Pinpointing the right strategy to market to Gen Z digital natives can feel as fickle as ever-changing TikTok trends. In 2023, Gen Z marketing requires more than just selling a product. This generation has raised the bar not only with their short attention span, but with their value-conscious perspective and digitally integrated sense of identities. 

In this way, understanding how to captivate this audience comes with the understanding that each member of the Gen Z audience is a brand themselves – and they’re looking for more than appeal. They’re looking for alignment. 

gen z marketing trends

So as we enter 2023, you may be wondering: What youth marketing trends should my marketing team watch out for? Luckily, we’ve done the work for you. With over 30 years of experience marketing to young people, we take pride in our ability to make Gen Z marketing predictions that fuel our clients campaigns. 

From the team of experts at Refuel, here are our top Gen Z marketing trends to keep an eye out for in 2023:

Read next: The Ultimate Guide to Marketing to Gen Z

1. Gen Z is attracted by personality & entertainment

In order to truly connect with Gen Z, you’re going to have to start showing off your brand’s personality. Have you looked at a Gen Zer’s Instagram feed lately? The collection of low-def shots, candid moments, and generation-relatable memes highlight the fact that Gen Z is all about personality, authenticity, and genuine connection. So in 2023, it’s time to ditch the highly curated content and get real. 

The question becomes: How can your brand create authentic, branded experiences that authentically drive engagement? Fourteen-year-old entrepreneur Mercer Henderson explains that her friends don’t use Snapchat filters that look like branded campaigns. After all, what are they getting out of using a filter with a company’s logo on in? Instead, Henderson recommends creating filters that interact with users’ personalities, like the all-time favorite puppy filter. 

The moral of the story? Be real, be funny, and create experiences that tie into Gen Z’s sense of identity and personality. That’s how brand-consumer connection is formed in 2023. 

Read next: 6 Examples of Brands That Got Gen Marketing Right

2. Gen Z consumers care about your values & mission

Gen Z is a highly conscious generation, aware of their surroundings and passionate about social, political, and environmental change. They don’t know a reality without a wealth of information and diverse perspectives at their fingertips, allowing them to be well-informed, empathetic, and self-assured. This generation views their purchasing behavior in line with their values, so they are more likely to support brands that they believe are making a positive impact.

The pandemic did nothing if not increase Gen Z’s awareness, empathy, sense of social responsibility, and belief systems. Gen Z is looking around at a country that has experienced vast change, isolation, and loss in the last year, and they want to help. One in twelve parents reported that their teen has protested police brutality and racism. In a survey last year, 39% of teens reported that they “deeply care” about the impact humans are having on the planet, and 80% of teens reported that they feel pressure to save it. And according to brand-new research conducted by Refuel Agency, 59.3% of people under 25 care about racial equality, 55% care about mental health and suicide prevention, 46% care about education, and 42% care about preventing police brutality.

In 2023, we’re seeing brands take a stand and leverage their unique products, services, and technologies to drive change and benefit their communities. For example, at the beginning of the pandemic, H&M quickly leveraged its supply chain to begin producing PPE for frontline workers. Cards Against Humanity rushed their free, family-friendly version to keep families entertained at home. Multiple fashion brands let WHO take over their Instagram accounts.

Brands have powerful platforms with which they can enact change — and in 2021, Gen Zers most of all, want to see them use it. 

Read next: How to Find the Right Cause for Your Brand to Support

3. Gen Z consumers pay attention to influencers

For a generation used to targeted ads and that craves authenticity, influencers offer advertisers an opportunity to better connect. Fourteen-year-old entrepreneur Mercer Henderson explains that brands that advertise through up-and-coming “personalities” are able to create a relationship with teens. Teens like to discover new personalities, and if a brand helps them do that through promoting their product, then they’re more likely to trust and like that brand. 

So what kind of influencers do Gen Z like? Interestingly, Gen Z is less inclined towards movie stars or athletes. Instead, teens gravitate towards Internet personalities found on popular apps and streaming services. A few favorites include Charli D’Amelio, Khaby Lame, Addison Rae, JoJo Siwa, James Charles, and Bretman Rock (according to Grin). 

When it comes to influencing young consumers, don’t underwrite the power of influencers – in 2023, they’re here to stay.

Read next: How to Advertise to Parents (to Reach Teens)

Marketing to Gen Z isn’t just important—winning over your Gen Z customers is crucial for your business’ long-term success. Luckily, understanding and influencing this customer base isn’t hard—it just requires some familiarity with a new generation’s perspective on life, what their values are, and how they interact with the world around them.  

Are you ready to create a Gen Z marketing strategy that will stand out from the crowd in 2023? Contact us today to get started. 

Christina O'Toole

Christina is a data-driven, full stack marketer with over 20 years success leading marketing in technology, higher ed and publishing industries. Christina has developed hundreds of marketing campaigns and built all facets of programs including lifecycle journeys, creative direction and lead generation. She now heads corporate marketing at Refuel Agency.