Youth marketing
min read

7 key learnings from Pion's YMS NYC 2024 event

Written by
Izzy Hall
Published on
March 28, 2024
Last updated
March 28, 2024

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Youth Marketing Strategy (YMS) is the event where the future of youth culture is decided. It’s the place for marketers to come together and explore the future of the landscape, learn, network, and discuss. It’s the youth marketing event of the year. 

This month, guests from across the US joined the Pion team in New York for our thirteenth YMS NYC event. With speakers from Uber, YouTube, Amazon, and UN Women, we had panels, fireside chats, Q&As, and presentations. We said we were getting bigger and better, and we delivered… 

Keep your eyes peeled for plenty of exciting content to come, but for now, check out our key takeaways below.

7 takeaways from YMS NYC

1. Prioritise the human 

Remember that audiences are humans first, consumers second. Making an impact with Gen Z is all about connection, and they’re not going to get that from a faceless brand! 

IRL opportunities will become more important than ever before as we look to the future - these events are where people come together to step out of their comfort zone, form new relationships, and stay connected. 

2. Video is the key to success

Thanks to the enormous power of TikTok, marketers need to prioritize video content in their strategies if they want to connect and grow their brand with Gen Z. 

Make the most of these opportunities by working with creators - not only do they go down a treat with Gen Z, but the algorithm loves them too! 

(P.S. We can help you out with that! Check out Pion’s Student Beans Creators program for more)

3. Don’t ignore the difference between influencers and content creators

Whilst we’re on the topic of creators… 

Many people use the terms ‘influencer’ and ‘content creator’ interchangeably: this is a big no-no. Each serves a unique (but different) purpose and are important parts of your strategies. 

4. Long-form content still has a place in Gen Z’s world

Jenny Haggard, Global Thought Leadership at Spotify, shared that Gen Z has an 80% completion rate on podcast episodes over 50 minutes. 

In other words, Gen Z loves longform content, they just don’t like rubbish content! 

5. TV is out, YouTube is in 

‘As seen on TV’ is out, ‘As seen on YouTube’, is in, according to Joeri Van den Bergh, NextGen Expert at Human8

This will be particularly apparent amongst Gen Alpha, who aren’t just digitally native like Gen Z, but are digitally fluent. 

Remember point four: longform content still has a place in the world of youth marketing. 

6. UGC is the secret to success

Reviews, testimonials, social media content… user-generated content is the number one way to attract and engage Gen Z. Young people want to hear about new brands from their peers - people who can offer genuine, relatable reviews and content. 

It’s all about, you guessed it, authenticity. 

7. Is loyalty dead? 

Uh oh… according to our Gen Z panel, there are barely any brands out there that they’d be willing to stick their neck on the line for. With such a vast array of choices, rising inflation and cancel culture, Gen Z shoppers are willing to shop around for the products they love. 

Work smarter, not harder, marketers. 

Got FOMO? Tickets for YMS NYC 2025 are available now. Or, join us in London this June for more great youth marketing content.

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