Why Exclusive Offers Are Ideal for Gen Z Marketing

Posted on Mar 1, 2019 · 4 min read

How do digital marketers acquire Gen Zers as loyal, lifelong consumers?

While targeted promotions have been around forever, Gen Z expects a different type of customization and engagement than previous generations. For example, they look to engage with brands that offer them more personal interaction. In addition, Gen Zers are looking for brands to keep personal information safe.

As it happens, there’s an emerging marketing strategy that top brands have embraced that meet these unique needs: gated, exclusive offers.

Gated, exclusive offers are personalized promotions designed to target specific groups, such as students. As it turns out, gated offers are a great option for Gen Z marketing campaigns because Gen Zers prefer deals that feel customized, allow for control over personal data, and honor their current status (e.g. college students).

How to Make a Gated Offers for Gen Z

Engaging Gen Z with a gated offer is an easy, four-step process:

01  You create an offer

For example, an ongoing discount off a beloved streaming service for college students.

02  They say, “Heck yeah!”…

…and provide certain credentials to show that they’re eligible.

03  You confirm their eligibility.

Digital verification instantly verifies their eligible status, both online and in-store.

04  They reap the benefits

Gen Z students now get an awesome service for way less while they’re eligible (i.e. still a student).

Why Gen Z Likes Gated Offers

01  Gated Offers Are Exclusive

Gen Z places great emphasis on being “in the know,” so a gated offer creates that extra fuzzy feeling of individuality and importance.

Gated Offers Make Gen Z Feel…

A graph showing how Gen Z feels about gated, exclusive offers with a smiling young person.
A graph showing how Gen Z feels about gated, exclusive offers with a smiling young person.

02   Gated Offers Give Gen Z Control

Gen Zers are true digital natives. They’re savvy to all the tricks companies can use to market to them. Gen Zers are very wary of brands who request too much information or track their online activity, as noted in the graphs below from the 2018 Shopper Study by Kelton.

How would you like brands to identify your eligibility for an exclusive promotion?

A graph representing how Gen Zers prefer brands market to them.

According to one study from NRF, 55% of the Gen Zers want control over the information they give to brands. In addition, 54% want to decide how brands contact them, not the other way around. 

Are you willing to share the following personal information for an exclusive offer?

A graph representing the type of personal information Gen Z is willing to share to access an exclusive offer.

Compared to a universal discount, gated offers are highly targeted and invite shoppers to opt-in. This allows consumers to drive the relationship between themselves and the brand.

03   Gated Offers Address Price Sensitivity

Since Gen Zers don’t have a ton of money to spend right now (remember, some of them are still living with their parents!), Gen Z marketing campaigns work best when they honor a Gen Zer for the current standing in life—which is exactly what a gated offer does. Here’s how it works: 

  • Give students the opportunity to subscribe to your service at a deep discount, earning their favor today.
  • Nurture them during “lean” years by maintaining the discount, earning their loyalty for down the road.
  • Convert them to full-price consumers when they graduate.

Gen Z Responding to Gated Offers

A graph showing Gen Z's reaction to gated, exclusive offers.
A graph showing Gen Z's reaction to gated, exclusive offers.

Customer Spotlights

Some top brands have implemented gated, exclusive offers to great effect. 

Headspace and CBS All Access

Subscription services like CBS and Headspace are both gaining the interest of Gen Z students by offering steep discounts.

Headspace offers $9.99 for a year’s subscription (usually a $95 annual fee). CBS is taking 25% off its monthly, limited-commercial subscription. 

A promotion for Headspace's exclusive student plan.
A promotion for CBS All Access's student program.

Gated offers are perfect for these kinds of services. They establish favor with young consumers and create loyalty. It’s more likely that these young subscribers will convert to paying full price once they’re no longer eligible for the student discount.

Gen Z Marketing Campaigns + Gated Offers = Magic

Because of Gen Z’s digital prowess and desire for authentic, one-on-one interactions with their preferred brands, gated offers are often the best way to catch their attention. They make Gen Zers feel rewarded for their current station in life.

And since gated offers are opt-in focused, they ease a Gen Zer’s hesitancy about over-sharing personal information. They also give young consumers a little wiggle room during “lean” years, building a positive rapport and earning Gen Z’s loyalty—potentially into their adulthood.

Ready to learn more about marketing to Gen Z?

Check out our e-book on Gen Z, or Contact Us for more information about gated, exclusive offers.

Hannah Tyler by Hannah Tyler