6th October 2017

How to market to Generation Z

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Lauren Swarbrick

Marketing To Generation Z

There’s a new kid on the block! They’re smart and savvy, sharp and sassy and they’re nothing like anyone has come across before. As Millennials move into middle age and Generation Z’ers come of age there’s one heck of a generational shift happening. It’s members may only just be moving out of their childhood years but Gen Z already has incredible buying power, influencing over 70% of all household purchasing decisions. From food, to travel, to interiors, they have more impact on their parents spend than any previous generation.

Smart marketers realised some time ago the power of Generation Z but many businesses are only just starting to turn their eye to this incredibly powerful audience. By 2020 Gen Z’ers will account for 40% of all consumers, so now’s the time to proactively develop a Gen Z marketing strategy, even if your business doesn’t actively target this demographic right now. As these individuals move into adulthood the influence they currently exhibit in the home sphere will be replicated in their own families and in the workplace, and on a much bigger scale!

Generation Z are classified as those born between the mid-1990s and mid-2000s. They come fast in the footsteps of Millennials, but they’re not Millennials; they’re Millennials ++ and they know it and they need to know you know it. They are an ambitious and entrepreneurial, pragmatic and independent, multicultural and pansexual generation that is actively embracing change. They’re fast-paced, assertive and have a no B.S filter, so they are slippery creatures to engage with, but when Generation Z’ers find something they like and respect they become obsessively committed and massive advocates. This creates huge opportunities for marketers who understand them and know how to relate to them.

Digital Natives

The first generation to be born into a digital world, Generation Z’ers are true digital natives and have never spent a single day without the internet, a mobile phone, tablet or computer. They could use an iPad before they could talk, get their news through social platforms and watch YouTube not TV. They use an average of 5 devices each and spend circa 74% of their free time online, particular when on the go and when relaxing. This extreme connectedness means that they are not only used to, but demand a flawless digital experience. Gen Z’ers expect brands to move as seamlessly around digital devices as they do and to create a consistent and delightful experience across all channels and platforms.

Celebrate Diversity

Generation Z is the most diverse population in history. They are extremely liberal in their attitudes towards cultural diversity (including race, gender, identity and sexuality), they actively celebrate multiculturalism and expect the brands they engage with to do the same. Equality in all of it’s forms is 100% non-negotiable.

Traditional Work Ethic

Gen Z’ers are independent learners, who have the desire and know-how to self-educate. They have an incredibly strong work ethic and are highly entrepreneurial. Quite traditional in their approach (85% of Gen Z’ers believe achieving good exam results is more important than hanging out with their friends) Generation Z are earnest and hardworking and are driven by traditional views of success (money, education, career).

Financially Conservative

Generation Z’ers are extremely financially-savvy. Born and bred in a recession and within the context of an unstable global economy, Gen Z is highly traditional and reserved in their attitude towards money. With a world of information at their fingertips, Gen Z’ers conduct extensive research before buying, are selective in their purchase decisions and are focused on the financial consequences of their purchases.

Instant Gratification

For Gen Z’ers, the barrier to real-time information and communication has always been practically nonexistent and as such they have an even lower attention span than Millennials. They’ve grown up constantly being served enormous amounts information, and are accustomed to quickly filtering through it. They value their time and don’t like protracted communications, preferring to consume short, punchy, snackable content and to dig deeper if and when they choose to.

Socially Responsible

Generation Z wants to change the world and make it a better place for themselves, for their friends and family and for the global good. They love to know that their purchases are making a real difference and naturally gravitate towards brands that they perceive as being truly committed to doing good.

Authentic Experiences

Gen Z’ers won’t engage with a faceless company; they want to have a meaningful relationship and a two way dialogue with brands that they can relate to. They look for brands and products that embody their beliefs and prefer authentic advertising that uses real people and achievable expectations.

Natural Advocates

Surrounded by limitless information, Generation Z’ers are primed to ignore content that is not from someone they perceive to be a trusted connection. They don’t care what brands tell them to buy, they care about what the people they like, respect and relate to (whether that be their peers or favourite influencers) are spending their money on. Forget advertising, online word of mouth is where it’s at. Advocacy marketing is already booming, but the influencers who appeal to Gen Z are not celebrities. They are micro-influencers who have built loyal followers off the back of strong personal branding and by operating within a very specific niche. The majority of the population probably won’t have heard of them, but their followers are massive swayed by their opinions.

But it’s not just about being passive, companies should give Gen Z'ers something to do and make it exciting for them. By not only encouraging, but rewarding consumers for creating user generated content via gamification, brands can reward and incentivise advocacy naturally and authentically.

So there we have it - Gen Z’ers are old heads on young bodies! They have the openness, confidence and progressiveness of Millennials but the belief system and conservativeness of Baby Boomers. Businesses may not yet be sure where to place them but ignore them at your peril!

Have you got a brand or business that is actively trying to engage with Gen Z'ers? Check out Brand Message and gain the power to reach your audience.

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