Artificial intelligence (AI) has become more than just a tool for powering robots. It’s now used in dozens of industries and consumer applications, including marketing. These days, these AI marketing experiments are aimed at connecting with a notoriously skeptical generation. Generation Z has a buying power that’s growing exponentially. Can AI be what can help brands effectively market to the skeptical GenZ?
Using this powerful AI technology, marketers are working to create personalized, authentic experiences for every potential buyer. Most companies have their targets lined up with catching the attention of one generation above the others. AI can help brands effectively market to the GenZers who are naturally more skeptical.
Understanding the Gen Z Audience
Generation Z is made up of the young Americans born roughly between 1996 and 2012. By 2020, Gen Z will make up 40% of consumers and will influence many purchases made in their households. Marketers need to start thinking about how to connect with these buyers as soon as possible.
There are a few major differentiators between Gen Z and earlier generations. They’ve mostly grown up in urban areas, and they’re more diverse than any other generation. Their parents—and they—are more likely to attend college, and they’ve grown up with technology embedded into their everyday lives.
What’s Important to Generation Z?
Because they’ve grown up with the internet and GenZ is used to be bombarded by advertising. Marketers have to approach this generation very differently even than the Millennials who came before them. In order to understand and connect with the Gen Z audience, marketers have to really tap into what’s important to them. As a digitally-savvy audience, marketers need to use their preferred mediums, of course: mobile, video, and social platforms.
Beyond these preferences, however, marketers need to understand this generation’s values. Gen Z is deeply skeptical of advertising. They have made it clear that they want to support brands that have authentic values. They’re also adept at online research and often consult reviews and advice from those around them when buying.
So how can marketers connect authentically with Gen Z? AI might be the answer.
How Cutting-Edge Marketing AI Could Help Marketers Connect With Gen Z
AI is already being used in marketing to significant effect. If you’ve ever been “retargeted” by an ad showing you items you’ve already clicked on, you’ve witnessed just one application for AI in digital marketing today. But that’s hardly the only way marketers use AI tools.
Why is AI important in marketing? Two main reasons. It helps to guide strategy and allows for certain types of automation that cut down significantly on the repetitive, time-consuming tasks that take marketers away from strategy and creating great content. Not only that, but AI can help personalize the marketing process without the need for a human to customize each marketing message, an impossible task in the world of large-scale digital marketing.
More astonishing is the sheer scope and speed of some AI marketing tools today. Marketbrew, an AI tool for SEO, actually mimics Google’s process of crawling the web to give marketers a reasonable estimate of how their rankings will change when they adjust their website in just 90 minutes. Since it can take 60 days for the actual rankings to change, these estimates can be beneficial for marketers who want to move quickly and improve their appeal with a specific audience.
Tools like Marketbrew are essential in successfully marketing to Gen Z, simply because AI allows them to segment and personalize and tinker without waiting months to see how their efforts might be received. AI can’t replace smart marketers, but these tools can help them adapt quickly in a fast-paced, skeptical marketplace.
Keep It Real
As marketers, the biggest thing we need to keep in mind when trying to connect with Generation Z is to keep it real. Young people today are living in the era of “fake news.” The University of North Dakota even put out a publication about Cybersecurity and tips for students on how to identify fake news.
GenZ typically already knows how to be skeptical of what they read online. That’s one of the reasons they demand authenticity from brands. They want the truth, and they’re tired of corporations putting on a “front” and behaving poorly behind closed doors. Inauthentic brands and advertising campaigns simply won’t do well in connecting with this new generation of consumers.
Of course, good intentions don’t always come across in marketing messages. That’s another area where AI can help: identifying where and when their advertising content isn’t measuring up to the authenticity Gen Z demands. Mistakes will happen. Data, AI, and other advanced tech tools can guide strategy and make marketers’ lives easier. But we still need that human influence. Using authenticity, and letting it shine through in the messaging will speak to a generation hungry for truth.
Ryan Ayers is a researcher and consultant within multiple industries including information technology, blockchain and business development. Always up for a challenge, Ayers enjoys working with startups as well as Fortune 500 companies. When not at work, Ayers loves reading science fiction novels and watching the LA Clippers.