How and Why to Focus on Data When Marketing to Gen-Z

How and Why to Focus on Data When Marketing to Gen-Z

A few years ago, brands around the globe experienced a millennial marketing wave. It seemed as though the textbooks were thrown out the window. Everything about marketing changed.

Just as the dust is settling, there’s another wave coming. And Gen-Z is riding it.

If you’re a marketer, you’ve likely already heard industry chatter peppered with 8-second attention spans, increased authenticity, digital natives, and other sirens.

Everyone’s changing their strategies, jumping onto the next big digital trends in a bid to grab Gen-Z’s eye. That’s a solid strategy, however, the secret to reaching this audience lies in how you use data.

It’s no secret that data is an indispensable tool for modern marketers. With 55% of Gen-Z consumers spending five or more hours on their smartphones, data helps brands stand out to a generation that’s being flooded digitally.

Wondering where to start and where to go? Read on to learn how your brand can use data to market to Gen-Z:

Where to Begin

Data has proven invaluable to marketers, but it can be daunting to newbies. Regardless, the results speak for themselves.

According to a NewVantage Partners’ Survey cited by Ohio University, 73% of respondents saw positive value from inserting big data into their decision-making processes. So where does one begin?

According to Ohio University, brands looking to begin their data-driven decision-making journeys should always keep these five steps top of mind:

1. Assess Business Questions or Issues

Start by determining what exactly your brand wants the data to achieve.

2. Identify Objectives

Set realistic goals and have a clear objective. Work out the creases, like who will oversee the data analysis and whether you will need additional consultants or personnel.

3. Target Data

Think about what data you need. Ask yourself how to acquire it.

4. Collect and Analyze Data

Determine what data collection methods you’re going to employ and how it’s going to be analyzed.

5. Make Data-Driven Decisions

Using your data as a springboard, craft insightful and actionable campaigns.

Data and Gen-Z

Gen-Z spends most of their time engaging online. They actively seek out hyper-personalized experiences. But they are very cautious about who is tracking their data.

According to research on generational loyalty, “less than 33% of Gen-Z say they are comfortable sharing their personal details, other than contact information and purchase history.”

What does this mean for businesses and marketers? Brands must connect with and entice Gen-Z users to offer information on their own volition.

And how do we get Z’ers to agree to this? Diligence around Privacy.

Set expectations up front for how their data will be used. And never abuse their trust. If you’re invasive with your use of their data, you’ll risk losing this audience altogether.

When you have their data, make sure you aren’t bombarding them with promotions. 69% of Gen-Z consumers think ads are disruptive.

The key is to craft transparent, meaningful, and engaging campaigns that offer tangible benefits.

Using Data Effectively

Data is a marketing asset when it comes to attracting Gen-Z consumers. It can help you understand the Gen-Z mindset.

Here’s are some ways to effectively use data to market to this dynamic generation of customers:


Gen-Z consumers pride themselves on individuality. They don’t want to be painted with a broad swath.

By collecting and correctly analyzing big data, brands will be able to target Gen-Z consumers by better understanding their individual needs, beliefs, communication preferences, sticking points, expectations, etc.

But be responsible – collecting mountains of data can be overkill.  Appnovation lays down basic guidelines for using data to personalize content.

Start by collecting relevant data, but focus on information that can help you properly create actionable buyer personas.

To put this data into action, you’ll start by customizing content for each persona. Then develop the processes for delivering tailored content and user experiences, and you’ll be off and running.


Thanks to segmentation, the “one size fits all” mentality is finally beginning to fade into the sunset.

Because of their strong sense of individuality, Gen-Z consumers actively seek out personalized products and experiences.

You’re probably wondering whether marketing should be the same for prospects who might buy the same product. The answer is a resounding “No.”

When you use data to segment your audience, you’ll be able to create smaller audiences with more commonalities.

Then, you’ll be able to tailor communications and campaigns for the same product to match the segments.

Various kinds of segmentation you can opt for include:

Geographic / Location

You can segment your audience by where they are located. This is especially helpful when you’re marketing internationally and need to reach out to users with different languages and/or cultural backgrounds.


Demographic segmentation focuses on factors like age, gender, and income to create customer groups for you to tailor your communication and marketing campaigns to each of them.

For instance, imagine you’re marketing fast food. Your communication to lower-income groups may highlight affordability and value.

On the other hand, you’d want to communicate speed and convenience for higher-earning but time strapped professionals.


Behavioral segmentation focuses on things they have done in the past. Behaviors can be things like average purchase amounts, time periods between purchases, how often they frequent your blog, or anything else you can track that they do.

With this sort of data, you can have campaigns for things like:

  1. People who put items in the shopping cart and never finished a purchase
  2. Customers who have not bought from you in a long time
  3. Rewards for frequent visitors and purchasers on your website

Their Needs

Needs-based  segmentation divides your audience according to their specific needs and challenges, allowing you to create extremely tailored content.

While this is the most difficult data to collect, you will find a high ROI on efforts driven by customer and prospect needs.

With data on their side, brands can segment their Gen-Z audience and play to their desire for personalization. When done right, the yield is high.

Research data supports this notion. 58% of Gen-Zers willing to pay more for products that are targeted to their individual personalities.

Rewarding Loyalty

According to IBM’s Institute of Business  Value Report, 65% of Gen-Z respondents found value in reward programs. Gen-Z is a hard consumer segment to keep tabs on, but they’ll come back to you if they’re being rewarded for their loyalty.

With data, you can identify regular customers and build meaningful and engaged communities. They’re not known to wait around, so you will need to structure rewards programs that are fast and high-returning to offer them true value.


Data isn’t a shortcut to Gen-Z marketing.

Rather, your marketing efforts will be more effective once you figure out how to apply that data.

As Gen-Z makes the shift into becoming the world’s most important consumer generation, brands need to stay on top of their marketing game.

It’s important for your business to recognize that data will soon make or break marketing strategies, so use it to define your own brand’s relationship with Gen-Z.

Feature Image Credit: CC 0; Public Domain. Feature image sourced from Flickr.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions stated in this post are that of the author, and Return On Now may or may not agree with any or all of the commentary.

This guest post brought to you courtesy of Return On Now, Professional Austin SEO and PPC Services Company.

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Noah Rue

Noah Rue is a journalist and a digital nomad, fascinated with the intersection between global health, personal wellness, and modern technology. When he isn't searching out his next great opportunity, Noah likes to shut off his devices, head to the mountains and read novels based in the American Southwest.
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