Gone are the days when marketing strategies revolve around the buying habits and behaviors of millennials.
Today, there’s a new generation entering the workforce, dramatically changing the market and how brands should strategize their next move to win in their respective industries.
Why Marketing To Generation Z Is A Huge Thing
Who are these new entrants in the market anyway and why are they such a huge deal?
Gen Zers are those who were born after the mid-90s. They have a greater level of confidence in using digital technologies after witnessing its continuous transformation since the day they were brought to this world.
FutureCast, in collaboration with Millennial Marketing, indicated that people in this generation are considered a powerful consumer force in the market. Notably, they contribute an average of $44 billion in discretionary spending in the US market, making them a sweet target in the world of marketing.
The US-based Center for Generational Kinetics, meanwhile, said that Gen Zers—albeit just starting their careers—are more concerned about their financial future, taking off from the experiences of their Gen-X parents who struggled during recession and student loan crisis.
However, their buying preferences are very much distinct from their older counterparts, urging brands to redefine their efforts in a way that meets the expectations of this much younger audience.
While millennials and Gen Zers are both digital savvy, Gen Zers generally have shorter attention spans. On top of that, social media platforms that were once “new and exciting” to millennials are already the “norm” to this group.
Understanding Generation Z
Here are some notable Gen Z traits to take note of:
1. They may be opening their lives on social media, but they keep the privacy of personal information in check.
Gen-Zers are present in almost every social media platform, but they are very protective of their privacy.
According to an IBM report titled “Uniquely Generation Z: What Brands Should Know About Today’s Youngest Consumers,” only less than 30% of the study’s respondents are willing to share health and wellness, location, personal life, or payment information.
The study added that schools today provide ample education to tech-savvy Gen Zers, highlighting the importance of privacy and security in the cyber world.
2. They are more averse to advertising.
Gen Zers, being the digital natives that they are, are more prone to feeling bored easily. With that comes a lower tolerance for social media advertisements.
According to a demographically segmented study by Kantar Millward Brown, Gen Zers do not take kindly to traditional ad formats (i.e. intrusive) like non-skippable videos or mobile pop-ups. They are also not interested in celebrity ads or those that feature the latest in technology.
They are, however, interested in certain branded content that contain stories and compelling music, as well as those that are humorous. They also display a more positive attitude towards ads that they can skip, mute, or control.
3. They have a very short attention span.
Since this crop of young people are used to getting all the information they need in a flick of a finger, it is expected for them to have shorter attention spans.
The challenge then for marketers is to find out how to compress their content in 8 seconds to keep Gen Zers hooked to their brands or risk losing them along the way.
4. They want to engage.
This up-and-coming consumers put their trust on brands that encourage them to take part in the conversation, instead of just following them.
They don’t just use social media to stay up-to-date with what’s going on with their friends’ lives; they use it to connect with brands that matter to them.
Global Web Index’s Gen-Z report tells us that people belonging to this generation want a brand that makes them feel special and trendy. They expect today’s brands to communicate on a two-way street, creating personalized conversations on different social media platforms just as how they communicate with their peers.
Here’s How To Get Gen Zers’ Attention—And Keep It
Gen Z marketing should be treated very differently from sales and marketing campaigns that targeted older generations.
Let’s take a quick tour on how brands like yours can reach this new growing audience and make sure to lock in their loyalty even in a competitive market:
1. Know where to reach them
You know it—Gen Zers are present in almost all social media sites today. But what you need to understand as marketers is that every social platform is distinct from another, and these post-millennials are using them very differently.
Compared with millennials, Gen Zers are usually very picky in choosing where to put their content and where to stay active to connect with their peers.
In a GlobalWebIndex report, youngsters belonging to this new generation find YouTube more appealing to them. They are less likely to be seen on Facebook or Twitter, and they are more likely posting new updates on Instagram or Snapchat.
What you should do:
Video marketing has already found its way into the lives of these Gen Zers.
Targeting them through e-mail and Facebook may not work its magic for this segment, so try creating content dedicated for YouTube, Musical.ly, or Snapchat to capture their attention and earn their loyalty.
Immerse yourself in their interests—what are they usually talking about, what are the things that keep them interested (e.g. festivals, food, sports, entertainment), and create educational videos that spark creativity and inspiration.
2. Serve snackable content
When creating content, short is the right way to go.
Gen-Zers’ attention span is shorter than that of a goldfish, which means that if you didn’t deliver your message in less than 8 seconds, then you already missed your chance.
Ensuring that your content is very snackable means that you can keep your target audiences interested in your brand and what you have to offer.
What you should do:
Go straight to the point.
Gen-Zers won’t do you a favor and dig deeper into what you are trying to say, so make sure that you are able to tell them what you have and why it matters to them in as short as 8 seconds.
Being very visual people, post-millennials can be easily swayed by videos, emojis, infographics, and GIFs, so make sure that’s well taken care of before you even start your campaign.
3. Pay close attention to influencer marketing
Social media influencers are climbing their way to the top, satisfying the Gen Zers’ hunger for entertainment and education.
E-Marketer revealed that influencer marketing delivers 11x higher return on investments as opposed to more traditional forms of digital marketing. Even more, 94% of marketers are giving it a thumbs up, saying that it is a very effective tool in capturing a new market.
These influencers are also very direct in giving their recommendations— 74% encourage their followers to “buy or try” the product after trying it out on their own.
What you should do:
Look for the right influencer that’s relevant to your brand—those who are followed by your target market.
Keep in mind that your influencer should have the capability to influence the perception of your audience and shape their buying decisions.
If you don’t have the budget to pay for top-grossing influencers, you can still tap micro-influencers —those who have between 1,000 and 10,000 followers and tag brands in their posts even without a paid partnership.
In a study commissioned by Experticity, micro-influencers have 22.2 times more conversations than typical users, so don’t underestimate their ability to generate buzz about a brand or product.
How to choose the right influencer?
• Make sure they post regularly. Is your influencer active on the social media platform you want to run your campaign on? Consistency is very vital in choosing the right influencer for your brand, so make sure they keep their accounts updated regularly.
• Check their engagement. How well is your target influencer responding to comments and/or suggestions on their page? Are they interacting with their fans and answering their questions right away? Check their photos and see if their engagement can deliver the results you want for your campaign.
• Know if they fit your brand. Social influencers have different personalities—just like your brand when compared to your competitors. With this, make sure that your target influencer carry the same “look and feel” as that of your brand.
4. Aim to be mobile-friendly
Most respondents in a Google study said that they use their smartphones to consume content. In fact, today’s 13- to 17-year-olds already have a smartphone in their hands at an earlier stage compared to their older counterparts.
That said, their dependence on technology is significantly different as well.
Mobile is fast becoming their primetime, moving from text messaging to messaging applications (e.g. Messenger, Telegram) to talk to friends and family in the fastest way possible.
What you should do:
Before you drive traffic to your website, make sure that it is already . This includes, among others, adapting for multiple screens, making sure your site runs fast, creating buttons that are touchable, using search boxes, and using visual indicators.
In terms of content, use concise and direct content. Eliminate long-winding paragraphs that would bore readers.
Remember: they don’t like beating around the bush, so make sure that you use bullet points and strategic formatting when proving a point. It also helps to get rid of pop-ups, as this would disrupt their mobile experience.
5. Support social causes
Post-millennials have the desire to make a change in the world, to inspire everyone around them, and be the game-changers in society.
One way to attract Gen Zers is to support social causes that matter to them. According to Barkley and Futurecast, this generation is more interested in social activism (i.e. racial/gender/sexual equality) and working for their own success.
That said, consider including philanthropy as part of your marketing initiatives if you want to earn the trust and loyalty of this new generation.
What you should do:
Show that your company is including efforts to promote social responsibility by contributing to or supporting causes that are related to gender equality, racial fairness, and environmental protection. This way, you will be able to build your reputation as a company that is more compassionate and socially-aware.
Targeting the people belonging to this new generation may be a tough nut to crack, and there needs to be a re-alignment of all your existing marketing efforts given that a new potential audience is on the rise.
Just remember: keep it authentic and genuine, and you will surely achieve your desired results.