Gen Z has their own set of retailer expectations and unique way of shopping. How can you build a strong brand relationship with this new crop of consumers?


Market where they spend their time. YouTube is their platform of choice to be entertained or cheered up, according to a survey by Google. But that’s not all. 80% say YouTube has helped them become more knowledgeable about a product or service. Create a YouTube channel with videos that are entertaining and informative for a wide-range of consumers. A video about what to expect from your financing department is helpful when researching with parents. A video offering driving tips or how to get a license in your state appeals directly to Generation Z and sets you up as a trusted resource. The ideas for videos are endless. Use your imagination and don’t be boring!


Offer mega-mobility. It boggles my mind that even in our current age of COVID-19, so many dealers still don’t have digital retailing tools that are optimized to every device. You’re especially missing the boat with Generation Z if you’re not giving customers all the information on their smartphones that they need to make decisions. Along with digital retailing, they need to be able to access videos and interact with your dealership quickly from a mobile device. Video and text is where it’s at.


Build a dealership app. Some forward-thinking dealers have an app for their stores that every customer has access to. They can do multiple processes through it, including texting salespeople, watching vehicle videos, and scheduling service. They can also push out messages like a “happy birthday” or notifications about service specials. Including games is a great way to get those younger Generation Z’s involved, too. I play a game with my kids when we’re driving where we count motorcycles. It gets them to focus on the road so that when they start driving they’ll be conditioned to be aware and cognizant of what is going on around them. Get all this relevant, interactive content in one app and you become the go-to source for the whole family. Building an app takes some technical training, but more open source app building software on the market makes it easier and cost-effective. Here’s a good review of the best free app builders.


Explore community partnerships. Community partnerships can be a great way to get your brand in front of a younger audience. How about partnering with a driving school? You promote their services and they promote yours. That’s a great way to build relationships with teenagers and their parents. Or take some marketing dollars and invest in your local high school. Both driver’s education classes and mechanics classes are sorely needed but often the victim of budget cuts. Help a school bring back those programs and you’re the “car guy” for future generations. Dealers recruit for mechanics; why not recruit for drivers? As this Washington Post article argues, bringing back driver’s education could be just the thing to get teens behind the wheel, and into your dealership.


Generation Z is on the cusp of peak buying power. Start putting in the work now to meet their expectations and win them over. Embrace technology and forge meaningful community partnerships to provide quality content that will inspire loyalty in this key demographic.


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