The way we engage with the world is changing. The rise of social media has created a new type of celebrity and a new form of fame that’s more accessible to people outside Hollywood circles than ever before. It’s also opened up a whole new avenue for marketers and organizations who want to connect with younger audiences. And yet there are still many misconceptions about how this next generation thinks and acts—and what they want from organizations like yours. So let’s bust some myths right now.
Gen Z isn’t as brand loyal as previous generations. They’re used to getting things instantly, which means that if your organization doesn’t deliver on its promise immediately, you’ve already lost them. In fact, Gen Z has no patience for organizations that make promises they can’t keep. One good way to gain credibility and loyalty is by demonstrating how much you care about the people your organization interacts with—and that starts on social media with frequent responses to their questions and comments.
You should focus on Gen Z’s values, not just their spending power. Association marketers often think that if they can convince someone to buy a membership, then they’ve achieved their goal with that person. However, Gen Z wants more out of organizations than just a membership—they want to make the world a better place. This means you should be asking yourself if your organization is helping people and impacting society. Can it promote healthy living or reduce waste? Does it foster community, equal rights, and justice for all? If not, it’s time to reevaluate your organization’s values—or start building a few of them into your existing repertoire from scratch.
Whatever you do, don’t sell Gen Z short. Advertisers and marketers sometimes assume that teenagers don’t have money to spend, so they stop marketing directly to them. But the truth is, Gen Z has more spending power than ever before: members of this group are projected to shell out $1.4 trillion in 2021, which is about $170 billion more than the millennial generation spent in 2016. As a result, this group now represents one of the biggest opportunities for marketers to grow sales and increase profits… if you can appeal to their values at the same time as your organization.
Understanding the Gen Z mindset
One of the best ways to understand the Gen Z mindset is to look at what shaped it; their parents. Unlike them, Gen Z is being raised during a time when technology is constantly developed and has become more prevalent. They’ve grown up with social media, smartphones, and tablets as a part of their normality. Marketing to Gen Z means understanding this mindset and understanding the technologies they are most familiar with and how they can be leveraged for communication purposes.
Marketing to this new generation of consumers
Marketing to Gen Z can be a tricky task. It’s helpful to know that they have some unique ways of connecting with one another as a group and the chances are much higher for referrals and word-of-mouth recommendations. Understanding the online and offline habits of this generation is essential for marketing success and here are five trends that we are seeing regarding this audience:
- The first trend is to throw out what you think you know about Gen Zer’s, reassess your research data on your Gen Z audience, and reevaluate your organization’s current opportunities. Are they relatable? Are these opportunities attractive to this audience? How are they delivered? Are they personal enough? Reanalyzing your target market of Gen Z consumers is a great starting point. While doing so, look at where you can leverage technology to keep an open line of communication between them and your organization.
- The second trend is making sure your organization has an app or is on at least one social media network that recognizes Gen Z consumers such as TikTok. One of the biggest challenges in marketing and advertising to this demographic is that they’re a “Mobile-First” generation. They grew up with technology, so it’s only natural for them to turn their phones into a constant companion.
- The third trend involves reaching millions of Gen Zer’s at one time by utilizing the power of influencers on social media. No matter who your organization is, this generation has probably heard about it, either in person from friends or relatives or via social media. By working with an influencer that has a large following within the generation you are attempting to target, you can reach a monumental amount of people in a short amount of time.
- The fourth trend is realizing that Gen Z has grown up with social media, so they are accustomed to seeing ads on their feeds. More specifically, the preferred way to consume content is through videos rather than pictures and text posts. This means it’s crucial for organizations looking to connect with this demographic and advertise that you create engaging videos for your social media page that align with the values of this generation. So what types of videos do Gen Zer’s like to watch? These consumers live on their phones. Therefore, organizations and advertisers need to create easily consumable content by watching on a small screen. Content that is viewable by mobile users will resonate, and if it’s entertaining, they’ll remember you when your time to advertise comes around. One way to do this is by creating “Instagram-ready” video clips which have a shorter length of 1 minute or less and are easily saved, shared, or viewed on the phone. It’s also important to create educational or entertaining content related to your organization. It’s crucial for organizations looking to advertise their products that they market on social media and on consumer interest sites like Buzzfeed and YouTube. Gen Z consumers are constantly using these sites, especially YouTube, where videos can be easily viewed on their mobile phones.
- The fifth trend to keep in mind is that this new generation does not respond well to traditional marketing. More specifically, the tried and true cold calling or email campaigns methods can be completely ineffective for this demographic. New marketing tactics towards Gen Zer’s should include more interactive methods of communication and storytelling to keep the audience engaged. The Millennial generation and the generations that followed them are now in their 20s, 30s, 40s, etc… This next generation will be shaped by the digital age and it’s important for marketers to understand their needs, wants, and desires in order to successfully communicate with them.
The importance of person-to-person communication with Gen Z
Part of every marketing piece should be some component that showcases the importance of person-to-person communication. Gen Z prefers to have a conversation with someone one-on-one rather than interacting with organizations through social media or online marketing outlets like email.
It’s crucial for people in your organization looking to connect with this generation by getting out and meeting them in person. If you do not have a physical location, consider doing on-site events or workshops at schools, colleges, or universities to network with the students.
Nevertheless, the connection between organizations and Gen Zer’s becomes more apparent as the generations grow and develop. Marketers need to take more steps to build personal relationships with their clients instead of utilizing impersonal online platforms. Organizations need to make an effort to find out what types of products and services this demographic likes, wants, or needs for them to connect.
Gen Z is the most tech-savvy generation we have seen.
Gen Z loves authenticity. They’re the first generation of digital natives, so they’ve never known a world without the internet. They have a high awareness of marketing tactics so they won’t be easily fooled by corporate spin or buzzword bingo. Gen Z looks for profiles that are more like real-life personas—collaborative and authentic—and will respond better if you showcase employees or other people who have first-hand knowledge of the brand and the industry when it comes to social media.
This generation is so much more aware of the power and potential of technology than other generations before it. According to Pew Research Center’s for example, there are 2.6 Gen Zers for every Boomer in the US. These kids spend an average of 6 hours a day using various devices – TV, tablets, or smartphones – with 81% checking their phones as soon as they wake up. This means that marketers have more influence over them because they spend so many hours watching their favorite YouTube stars or checking out their favorite brands’ Instagram feeds.
Gen Zer’s need an experience that is personalized and curated to meet their specific needs. According to a survey done by Google/Ipsos, this generation is tired of the one-size-fits-all approach. They want organizations to speak to their values and help them identify with the organization’s end goal. This generation wants to find meaning in every decision, so organizations need to create unique meaningful experiences to connect with this generation into the future.