eTail Palm Springs 2024: Decoding Gen Z’s Marketing Blueprint

The eTail Palm Springs 2024 session highlighted Gen Z's complex marketing nature and provided a roadmap for brands looking to forge genuine connections with this pivotal demographic. By focusing on tr...
eTail Palm Springs 2024: Decoding Gen Z’s Marketing Blueprint
Written by Rich Ord
  • At the recent eTail Palm Springs 2024 conference, a standout session promised to illuminate the enigmatic Gen Z demographic. The discussion, led by Carly Berns, Co-Chair of The Z Suite, featured insights from Jeremy Lowenstein, Chief Marketing Officer and GM of International at Milani Cosmetics. The panel included a diverse group of Gen Z consumers, providing a rich ground for exploring effective marketing strategies aimed at this young and influential cohort.

    Understanding Gen Z Through Dialogue

    Carly Berns initiated the conversation by emphasizing the shift from traditional data-driven strategies to more personal interactions. “In a digital age where data prevails, we sometimes forget the human element in marketing. Today’s panel is about going back to basics and understanding Gen Z through real, unfiltered conversations,” Berns explained.

    This approach aligns with the growing necessity for brands to adopt a more hands-on and responsive marketing model that values direct feedback from consumers, mainly through social media listening and interactive platforms.

    Jeremy Lowenstein on Milani’s Evolution and Strategy

    Jeremy Lowenstein shared the evolution of Milani Cosmetics, a brand that has adeptly navigated the complexities of staying relevant despite its long history. “Milani was founded 23 years ago with two core principles: affordable luxury and radical inclusivity. We began with a focus on Black women, recognizing a significant gap in the mass market,” Lowenstein noted. He highlighted how this foundation helped Milani stay ahead of the curve, particularly in appealing to a generation that values inclusivity and authenticity.

    Discussing the brand’s strategic use of TikTok, Lowenstein said, “TikTok has not just been a platform for engagement but a powerful medium to amplify our foundational messages. Gen Z doesn’t just buy products; they buy into transparent and ethical narratives that align with their personal beliefs and views on social justice.”

    The Shift From Brand-Centric to Influencer-Driven Content

    The panel of Gen Z consumers discussed their content preferences that feel personal and relatable over polished, brand-generated messages. “When I discover a brand, I’m less interested in what the brand says about itself and more in what people like me are saying,” one panelist shared. This sentiment was echoed across the discussion, underscoring the pivotal role of influencers and user-generated content in shaping purchase decisions.

    Integrating Traditional and Digital Marketing Channels

    An exciting aspect of the discussion was the revival of traditional marketing channels, such as billboards and physical brand experiences, integrated with digital interactions. “Marketing is cyclical. What was old is new again, and there’s a robust comeback for methods like product placement and experiential marketing,” Lowenstein remarked. He illustrated this with Milani’s recent campaigns that cleverly integrate physical product interactions through pop-up events, amplified across social media platforms to maximize reach and engagement.

    Skepticism Towards TikTok Shop

    Despite the popularity of TikTok for content consumption among Gen Z, the panel received lukewarm responses from the platform’s e-commerce feature, TikTok Shop. A consumer noted, “If TikTok Shop disappeared tomorrow, I wouldn’t miss it. It feels too forced, and that’s off-putting.” This insight benefits marketers who are considering doubling down on social commerce as part of their strategy.

    Future Directions in Gen Z Marketing

    As the session concluded, Lowenstein provided further insights into adapting to the evolving market landscape. “As marketers, our challenge is to keep up with trends and anticipate them. Integrating community-focused initiatives with innovative digital strategies will be key to resonating with Gen Z,” he advised.

    The eTail Palm Springs 2024 session highlighted Gen Z’s complex marketing nature and provided a roadmap for brands looking to forge genuine connections with this pivotal demographic. By focusing on transparency, inclusivity, and community, brands can craft narratives that engage and inspire loyalty among Gen Z consumers.

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