So how do you market to Generation Z? For many optometrists, marketing to Generation Z means providing, rather than promoting.

Andrea Thau, OD, for example, keeps younger patients’ attention by offering a wide array of sports goggles and frames. “My practice is all based on word of mouth referral; we don’t advertise. Our happy patients refer new patients,” she said. “We have expanded our selection of sports goggles to include a wide array of colors and styles, and we have expanded our frame selection for this demographic group.”

Dr. Andrea Thau and Associates is not completely immune to the digital boom. “We do encourage our patients to share photos of themselves wearing their contacts or new glasses,” Thau said. “They like to receive opinions from their friends during the frame selection process.”

Rather than attempt to advertise to children, Nathan Bonilla-Warford, OD, makes an effort to network within the pediatric realm, both online and off. On Bright Eyes’ social media channels, he shares useful information and research-based stories that are relevant to Generation Z’s eyecare needs. In addition, he writes blog posts that parents (and kids!) can read on his website.

“I wouldn’t say we do traditional marketing specifically—we do more children’s vision awareness,” he said. Outside the office, he initiates “lunch and learn” sessions with other VT specialists and even pediatricians, asking what they’ve been hearing about digital device use.

Carla Adams, OD, owner of Optique EyeCare, also recommends optometrists introduce their practices to school nurses, coaches, occupational therapists, pediatricians and parent groups. “Each of these pediatric specialists can be made aware of the possible impact of vision therapy via a short letter after the initial exam,” Adams said. “YouTube videos and blogs are also timely ways of marketing niche services.”

At Park Slope Eye, Justin Bazan, OD has been toying with the idea of meeting Gen Z where they are: Snapchat. “Right now, I’m playing around with adding a Snapchat Geofilter,” a location-specific photo filter that can include brand logos and trademarks, which businesses can purchase and “turn on” during a community (or practice) event, Bazan explained.

“If there’s a local event, such as a street fair, and I know the patient population is at that event, a geolocation-based filter would be a good way to reach the younger kids and 15 to 25-year-olds.”