The email marketer’s guide to Generation Z

Gen Z are taking over.

But that shouldn’t be a surprise.

As today’s teenagers and young adults, Gen Z are the natural successors to influencing culture, education, employment, and consumerism.

And they already control a spending power of $143 billion annually.

Email marketers may feel that they’ve only just got to grips with millennials. But as Gen Z make up a third of the world’s population, there’s no time to waste in familiarising yourself with this powerful generation.

In this guide, we will introduce who Gen Z are, how they engage with marketing, and how you can send out email campaigns to win them over.

For email marketers, better starts here.

Who are Gen Z?

Chances are, you’ve read about Gen Z in the media, on social platforms, or even in memes.

Gen Z Memes Example

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But let’s dig a little deeper into the specifics of this generation.

Gen Zs were born between 1997 – 2012, and make up the generation following millennials. They have been raised in a world fully immersed in technology, the internet, and social media. Making them the very first generation of absolute digital natives. So perhaps unsurprisingly, they are often judged and as being addicted to technology, anti-social, and also as “social justice warriors”.

But we are not here to judge. In fact, we believe that Gen Z are one of the most fascinating and exciting generations for marketers, if not for society as a whole.

Insights into Gen Z

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How do Gen Z engage with marketing?

Gen Z embrace diversity, pragmatism, politics, community, and ethics in pretty much everything they do. Particularly in their purchasing behaviour.

Here are some of the key elements of marketing that Gen Z engage with the most.


Instead of following trends, Gen Z will shop where suits them in the moment. In fact, they are 56% more likely to shop in-store than other generations, appreciating the face to face interactions. And are also the generation most likely to shop via social media.


Gen Z want to buy from brands that are ethical and practice corporate responsibility. If a brand has been proven to lie, break their promise, or act unethically, then Gen Z aren’t interested.


This generation are also savvy consumers. With technology at their fingertips, they will spend time researching the very best deal. Meaning they are not so attached and loyal to specific brands.


In a recent study, Vogue Business found that one in five Gen Z respondents report they have used buy now, pay later (BNPL) solutions in order to buy more expensive, higher quality products that will last longer. Instead of buying into cheaper, fast fashion.


Gen Z demand an individual shopping experience, one that is personalised to their own tastes and buying behaviour. Growing up immersed in technology and automation, one-size-fits-all marketing doesn’t cut it for this generation.

How to market to Gen Z with email

Now that we’ve identified some of the key elements of marketing that Gen Z engage with, let’s look at how this translates into successful email marketing.

Get personal

Growing up with the latest in technology and automation, Gen Z aren’t particularly forgiving when it comes to marketing that isn’t tailored to their interests.

In fact, 26% of Gen Z teenagers report that they actually expect retailers to offer a more personalised experience.

Generic, spray and pray email has no chance of engaging this generation. Instead, your email communications need to utilise data to create and send targeted and personalised communications based on the recipient’s demographic and behavioural data.

Fortunately, email is the ideal channel for personalisation at every step of the Gen Z buying journey.

Basic personalisation

Even adding a little basic personalisation can go a long way with Gen Z. This could include simple touches such as adding their first name into the subject line or body copy of your email. Or sending out personalised emails on special dates such as their birthday.


If you have access to more data, you can use this to segment your audience based on similarities. This could be where they live or the types of items they tend to buy.

One popular strategy is RFM (recency, frequency, monetary) segmentation. To achieve this, use purchasing data to divide your audience by how recently they have purchased, how frequently, and how much they spend.

You can then send the most appropriate email communications to each segment. Such as promoting your higher value items to your highest spenders.

Dynamic content

If you want to get even more advanced, you can personalise your emails based on purchase and behavioural data.

By adding dynamic content blocks into your email, you can tailor sections of content based on individual recipients’ purchasing and browsing behaviour.

This could include product recommendations based on past purchases. Or abandoned basket reminders for those who didn’t finish their purchase.

Email Marketing Example from Mango

Communicate values

Gen Z have strong beliefs when it comes to politics, the environment, and socio-economic causes. And they want the brands they buy from to feel the same.

That’s why 55% of Gen Z consumers prefer to purchase from brands that practice and preach social and economic stability.

For instance, when brands and corporations made promises to support the Black Lives Matter movements in 2020, 67% of Gen Z reported that their buying decisions were influenced by whether these businesses kept to their promises.

This means that your email marketing cannot purely be focused on sell, sell, sell. It should also be used as a platform to engage and educate audiences on causes that your brand truly believes in.

And by “truly” we mean championing causes and building relationships that you can truly follow through with. This could be anything from your campaigns and branding, to practising sustainability within your production process.

Values communication from Uber

Provide social proof

68% of Gen Z consumers read 3 or more reviews before making a purchasing decision.

As a generation that are so focused on community, it’s not surprising that they would turn to other purchasers for reviews and recommendations.

This means that social proof is a powerful tool for any brand.

Social proof can come in many forms. Reviews, ratings, testimonials, case studies, social media posts, and videos. Essentially, anything that demonstrates that others are enjoying your products and trust your brand.

Email is the ideal channel for gathering social proof from multiple sources and sharing it with your database.

Product ratings

You could promote your most popular products via email, complete with their positive star ratings. And with the use of dynamic content, you can automatically pull this data through from your rating platform.


Testimonials come in all shapes and sizes. Quotes, reviews, and social media posts.

They are a great form of UGC (user-generated content), meaning that as well as providing social proof for your audience, it also offers you a source of engaging content, without the hard work.

The more visual a testimonial the better, so include photos or videos wherever possible. Especially if they are from well-known influencers.

Social feeds

Another use of dynamic content is to add real-time social feeds into your emails. These can update in real-time to show your own social posts or posts from your followers and fans.

However, if you’re a brand that is prone to negative feedback, you may wish to utilise social proof that you have more control over.

Email Marketing Example from New Look

Keep it engaging

With access to so much technology, media, and entertainment, we can understand why Gen Z are known to have short attention spans. With research finding that after 8 seconds Gen Z can lose interest and disengage.

This generation are also are prone to bouncing between multiple screens at one time. So, it’s clear that brands need to focus on creating the most engaging emails possible for this generation.

Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Use striking imagery and photography to immediately grab attention
  • Keep copy short and snappy, no lengthy paragraphs
  • Use headers to break up content so recipients can skim
  • Utilise lots of white space so recipients aren’t overwhelmed with information
  • Space out your links and CTAs

Email Marketing Example from Deliveroo

Give them control

Gen Z appreciate that their data can be used to make their lives easier. And therefore they are less conflicted than other generations about handing over their information.

That being said, with the amount of digital noise that Gen Z are exposed to every day, you do not want to become white noise. Therefore, put your recipients in control of the frequency and type of communications that you send to them.

This can easily be achieved with the use of a preference centre, which should ideally be accessed via any email communication you send.

A preference centre allows recipients to manage and edit the data your brand has access to. The type of communications they receive, such as newsletters, promotions, and deals. And also how frequently they hear from you.

By putting Gen Z in the driving seat, they will continue to trust your brand and be happy for you to use their data. Creating a mutually beneficial relationship.

Preference centre example from ASOS

Are you wanting to engage with Gen Z?

With the eldest Gen Zs entering the workforce, this generation’s buying power will only increase. So there’s no time to waste in getting your Gen Z strategy up and running.

Marketing to this generation doesn’t have to be a headache. With the use of our all-in-one AI email and web marketing platform, alongside our dedicated customer success team, we’ll have your Gen Z audience growing and engaging in no time.

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