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Empowering Consumer Behaviour: How Gen-Z is Dismantling the Marketing Funnel in 2024

News flash: making a sale is no longer the be-all and end-all of marketing funnels. 

Unsurprisingly, the linear approach of shepherding consumers through a one-size-fits-all funnel, pushing them from one stage to the next until they eventually make a purchase, is not working.

A reinforced method that has long been the golden rule of marketing is now being dismantled and ditched altogether as troves of consumers realise that it doesn’t speak and connect with what matters to them.

While this may have been felt by generations beforehand, the evolution has Gen-Z in the driving seat. They are not only turning the marketing funnel on its head but freshening up how they search, research, and decide on purchasing.

So, what is the new approach to driving sales? Read on to discover the key turning points to incorporate in a robust marketing strategy for today.

By the way, Webbiz knows a thing or two about marketing. Looking for a future-proof strategy to boost conversions? Contact us

What does the traditional marketing funnel look like?

The broad, inverted triangle consists of four key steps that prioritise reaching a wide audience with general adverts that speak to everyone and no one in particular. 

The traditional funnel pushes consumers through the following stages:

  1. Awareness: The goal at the top of the funnel is to make potential customers aware of your brand, product, or service.
  2. Interest: Once aware, the focus shifts to generating interest and consideration among potential customers. This might involve providing more information about your offerings and demonstrating their value.
  3. Decision: As potential customers move further down the funnel, the goal is to encourage them to decide to purchase your product or service. This often involves providing persuasive content, offers, or incentives.
  4. Action: Finally, the bottom of the funnel is where potential customers take action, such as making a purchase or signing up for a service. This is the ultimate goal of the marketing funnel.
men-women-texting-smartphones-nightclub-generated-by-ai-1- marketing funnel

How has this changed?

The traditional linear chute that ends in purchase does not resonate at all with the younger generations – and that’s because the buying process is not linear. 

Like any relationship, consumers seek trust, authenticity, and partnership. As a result, the typical marketing model has been scrapped and now focuses on:

  1. Inspiration
  2. Exploration
  3. Community 
  4. Loyalty

How has Gen-Z flipped this?

They do their own research.

Your brand’s claims are irrelevant; younger generations now rely on your social media comment section or reviews to truly understand your product/service offering.

In fact, social media is the primary search engine for deep-diving into a brand – first collecting recommendations from friends before gathering insights on the product, service, fit or packaging.

According to this research carried out by youth culture agency Archrival, seven in 10 Gen Zers fact-check everything they see online, and 69 per cent of millennials only trust a brand after conducting their own research, a result of 56 per cent discovering that brands often lie about their products.  

Even impulse decisions are only made after reading at least a few reviews. This thorough research is influencing other generations, too, as 67% of consumers say Gen Z has impacted how they buy things online and through apps.

What opportunity does this create for your brand?

A space to become educators in your field. As the consumer seeks a deeper understanding, this opens up the floor for brands to provide informative content for their product/service—to earn that trust from the customer.


They want to be inspired

The rise and normalisation of social media have made platforms a central hub for Gen Z and even millennials to be entertained, inspired, part of a community, and pledge their loyalty.

Three in 10 Gen Z reportedly use social media to source inspiration and are 11 per cent more likely to do this than any other generation. Yet, 80 per cent agree that they are exposed to more brands and advertising than any other generation, which has the opposite effect on winning them over.

While they are actively looking for it, they also don’t want it constantly pushed upon them. 

Instead, they crave discovery through new trends, which they believe are ignited well by influencers instead of celebrities. 

What opportunity does this create for your brand?

Standing out in crowded destinations is paramount. It’s important to allow your consumers to discover your brand naturally yet in innovative and unique ways that capture their attention and pique their interest. Storytelling has become a huge part of connecting with your consumers and inspiring your audience.

They want to be part of a community

Simply selling a product is no longer enough. From creating Spotify playlists and podcasts to live events to UGC content, brands go above and beyond to connect with consumers.

According to Archrival’s research, 84 per cent of Gen Z are more likely to buy from brands they see as “cool,” and these brands do more than sell products.

Building community creates a sense of belonging to a generation that is viewed as one of the lonely due to its around-the-clock use of social media. 

Rewarding this growing community through insider events for the most engaged followers, behind-the-scenes content, and expert-led tutorials will forge a stronger bond between your brand and the consumer. In turn, this results in loyalty and a returning customer.

What opportunity does this create for your brand?

Get your customers involved more. The relationship doesn’t have to start and end at the sale stage. Host events and invite them along, treat them to exclusive content only and ask them to share their thoughts and opinions on your next steps so that they feel involved and listened to.


They are reinventing brand loyalty

For decades, loyalty became a thing of consumers simply falling for a product or service and sticking to what they know forever more. 

It also served as a way for brands to reward consumers for recurring purchases through loyalty programmes and schemes. 

Fast-forward to Gen Zs, and the roles have reversed. They are seeking what the brand can offer them and how it can win over their loyalty.

“Gen Zs are reinventing the very notion of brand loyalty. They’re largely open to it, but they expect brands to earn it — and to continue to win them over in new and innovative ways for the long haul”, says an article by FastCompany. 

In turn, Gen-Z admits to being loyal before they’ve made a purchase, engaging with your brand, boosting social media likes, and sharing your name among close circles and colleagues. 

While they are extremely loyal, they have started off very non-committal. This means they are hard to win over but more likely to stay once you have. 

What opportunity does this create for your brand?

Celebrate the consumer post-purchase, whether that’s through client testimonials or UGC content of what the customer bought. Switching your focus to putting the people first will lead to unbreakable customer loyalty. 



Where does this leave brand marketing?

It’s thrown purchasing habits under the spotlight. Instead of focusing on a buying process with a start and end point, Gen-Z has encouraged the notion that a brand’s marketing focus should always be on the people instead of the process when it comes to driving sales.

By nurturing genuine relationships and empowering customers to become advocates, the traditional purchase funnel naturally aligns itself, albeit without a rigid linear structure.

Leveraging Gen-Z insights enables targeting an impressionable market and facilitates engagement with other generations through tailored, personalised content that deeply resonates.

As the saying goes, ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it..’ but as Gen-Z proves, it is faulty and needs repairing. 

Looking to target Gen-Z?

At Webbiz, we craft dynamic strategies tailored to engage younger demographics.

Together we can explore ways to revitalising your marketing approach in order to connect with generations that don’t relate to traditional methods.

Connect with us to unlock your potential today.

Gen Z purchasing process, simplified

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