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No two generations are ever the same, but there has never been a generation that has demanded so much of a marketing department’s attention quite like Generation Z. On this episode of Marketing Trends, Kamal Bhandal, the Vice President of Global Marketing and Consumer Marketing for Align Technology, discusses how marketing teams are shifting their attention to connect with a younger generation and meet their needs. Plus she talks about why authenticity and storytelling are at the heart of their efforts to connect with that group.

Key Takeaways:

  • Demanding Attention: Generation Z is demanding the attention of marketers everywhere and forcing marketing departments to up their game when it comes to creativity. In order to appeal to a younger audience, marketers need to improve their creativity levels by telling authentic and different stories. If you can’t connect with Generation Z from an authenticity standpoint, you won’t be able to speak to them effectively.
  • Experimentation Breeds Success: Focus your efforts on trying new things. If your data is telling you your messaging isn’t working, it’s time to invest your resources into something new. Feel free to expand your horizons to understand what works for your brand and what doesn’t.
  • Consuming That Content: Media consumption has changed and as a result, content production strategies need to be adjusted as well. As consumers are spending more time with their devices, you should be experimenting with new ways to reach them where they are. 
  • Key Quotes:

“Marketing drives the overall strategy. We’re the closest to the consumer and really understand what the consumer wants and what the consumer needs, and then taking those wants and needs and translating them into both products as well as experiences.”

“The basics and the foundations of marketing have always been about understanding your audience, understanding their needs, and what their wants are.”

“Gen Z, quite honestly, has driven all of marketing. In so many ways it is really challenging all of us to ensure that our work has a level of creativity to it, and has a level of authenticity to it. ”

“So much of our marketing to Gen Z is about putting our brand in the mouths of Gen Z. We’re very fortunate that consumers have a great experience with Invisalign aligners. What we’re focused on letting them tell their stories, and those stories around how Invisalign has really shaped their life and helped them live their lives uninterrupted.”

“There’s no generation that is always the same, yet when you think about Gen Z, there are so many things about this generation that make them a generation that’s demanding more from brands.”

“[Data] is at the heart of our overall marketing stack.”

“We focus on measuring the results of experiments so that we can understand what’s the right message, what’s the right place to deliver that message. And what sort of impact does it actually drive for us versus going into it blind and just not having that line of sight.”

“Media consumption habits have changed in such a way that consumers are leaning into media consumption. As content consumption has increased, so has the exploration of different treatments or different things that may have been a part of the consideration journey before COVID for somebody, but perhaps just went on pause. I think consumers are finding themselves with more time with their devices to do the research and to do the exploration.”

“Stories are impactful for consumers and the combination of brand building and performance marketing, both living side-by-side in the same conversation, in such a way that it is driving your business. At some point in time, as an industry we did ourselves an injustice and we divorced performance marketing from brand marketing. And I think that brand marketing has always been about driving performance for the brand.”

Kamal Bhandal is currently leading consumer marketing for the Invisalign brand across the Americas region. She is a marketing maven and a sought-after speaker, with more than 18 years of global marketing experience across major consumer, healthcare and technology brands. Kamal is an expert in understanding consumer behavior and in building strategies utilizing social media and other digital channels.

With a team-centric leadership style, Kamal leads her teams to be consumer-centric and take on risks in order to test new marketing programs. She has led her team to create marketing initiatives targeting millennials and GenZ consumers and the work the team has done has consistently delivered double-digit growth in sales and won several industry awards for best in class marketing.

Kamal started her career in technology at Intel Corporation, working on both Latin America and North America businesses. From there, she spent several years in the software industry at Sun Microsystems in product management and led consumer-marketing teams at Johnson & Johnson within the diabetes industry targeting parents, children, and adult consumers. Prior to joining Align Technology, Kamal led the global commercial team for a Bay Area start-up in the women’s health space. Kamal holds an MBA from the University of San Francisco, a Bachelor of Science Degree from Santa Clara University and a certificate from the Stanford University Executive Program.

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