Marketing to Gen Z in 2020 | Kickoff Recap

Jan 28, 2020

Social Media Charlotte kicked off the new decade with a bang! We invited strategic experts from a variety of industries and backgrounds to get us focused on the future of consumers: Generation Z (those born between 1997 - 2012). While sipping coffee from The Hobbyist at Heist Brewery, we learned the importance of marketing to this generation, how to determine which channels are right for your brand, and other takeaways for connecting with these influencers.


Our presenters were comprised of the following experts:


  • Gen Z Overview | Kathleen Hessert, Founder at We R Gen Z
  • Gen Z Social Media Channel Strategy | Amie Kiehn, Social Media Manager at Carolina Panthers
  • Content Strategy for Gen Z | Christian Bochicchio, Content Strategy Manager at AvidXchange, Inc.
  • Experiential Marketing for Gen Z | Jackie Adkins, Account Supervisor at GMR Marketing
  • Hiring Gen Z | Amy Stein, Founder & Chief Talent Officer at Market Hero
  • Innovating Multimedia in 2020 & Beyond | Meredith Dean, Program Coordinator at Seacrest Studios & Founder at The Dean's List

Here’s a recap of what we learned:


Gen Z Overview | Kathleen Hessert, Founder at We R Gen Z


Kathleen focused on setting the stage for the rest of our presenters, sharing surprising data about Generation Z’s purchase power, plus exclusive insider info about what they truly want from brands. DYK: Gen Z spends $44B per year and influences over $600B of spending per year?


“Gen Z are change agents. They understand their power and influence, and are determined to leverage it. ‘Why’ is their No. 1 word. They are trying to understand the content of what is going on. Trust is a big factor, they multitask everything, work fast and prioritize information.” ~Kathleen Hessert


Gen Z Social Media Channel Strategy | Amie Kiehn, Social Media Manager at Carolina Panthers


With Amie’s presentation (on her first day of maternity leave!), we got a chance to peek behind the curtain at the magic of the Carolina Panthers — we learned what makes their whole team so successful on social media. Here’s a fun learning: even when your team is losing, you still have to create content that makes fans happy. To do that, they only share their very best content, regardless of whether it comes from a videographer on their team or from a fan.


When Cam Newton got injured at the beginning of the season, the Carolina Panthers’ social media team came up with content strategies such as “Cat Pack” and “Thieves Ave” to promote players and to keep fans engaged. In 2018, the Carolina Panthers hit Instagram hard and were ranked No. 5 in the NFL in engagement. In 2019, they focused on long-form and bite-size content on YouTube, and added TikTok to its social media channels to reach Gen Z.


Content Strategy for Gen Z | Christian Bochicchio, Content Strategy Manager at AvidXchange, Inc.


We went back to the beginning with Christian — before you can decide how to market to Gen Z, you need to know if it’s even a good idea in the first place. He challenged the audience to think goal-first and to let the strategy follow. Content needs to ladder up to (and drive) your business objectives.


“Content is not king. GOOD content is king! A lot of businesses forget what they are trying to do and often blindly create content. It’s important to refresh and level-set content strategy for your business.”


The following are ways to take “aim” at creating better content:

  • Align yourselves with the company as a whole
  • Keep business objectives top of mind
  • Ask questions on how to create content for objectives and audiences
  • Add Gen Z to the equation if that’s an audience for your business/organization
  • Measure everything
  • Tips for reaching Gen Z: Be Human. Be Visual. Be There.

Experiential Marketing for Gen Z | Jackie Adkins, Account Supervisor at GMR Marketing


Next up, Jackie walked us through creating memories that matter — which isn’t easy, but is absolutely necessary if you want to make authentic connections with your audience. Meet your consumers with content they long for — not with your sales pitch.


“People remember 90% of what they experience. There is not one single tactic for experiential marketing. Experiential marketing starts with consumer insights. Know your audience and what they value. Don’t treat Gen Z audience the same. Understand what makes each sector tick. Social media can play an important role. It adds authenticity, scale and touchpoints while helping build brand awareness.


Hiring Gen Z | Amy Stein, Founder & Chief Talent Officer at Market Hero


Who better to help you market to Gen Z than a Gen Z’er themselves? Amy gave us all the tips we could ever imagine to improve our employer branding for the next generation of innovators. Pro tip: They’re ready to work hard for a brand they believe in.


“Be as tech-savvy as Gen Z. Have an online application process and stay cutting-edge. Gen Z craves financial stability. They have high aspirations and goals. Studies show that 77% of Gen Z expect to work harder than previous generations.


Innovating Multimedia in 2020 & Beyond | Meredith Dean, Program Coordinator at Seacrest Studios & Founder at The Dean's List

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