The rise of gender-neutral marketing pronouns

Marketers are scrambling to keep up with more and more people embracing gender fluidity. This is especially true with teenagers and young adults. They have long ditched the idea that girls play with dolls and boys play with trucks. According to a study by the J. Walter Thompson Innovation Group, 56% of U.S. Gen Zers know someone who prefers a gender-neutral pronoun such as they/them or a new pronoun such as ze. They do not prefer he/she or she/he.

The study found that only 48% of Gen Zers identify as exclusively heterosexual, compared to 65% of Millennials aged 21 to 34.

On a scale of zero to six, where zero signified completely straight and six meant completely homosexual, more than a third of the young demographic chose a number between one and five, indicating that they were bisexual to some degree. Only 24% of their older counterparts identified this way.

Fifty-six percent of 13-to-20-year-olds said that they knew someone who went by gender neutral pronouns such as "they," "them," or "ze," compared to 43% of people age 28 to 34. Over a third of Gen Zer respondents also strongly agreed that gender does not define a person as much as it used to. This figure dropped to 23% among Millennials who were 28 and up.

Implications for CLVs

Any CLVs that want to attract Gen Z and younger adults need to update their marketing materials, including their websites, with the preferred pronouns and gender options. This is not only a way to connect with those in these age groups who identify as gender nonconforming, but it eschews stereotypes and makes the CLV own their values.