Connor Blakley Discusses Marketing to Gen Z, “Good Cop — Bad Cop” Economy, and the Real Meaning of ROI


Remember how last week we spoke with Jamie Turner about how mobile marketing and social media marketing are becoming more and more important?

Well, this is just a symptom of an even bigger change — one that will take the world of business and marketing by storm.

By 2021, 40% of customers will be Gen Z-ers — the generation that grew up in a world of technology, the true digital natives. The generation that can filter through more than 200,000 ads per month to determine what is really worthy of their attention.

Gen Z doesn’t respond to traditional marketing any more than you would respond to those old-timey early XXth-century newspaper ads. They dislike being sold to even more than millennials, and prioritize a great customer experience over everything else.

And in case you’re thinking, “Well, 2021 is 5 years away” — here’s another surprising statistic… 95% of families in the US admit that their Gen Z kids influence 4 out of 5 household purchases.

How’s that for relevance?

To sell your products or services to Gen Z customers effectively, you need a completely different approach to marketing. That’s why in this week’s episode of Get Genius podcast, we sit down to chat with Connor Blakley — a 17-year-old entrepreneur who made a name for himself advising brands of all sizes on how to connect with today’s youth.

At 17, here’s an impressive list of what Connor has achieved so far (imagine what else he will accomplish in the next 10 years!):

  • His entrepreneurial journey started at 7 years old, when he’d collect cool-looking rocks from his neighbors’ backyard and try to sell them back. Then he tried running an entire franchise of lemonade stands, and a homework-selling network he started at 14 (for which he nearly got expelled).
  • Later, Connor founded a social media marketing consultancy that quickly grew to 50 clients — most of them medium-sized businesses — all over the United States.
  • He routinely speaks at schools, conferences, and companies, works with marketing consultancies to advise brands like Toyota, L’Oreal, Microsoft, and others.

Connor has been featured on Entrepreneur, Inc., Forbes, Huffington Post, StartUp Grind, and many more publications. Even at 17, his insights and thinking about business and marketing exceed those of entrepreneurs twice his age and with ten times as much experience.

In this episode, you’ll learn a new way to think about ROI, what’s so special about Gen Z customers, and how to think about selling to those younger customers. Summer has enjoyed this interview tremendously, and we hope you do, too!

Here’s what you will learn:

Introducing Connor [00:41]

Connor’s journey to becoming an entrepreneur [03:00]

Who are Gen Z customers, and what differentiates them from millennials [04:54]

“Good cop, bad cop” economy [06:30]

Connor’s process for absorbing information and learning new skills — fast [10:33]

Connor’s favorite influencers [12:09]

Ineffective marketing strategies you shouldn’t waste your time on [13:57]

The future of social media [15:40]

Building relationships — the right way [20:16]

Connor’s prognosis on the future of marketing in the next five years [24:25]

Connor’s advice for young entrepreneurs — what to focus on and what not to do [25:39]

Thoughts on college education [27:46]

The key to happiness, according to Connor [31:18]

Resources from Connor:

Connor Blakley


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