23rd January 2020

On 2020 marketing trends and Gen Z with Alex, our Marketing Manager.

by Alex


Alex joined KOTA in June 2019 as the Marketing Manager. On a daily basis, she is responsible for the digital marketing strategy for clients and the agency. Despite being only 21, she already has a few years of experience, having previously worked at an app and interior decor company. Alex also has a business mindset stemming from her academic background in Business Management and participation in a start-up programme at Queen Mary University. Her passion for analytics and marketing trends is only matched by her love of illustration. Check out her illustrations here.

What are the marketing trends for 2020?

Customers are more and more interested in personalisation, for both products and services, as well as suggestions for future purchases. It’s quite challenging for big companies who are targeting the general public – after all, how do you provide everybody with personalised experience without compromising profit margins? At the same time, for smaller businesses, it’s an opportunity to boost their Unique Selling Point and appeal to those customers who want to stand out.

Also, the utilization of AI in marketing has been increasing and it’s a very powerful tool. With the use of big data, you can detect emerging trends before they go mainstream and understand your customers better than ever. With hyper-targeted messaging marketers can significantly increase the sales. 

At the same time, people are more cautious about the use of their personal information used for business purposes and trust organisations less. That’s why on online platforms users switch to groups and private conversations, which is another challenge to marketers. Companies are using WhatsApp as a means of promotion already. On one hand, it’s building closer relationships with the customer, but on the other – privacy invasion, according to some.

Similarly, influencer marketing is going to be less impactful, as influencers with a few million followers and lucrative brand deals struggle with being relatable and true to themselves. This will lead to the shift of focus towards micro-influencers and word of mouth marketing. 

What are the most inspiring brands to follow?

I have a marketing crush on Glossier, their strategy is fabulous. Engaged customer base is the key to their success. From seamless online shopping experiences to their offline pop-ups – it’s all well-organised and engages their customers on multiple levels, across platforms.

Considering the biggest global brands, one of my favourites is Nike. Their campaigns probably don’t need any introduction, always very inspiring, even to couch-potatoes like me – emotional marketing at its best. 

IKEA is also a great example, I like their ads created by Mother London. The recent Christmas ad had some good momentum. Their outdoor ads and print are very creative as well, with the controversial pregnancy test ad that reveals a discount for cribs or ‘Skit Happens’ promoting the assembly service.

Another good one from the cosmetics industry is Lush, promoting eco-friendly and cruelty-free lifestyle in a non-intrusive manner. They also rely on customer engagement and word of mouth marketing. The ‘Lush Showcase’ events are pretty exciting too. The only thing I’m not sure about Lush is the withdrawal of UK account from social media (as a protest towards decreased reach) was a good choice, especially since the US keeps on posting.

How does the approach to marketing differ for Gen Z?

I’m one of the oldest, so the first ones to enter the workforce of my generation, so this is an interesting topic for me. Some say Gen Zers are Millennials 2.0 but it’s not true, as each generation has a slightly different background. In general, Gen Z is less optimistic and more careful with spending money, because as children we saw the impact of the 2008 crisis on parents and older siblings. Also, unlike Millennials, we don’t remember the times before the internet and so the way we perceive it is slightly different. 

The key consumption patterns can be summarized to:

  • access rather than possession: the shift of focus and emergence of services like Spotify, Netflix, Uber and Gig Economy
  • expression of individual identity: not all about the brand anymore, brand loyalty is harder to achieve and maintain, businesses need to offer a means of expression
  • a matter of ethical concern: companies appeal to young consumers by sharing the same values and employing better Corporate Social Responsibility practices.

It’s good to keep in mind that Gen Zers have the shortest attention span and have practised weeding out irrelevant content for the majority of their lives, so to make sure the message reaches them, it’s important to be genuine and provide real value in online communications. 

Is it hard for a young person to find a job in marketing?

It’s always hard to find the first job, in any industry, but it seems to me that there are slightly more entry-level job openings in marketing than in science or arts. At the same time, it’s very competitive, because of the variety of backgrounds people can get into marketing from (Business and Management, PR and Journalism, Psychology). 

For me, it was when I was 19, at TouchNote, where I initially got into digital marketing. I think that my illustrative endeavours and lots of different projects I did during my IB Programme helped me to stand out from the crowd of applicants. Throughout my (still rather short) career, I’ve been lucky because I always had a lot of freedom to establish my way of working and gain some confidence in my skills.

Young people are often unsure about what they can do to increase the chances of being employed other than having good grades. Taking tests well proves very little about a person’s creativity and motivation, which are probably the most important factors when hiring young talent, simply because they don’t have much experience. The sooner you start to work the sooner you get that work experience and progress your career. It’s definitely challenging to balance work and studying, but in the end, it’s worth it.

You are also a great illustrator, how did you get into that? 

I was always doodling during school classes and all my friends liked it and encouraged me. I was never taught how to draw ‘properly’ (pretty useless since I wanted to be a dentist as a kid) and the style of drawing just evolved as I was growing up. I started my art blog as a 13-year old and jokingly called it nonsense-warehouse, so in case someone questions my abilities I could always say ‘what were you expecting, it’s called nonsense warehouse after all’. 

After a few features on Tumblr, I gained some confidence in my illustrations and an influx of new followers. Later I got into Rookie Mag (which used to be the go-to site for teenage girls) and illustrated a few bits and pieces for them. This was the first money I have ever earned. Then there was G’rls Room (Polish feminist magazine), where I did illustrations for their magazines and thanks to that I was featured in a few exhibitions alongside amazing Polish illustrators. From time to time I also drew for Szajn – an online magazine similar to Rookie, but Polish. In the meantime, I had a few other projects and launched an online shop. 

I’m hoping to get back to illustrating in 2020, now I don’t have much time in between sleep, work, uni and my deep passion for binging Netflix series.

Interested in working with us? Call the KOTA studio on +44(0)20 3951 0562.