You’re familiar with your customers. They already know you, buy from you, and (hopefully) like you. But what about all those people who aren’t engaging? For the “non-customer,” a little extra love (in the form of some clever segmentation) could go a long way.

Once you identify a hearty chunk of non-customers, select a portion to target. Slice your email list accordingly. You wouldn’t describe what you do at work the same way to your boss as you would to a child. Why would you sell a product to them in the same style just because they both have an email address? With segmentation you don’t have to. Armed with the pain points of that specific group, you can sell accordingly.

Let’s start with a hypothetical segmentation by age. Through data you’ve collected from email subscribers regarding their birthday, we’ll isolate the “Under 25” crowd. We know Generation Z was raised within a cradle of technology. They have been over-exposed to the digital medium and have perfected selective attentiveness. If you combine this with a distrust of structure an average digital marketer could face real obstacles. Luckily you’re no run-of-the-mill marketer!

Here are your quick tips on using existing knowledge about the iGeneration to earn that invaluable youth buy-in.

1. It's Upfront

When dealing with a generation distrustful of authority, it’s best to focus on first building brand trust. I recently spoke to a friend about an online purchase and he explained that he bought the item on Amazon—even though it was more expensive—because “Amazon just seems friendly or something.” Makes sense to me.

So how does that translate to your emails? Here’s a compare and contrast.

Roundabout Subject Line: Uh oh! Did you have technical difficulties at checkout?

Upfront Subject Line: You left stuff in your cart—just wanted to remind you!

Both of these subjects probably look familiar, but they resonate differently. Adopting an existential air in your non-transactional emails could be a great way to be forthcoming. What’s more, it avoids what I’ll dub the deadly sin of email marketing to youth: appearing like your trying (and failing) to trick the recipient into believing something. (For example: Writing “Just for you, <NAME>!” in a subject line to make a marketing email be confused for an email from a friend.)

2. It Tickles Your Brain

Teens are infamous for ignoring things they don’t want to deal with and, sometimes for these subscribers, marketing emails fall into the “ignore” pile. Luckily, there’s a simple solution: make your email worth opening. Up the creative game and have fun with your emails. That may mean an interoffice competition or some market research with your coworkers’ teenage children, but you’ll be amazed how your content evolves. Here’s a quirky example from Bonobos following a cart I abandoned earlier in the week as well as a riddle campaign from LivingSocial.


3. It Feels Human

Idealists at heart, a huge proportion of today’s college graduates are pursuing long-term volunteer programs before entering the workforce. Even in the era of technology, people go to great lengths to connect with other people–not so for template HTML. Luckily, your company is madeof people. Why disguise that?

There’s no room left for humanity when perfection, omnipresence, and elusiveness are a brand’s staples. It’s time to introduce your customers to your company just as you would introduce family over Thanksgiving dinner: through sharing analogies, featuring real employees, and giving customers a behind-the-scenes look at your facilities. Sorry iStockphoto, you just won’t cut it.


So that’s that. Throw out some conventional wisdoms in favor of child-like humility in your youth-centric marketing, folks. Gen Z has arrived and it’s here for… well… a lifetime!

Questions on segmentation? Let us know.

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