How to Advertise to Generation Z in Singapore

According to research conducted by Connected Life and a report published at Singaporeans spend 6.7 hours a day engaging in online activities. Business operators in Singapore will be compelled to either participate in internet marketing to accommodate members of Generation Z or risk being outsmarted by their competitors.

Because digital marketing in Singapore is all about reaching your target market, accommodating Gen Z can be daunting. You may need to change almost everything you know, starting with the language and your understanding of the market.

Who exactly are the Generation Z’s?

Generation Z is the term defining anyone born between 1995 and 2005. Also referred to as the post-millennials or the Homeland Generation, this is the generation that was born in a world where smartphones are prevalent, and technology was a regular thing.

They’re the first generation of Digital Natives, and their life is, for the most part, dependent on mobile applications and web platforms. This generation thinks completely different from millennials or the rest of the generations before them. So marketing to them the same way you’ve been doing to the other generations is certainly NOT going to cut it.

It’s time marketers stopped looking at Gen Zers as kids. Most of them are NOW of age and are holding lots of buying power.

The problem comes with appealing to them. Their habits are entirely different, and their understanding of things isn’t on the same scale as millennials or any other generation before them.

They grew up in a world where the digital landscape was a regular thing. They, therefore, have a unique approach to shopping and how they respond to ads and everything else.

The Challenge of Marketing to Gen Zers

There has always been a moment of panic in the world of marketing since time immemorial, particularly at that exact point when old tactics stop working, and marketers have to spend their time revising everything. Things change all the time, and so are consumers’ habits. And when they do, all that marketers can do on their end is adapt. You don’t have to be so rigid and hang up on your old ways, and this is one of those times when you take a step back and look into what you’ve been doing to find out if there’s anything amiss about it.

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Every generation comes with a set of new challenges. So this is nothing out of the ordinary. Just learn to evolve with the market you’re targeting, and there’ll be nothing left for you to worry about.

One thing you’ve heard is that the G Zers have one of the shortest attention spans. They can barely stare at a piece of an advert for more than 8 seconds without opening their mouth to yawn.

But in reality, that’s NOT the case. What’s happening is that the people in this group have developed active filters that allows them to sift through information barrage and only pick out what resonates with them.

Sadly, the traditional ads people forces on them don’t work. So they let them slide and even grow to hate brands that subject them to such ads. As a marketer looking to convince a group of Gen Z consumers, you only have about 2 seconds to create an impression and change their mind with your ad or post. You have to convince them that the rest of the advert or blog content is totally worth their time.

It’s only by doing this that you can get them to focus. And once they do, they’ll be binging on the rest of the content as a way of carrying in-depth research on the topic. As you can see, there’s nothing too worrisome for you to fret about when dealing with the Gen Zers. They’re merely reacting to what the environment served them. And the only way you can get to them is by understanding their situation and the reason behind their consumer behaviour and reaction to things.

Things were also the same with the dawn of millennials, if NOT worse. They were the first generation to be exposed to computers and technology, and the marketers that came before them had it rough understanding of their behaviour.

But when they finally succeeded, things proved to be so much easier and effective. They were the most natural people to target and get them to take action. And now things are also taking another shift, so it’s time marketers went back to the drawing board to figure out how to make the needle start moving again.

Why Are the Gen Zers So Important for Business?

Most of the G Zers are now of age and therefore accounting for a significant share of the consumer market. It’s even projected that, by 2020, the Gen Z with the power to buy will be accounting for about 40 percent of the consumers at the time.

And even as we speak, they’re widely thought as the most potent consumer forces in existence. They’re holding a buying power that stretches from $44 billion to $600 billion, NOT factoring in the amount of influence they have on the spending habits of their parents and the rest of the adults in their life.
This post will be walking you through all there is to know about the G Zers so you can know what to do when marketing to them.

How to Market to Gen Z’s?

The first step to marketing to Gen Z is to understand them fully. Before you can go ahead and commit your resources to anything, take your time to understand their buying habits and how they respond to ads. It’s only by doing this that you’ll be able to figure out how to convince them to start purchasing your goods or services.

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That said, here’s a list of things to do while marketing to the G Zers:

Focus on Grabbing their Attention

If you can grab the attention of a Gen Zer, you’re halfway to getting them to take action. It’s as simple as that, but how to make that happen is an uphill battle.

Gen Z is the social generation. Everything they do is about enhancing their social experience, which they’ll want to document and maybe share around for the whole world to see.

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That means, to get to this generation, you must be well updated on the latest wrinkle in cyberspace. You must be well updated on what’s trending. That means you have to figure out how to refresh your social media strategies every now and then. You want to make sure that everything you do is up to date while positioning yourself as an active member of their online communities.

Speaking of which memes should be your friend. Not only are you expected to be an active member of their social community, you also have to make your social media presence visible. Find a way to make yourself felt, and NOT just seen.

As a brand, your position in all this is that of a trendsetter, an advice mastermind, a community maker, and a moral guide to the communities you attend.

Generation Z is made up of technology innovators and digital developers, and those are are the elements you should be implementing and running within your marketing campaigns.

You have to keep on re-inventing some of these practices and come up with various ways to capture their attention and keep winning. In other words, you have to be a Gen Zer yourself. Think like them; and reason out like them.

It’s the same story everywhere. The G-zers are exhibiting the same behavioural patterns, regardless of what corner of the globe they hail from. They have certain social tendencies and identical viewpoints on a lot of things. Your brand has to become active participants in all this to win them. As a marketer, you have to be the influencer and the market authority in your respective field. You must be willing and always ready to step up and run with every relevant topic that comes up. Own it, and take the spotlight, giving it your own twist so it matches your brand.

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That’s how you get their attention, and that’s precisely how you win them over.

Be Truthful

Be a voice they can trust. That’s another secret that marketers don’t see the weight it carries, even when it means all the difference between struggling and taking your marketing results a notch higher.

Gen Zers aren’t dumb. But that’s how everyone wants to paint them. They want to see them as a lost generation; a generation that’s completely clueless of what it is that they want in life. But they couldn’t be any wrong.

The post-millennials have active social filters. And their sensitivity towards drivel and hogwash is at an all-time high. They’ll know when they’re being lied to or when it’s just another ruse to get them to spend their hard-earned coins on something they don’t need.

So you have to start by being authentic enough about what it is that you’re offering. Put your money where your mission is, and learn to embrace corporate values.

Forget about marketing speaks and all that talk for a moment, and have a real conversation with them. Treat them like the adults they are, and NOT the kids the world thinks they are. Amid all those meme jokes and banter, get real with them about the kind of values you represent as a brand.

Soon or later, they’ll learn to associate the same values with you, and that’s how you win as a marketer in today’s world.

Make Influencers Your friends

As an ambassador of your brand, you’re an influencer yourself. So it would only make sense if you befriended your kind. Influencers understand the market, and that’s one reason they’re killing it in their world. They know what their audience wants and that’s precisely what they’re offering from their end.

So your other task should be to find a diverse range of influencers that represent the core values of the Generation Z-ers and befriend them. They must have the humour the G zers can laugh to. They should view them as equal, or an extension of them so they can relate to them on the same level.

And, in addition to all that, they should lace everything up with a hefty dose of rebellion, especially when it comes to societal expectations. After all, the kids want to have fun. The least you can do on your end is support them instead of joining their parents to lash out at them.

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Read this bearing in mind that this is NOT a one-time thing. Once you get an influencer that represents all these values, then you have to prepare yourself for a long term relationship. Attach some permanency in the relationship you’re about to develop and let it serve you for the next ten years or so, or until the next generation takes over.

Treat them as Adults

Anyone with the ability to buy is an adult in the world of marketing. They can make their own rational decisions, and decide on what they want to do with their money, regardless of whether they were given the money as handouts or worked hard for it. It’s still their money, and they’re the people to decide how to spend it.

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Deep down each one of them, there’re individual behaviour patterns and preferences. So forget about generalizing them or lumping them up as a whole and assigning them a particular stereotypical value.

So while talking to them, always learn to narrow them down to an individual level. Talk to each one of them like you do talk to a person on your level. Find out what they like or what they like to do with their time and money.

And all you’ll find out is that they’re still people at the core, with the only difference being that they were born into technology and at the age of web revolution. This makes them more tech-savvy and social naturals compared to millennials, who had to learn about it in their adult life.

So any effort to market to them should be technological, but at the same time, you should be attending to their individual behaviour and preferences. Just because you’re a GZers that doesn’t mean you’re also big on EDM music. People have different tastes and preferences, and post-millennials are no exception.

Entertain them- It’s never that Serious

Everyone wants to get a good laugh even when they are attending to serious matters. Entertaining ads in internet marketing often perform well among this group, because hitting the right buttons may not be enough. Remember, the jokes can only get funnier if they are directed at specific Gen Z Groups.

As a Singaporean brand marketer, you may fail to find the right jokes to grab their attention. You can use memes if you must, as long as they don’t hurt their esteem. You are doing something wrong if they are laughing and not getting the point of your jokes.

Avoid Portraying Profit-driven Motives

All businesses in Singapore can only grow if they make profits. While this may be one of your primary goals, it may not auger well with Gen Z members. This generation is aware of the impact your business has on the environmental, political, and socio-economic parameters of society today.

This generation tends to associate with celebrities more than anyone else. All they want is for you to customize your digital marketing skills through the brands they buy on e-commerce. It explains why they aspire to buy brands that uphold values and their expectations.

To instill a positive attitude towards your products, revise your core values first. After that, you can inform them about your motive for going that direction. If you are profit-driven irrespective of the damage you leave in the process, you run the risk of being avoided like the plague.

Optimize your Mobile-Friendly Website

Three-quarters of Post-Millennials in Singapore use their mobile phones or smartphones to access information and other entertaining features. It is assumed that most teens get their first phone when they are 12 or 13 years old. Their predecessors who are 25 to 34 years old may have gotten theirs when they were 20.

Being an E-Marketer means you view smartphones as personal assets. It is where they retrieve information, store their secrets, and share their experiences. People born in this age are reluctant to put their phones away to attend to other things.

You do realize that most teens love shopping online. So, as a Singapore entrepreneur, you will need to optimize for mobile devices. You can get a web developer to optimize your brand’s theme to make it more relevant. Ensure the navigation tools are easy-to-use.

Most importantly, you will need to create content that is familiar to them. Include vertical videos if you must. In the end, you will reach many like-minded people at the click of a button.

Forget All You Knew

Everything you knew about millennials is pure assumptions and conjectures. That’s the whole truth, so take your sweet time to convince yourself that you know absolutely nothing about this generation and start learning afresh.

There’s a massive gap between your generation and the Z generation. Unless you were born with a smartphone in your hand or grew in a world where the internet was nothing out of the ordinary, then your worldviews about this generation only apply in your mind.

As a marketer, take all the time you want to study and understand Generation Z. Study their behaviour and needs, and when you finally decide to sit down and come up with a marketing strategy, you’ll surely know how to target them best.

The Takeaway

This is the absolute truth about the G Zers. But there’s more, and this post only covers a small section of what you’re supposed to do while marketing to them. The truth is, this generation is NOT lost. If anything, we’re the lost generation and NOT them. We’re the undecided lot that’s still stuck with our old way while still holding on to the new paradigm.

For more clarification or help on the whole issue of advertising to Gen Z in Singapore, kindly make an effort to reach out to MediaOne marketing today with your query, and we will be glad to attend to your needs.

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About the Author

Tom Koh

Tom is the CEO and Principal Consultant of MediaOne, a leading digital marketing agency. He has consulted for MNCs like Canon, Maybank, Capitaland, SingTel, ST Engineering, WWF, Cambridge University, as well as Government organisations like Enterprise Singapore, Ministry of Law, National Galleries, NTUC, e2i, SingHealth. His articles are published and referenced in CNA, Straits Times, MoneyFM, Financial Times, Yahoo! Finance, Hubspot, Zendesk, CIO Advisor.


Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

Social Media




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