In a few years, many Gen. Zers will be college graduates, yet most marketing advertisements still have tunnel vision on the once-teen millennials and Generation Ys, who have since jetted off into the adult world.
A year ago, Point Loma native Madison Bregman noticed where advertising fell short for her generation and decided to start her own consulting company called GirlZ, at the age of 19.
“These companies have such large marketing budgets and they’re completely not aware of the fact that generation Z and today’s youth are different and need to be marketed to differently,” said Bregman. “And as someone who is part of that generation, I can give unique insights to help make a company’s product more appealing.”
It’s only been about three months since Bregman founded GirlZ, but she’s already had a chance to work with the NFL, Darden Restaurants, EA (Electronic Arts) Sports and market research company NPD Group. Bregman says she “helps big companies solve big problems,” from influencer marketing to social media tactics to high-level branding, as well as analyzing and interpreting data on behalf of the brands.
“It was surprising to see how much a company relies on data,” said Bregman. “You can hire a 60-year-old to look at data and arguably find the same sort of things as a 30-year-old, but a younger analyst can go beyond that data, and can offer better insight to how a company should market.”
Bregman says that when she was a kid, she always had little entrepreneurial businesses, like selling cookies to her grandparents and rocks to the neighborhood.
“I think I made like 25 cents,” laughed Bregman.
But the most influential experience was when she started a talent management company in high school.
The business fizzled out, with Bregman being only 17 and legally unable to sign a contract, but she was still able to work with musicians from the UK and YouTube personalities like HelloXRyan.
Then, Bregman read a Forbes story on 17-year-old Connor Blakley, high school dropout and founder of YouthLogic, a Fortune 500 consulting company. Bregman contacted Blakley and the two began consulting together.
“No one was talking about our generation and helping companies with advertising to us,” said Blakley. “Madison was someone who was not only hungry, but actually had the ability and drive to do something special.”
Bregman soon gained ample experience working for high-level clients and decided to start GirlZ, inspired by the same Gen. Z mission as YouthLogic, but with a focus on helping companies reach women and girls.
“If you look at Generation Z, there’s obviously a difference with the brands girls like and the brands guys like and even what influences them,” said Bregman. “Advertisements should be sensitive to that.”
She added, “There’s a lot of talk about women in the work force and gender in the workplace. I’m not going to lie, it’s definitely been easier for me to reach out to female CMOs and female VPs.”
But Bregman is not doing this alone. Blakley sold his business last month and has been working as an advisor for GirlZ. Despite the challenges Bregman has faced as a young woman in business and the lectures Blakley has received on his education choices, getting to work with the NFL is a bragging right for any consultant.
“We’re making an impact, not only on behalf of the brands, but also for women,” said Blakley. “Especially with all the things happening in society and our culture with women and the #MeToo movement, I think it’s special and crucial for young women to assert themselves in the business world and show others that it’s possible.”
Bregman even has ideas for how companies can involve other young people in their business endeavors.
“I think a lot of companies should hire young people to come in once a week after school to talk about their interests in what’s going on in the world and what they want to see with the brand,” said Bregman.
As a junior communications major at Santa Clara University, the young entrepreneur plans to continue with her consulting business post-graduation, saying her long-term ambition is to buy the LA Chargers.
“I’d also love to work with Jack In The Box headquarters in San Diego” said Bregman. “As long as it’s still working, and I still have good ideas, I plan to keep GirlZ running. I’m having a lot of fun with it and I plan to do this as long as I can.”
To visit her website, go to madisonbregman.com