Marketing December 27, 2017 Last updated September 22nd, 2018 3,709 Reads share

What Your Brand Needs To Know About Email Marketing to Generation Z, Plus 9 Brands Doing It Right

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starts things off right. Both the subject line and the pre-header use fun emojis (the company has even created their own Sephoji app to cater to younger demos) and speak to Gen Z’s desire to go behind the scenes with people they admire. 

The email emphasizes the “real-life” authenticity of Rihanna’s look, and how it’s helping expand global definitions of beauty in its design “for women of all skin tones” (which are still woefully underrepresented by many of the major beauty brands). Finally, the email creates multiple jumping off points to the various screens Gen Zers use: they can watch a quick 3-step YouTube video featuring Miss RiRi herself, or virtually try on makeup using the Sephora app.

#3. Welcome to Adidas

Adidas remains a popular brand with Gen Z, and their emails explain why. They reward users for subscribing with a 15% off coupon, and their imagery focuses on young people having fun. They show everyday, smiling people enjoying their lives while wearing Adidas clothing. It’s about the customer living their best life, not Adidas making the most money.

#4. H&M: Look Good, Do Good

H&M wants Gen Z to know they believe they can make the world a better place, but still look good doing it. They even found a clever way to bring people into their stores with a clothing recycling day on Earth Day.

H&M also does a good job getting the point across with a heavy focus on imagery and minimal text. With a clever play on words (“Go Green, Wear Blue”) and callout that H&M jeans are “conscious denim,” Gen Zers can feel good about shopping at H&M.

#5. Victoria’s Secret PINK Nation

It’s easy to see from their email that Victoria’s Secret’s PINK collection targets young shoppers. Victoria’s Secret customizes the brand for Gen Z, using youthful color choices and fonts, inviting recipients to “shop your school” through their collegiate collection, and leaning into the temporary nature of their preferred social networks like Snapchat through a “pop-up blog.”

Showing that they walk the talk, the PINK experience continues once users click through to the website. They’re taken straight to the home page for the PINK sub-brand, which utilizes a different header, font, and even account logo than the standard Victoria’s Secret page (it’s a dog instead of a heart). The PINK Nation home page highlights their “campus life” content and their Instagram, which includes personalized local city accounts. All this adds up to a true lifestyle hub, a social media destination worthy of Gen Z’s time online, instead of just a place to buy new bras and underwear.

#6. Urban Outfitters Keeps Things Fresh

Urban Outfitters constantly keeps things fresh with entirely redesigned and radically different, but all equally fun, email newsletters. These funky emails stand out in Generation Z inboxes, and despite an occasionally cluttered design, the essential information is always clear. From sales to co-branded events, UO keeps their brand top of mind with Gen Z shoppers.

#7. The Chubbies Lifestyle

Chubbies became famous for their no-holds-barred content marketing and unabashedly short shorts for men. They don’t just sell shorts; they offer shoppers a carefree beer-and-shorts lifestyle. Sales emails like this one barely even mention the shorts – they let the image do the talking:

The brand’s abandoned cart emails have made the internet rounds for their hilarity. With a distinct voice that pervades all their content, they’re funny, to the point, and effective.

#8. Asos Caters to Curves

While brands are starting to offer plus-size lines, they’re often tucked away in the stores and  altogether ignored in their marketing. Asos takes a decidedly different approach: their Curve Crew makes plus-size women not only feel welcomed, but part of an exclusive group. They do more than just offer a few token plus-size items. Instead, Asos offers dedicated emails, special promos for plus-size brands, and even plus-size stylists to cater to all aspects of the buying experience.

Asos maintains a clean look across all their emails, using pops of color to highlight important text callouts and relying on big images to sell the product. They do a wonderful job making sure their emails are responsive and look good, regardless of which device they’re being viewed on.

#9. Content that Sells: Warby Parker

Warby Parker has since expanded into retail stores, but the e-commerce brand has always known how to be successful online. They consistently use the same blue font for CTAs across all their marketing, training customers to know where they’re supposed to click.

Their content often uses hand drawn sketches, expressing their modern brand look and mimicking the frame of glasses at the same time. They also provide Gen Z with fun content that helps them live a better life. Instead of an email saying, “Hey, check out our latest sunglasses!” Warby Parker presents a whimsical look at how to wear sunglasses indoors, amusing customers while at the same time persuading them to buy.


Email marketing for Generation Z can be extremely effective, when done right. Take a cue from the brands above. Be instant. Be personal. Be authentic.

Michael Quoc

Michael Quoc

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