Marketing expert Laryssa Wirstiuk discusses effective ways for businesses to reach digital natives.
Why is it so important to market to digital
natives differently than marketing to previous
Digital natives understand how to find any information they could ever want about a jewelry business and their products, from how well the business or product is reviewed by other customers to what a piece of jewelry might look like styled on a model and beyond. They know how to cross reference content on various platforms, get discounts when available, and comparison shop on Google. You can’t pull the wool over their eyes, and you have to give them what they want – information, transparency, ease and convenience. They’re not as brand loyal as other generations, and they won’t hesitate to hop to another brand if you’re inconsistent and disingenuous with your marketing.
What specific types of things are they looking for
from retailers that will make them more likely to
make a purchase?
Above all, they want transparency and connection. They want to know the origins of the materials as well as what the retailer represents and the company’s values. They want to feel connected to a brand story, and they’re not just shopping for price and product quality. Retailers today that are using a good price as their sole unique value proposition will likely not attract most digitally native consumers. These customers are looking for the total package – and are more concerned with value and what that represents, not just price. They also want to feel seen and heard. They want to know that the retailer has the customer’s best
interest in mind, from readily available customer service to flexible return policies and fast shipping
Is social media the key to reaching and marketing to this generation?
Social media platforms such as Instagram and TikTok are just the distribution channels. The content and the messaging need to be right in order to attract and resonate with members of this generation. They also respond well to SMS marketing, and email marketing is still extremely effective. In addition, they want to be part of community experiences such as live and virtual events. Many of them are also interested in livestream shopping and NFTs, so retailers need to constantly be looking ahead at the latest trending technologies in retail.
Is it better to beef up online offerings versus instore in order to have more appeal?
I’ve personally found with clients that online offerings should be more curated than in-store offerings to help create focus in the digital marketing efforts. If you have too many products on your e-commerce website, then it’s ultimately hard to choose which ones to feature in social media, email, and other campaigns. In a store, a salesperson is the gatekeeper to help guide the customer toward a specific product. But online, a retailer’s e-commerce shop is kind of like the Wild West if it has too many products and too little focus.
How can businesses create digital experiences that will catch the attention of this generation?
Digital natives are really seeking to be in a community with a brand and other people who also love it, so if you can create digital experiences that bring together consumers in a community-oriented setting, they will respond best to that. They want to feel like they’re part of a movement or a club.
How important are real moments (using real people, real situations, etc.) within digital advertisements?
This is extremely important, especially for Gen Z. This generation actively rejects the polished, curated look of Instagram models and influencers. Instead, they want real, unedited content.
Are influencers important for a business to appeal to this generation?
Influencers are still important, but many of my clients and brands in the industry have the most success with micro-influencers and brand ambassadors who can develop a long-term relationship with the brand. One-and-done collaborations with big-time influencers are not effective. Long-term relationships with lesser known influencers help create consistency, trust and authenticity. Also, many Gen Z’ers reject the
polished and curated look that many influencers have. They’d rather see product recommendations and endorsements from real-life customers.
Does a business need to have a clear purpose, such as donating to help the environment, minimizing greenhouse gas emissions, and so on, in order to gain loyalty?
A purpose is important to digital natives, but only if it’s authentically aligned with the brand and not a bid to get attention. The term sustainable is extremely overused in the jewelry industry, to the point that it doesn’t mean anything. If a company feels passionately and genuinely aligned with a cause, that’s more important than supporting a cause for the sake of marketing.