4 Tips to Make Personalized Offers Stick for Gen Z

Posted on Aug 7, 2019 · 4 min read

Gen Z is the future. And they’re the biggest segment we’ve ever seen: nearly 2.5 billion strong and projected to account for 40% of all consumer spending by 2020. You need to engage them, but it’s difficult to cut through the noise. Want your brand to stand out? Win over Gen Z with personalized offers for students.

Chasing after Gen Z with Mass Discounts Will Fail 

No one likes being treated anonymously. Sixty-three percent of consumers are highly annoyed by the way brands repeatedly blast impersonal, generic ads.

Gen Z in particular shuns this practice: 

Yet many brands keep clinging to this bygone strategy. In a recent survey by WBR Insights, nearly 70% of marketers believe more ads will lead to more sales.

Sixty-five percent of Gen Zers have installed some form of ad-blocking technology.

They’re wrong. 

Frequent promotions lead consumers to expect discounts, which devalues a brand. And bombarding shoppers with promotions just adds to the market noise, which pushes customer acquisition costs (CAC) higher. Over the last five years, the industry has seen a 60% increase in CAC.

Win Them over with Personalized Offers for Students

Shoppers want brand experiences that reflect who they are. Seventy-seven percent of consumers have chosen, recommended, or paid more for a brand that provides a personalized service or experience.

Gen Zers in particular want brands to express their unique identity and values. Companies that deliver on those expectations will gain their loyalty. 

4 Ways to Get Personalized Offers Right for Gen Z

Gen Zers know what they want. According to Jeff Fromm and Angie Read, authors of Marketing to Gen Z: The Rules for Reaching This Vast—and Very Different—Generation of Influencers, Gen Zers are fiscally responsible. They’re also independent individuals who make purchasing decisions based on factors including quality and value, identity, and accessibility

Gated, exclusive offers—an emerging form of personalized marketing—fit the bill. Here are four ways to make them work:

01 Recognize Student Status

How we see ourselves in relation to the world around us is our single most defining attribute. And honoring someone’s identity is a moving experience, particularly for college students—who represent the sweet spot for reaching Gen Z consumers. Fifty-three percent say their favorite brand is able to “understand them as an individual.”

Gated offers tap into this desire to be seen by recognizing a student’s life stage and need to be frugal. And because they’re exclusive to students,  they are more compelling than other personalized offers. Ninety-one percent of students are more likely to shop with a brand that provides a gated offer.

Fifty-three percent of Gen Zers say their favorite brand "understands them as an individual."

02 Provide a Streamlined Experience and Instant Gratification

Gen Zers are all about instant gratification. That’s not surprising—they’re our first true digital natives.

Nearly half of Gen Z consumers say the most important thing when shopping is to find things quickly. And more than 60% say they will not use apps or websites that are hard to navigate or slow to load.

The most effective gated offers use in-brand, digital verification to quickly confirm student status. This gives Gen Z the hyper-convenience and fast response they expect in a shopping experience. According to a report by Kelton Research , 88% of Gen Zers want to be able to redeem a gated offer instantly.

03 Give Gen Z Control over Their Privacy

Gen Z knows the stakes are high when it comes to managing their online reputation, and they take their privacy seriously. Eighty-seven percent of Gen Zers report that keeping their personal information private is more important to them than popularity measures such as getting “likes” on social media.

Also, the Uniquely Gen Z study reports that less than one-third of teens are comfortable sharing personal details other than contact information and purchase history. On the other hand, 61% would feel better sharing personal information with brands if they could trust it was being securely stored and protected.

That’s good news for brands that use gated offers to market to Gen Z. By design, gated offers are consent based. Students maintain control of their data and opt-in by entering a few pieces of basic information, like email and the college they attend.

Eighty-seven percent of Gen Zers said privacy is more important to them than popularity measures such as getting “likes” on social media.

04 Prioritize Mobile Engagement

It’s a no-brainer that brands need to be mobile friendly to engage Gen Z. Ninety-six percent of Gen Zers in North America own a smartphone, and that number is even higher in other regions in the world. And nearly one quarter of Gen Zers use their smartphones 10+ hours (!) a day.

Gated offers powered by mobile verification meet students where they are—on their mobile devices—enabling brands to nurture the relationship in a personalized way. Interacting with Gen Z on their channel of choice pays off. One brand that re-engaged students with SMS saw a 50% lift in conversions. 

Do you know what your audience wants? Then you’re well on your way to personalized marketing that works. Base your personalized offers on these four considerations and you will win over Gen Z. 

You can learn how to create secure, personalized offer for Gen Z by downloading our e-book, Marketing to Gen Z .

Read our e-book: Marketing to Gen Z

Tony Coray by Tony Coray