Some businesses were a little late when it came to marketing for millennials. However, it appears as though businesses are already starting to target another key age group-Generation-Z. Born between 1995 and 2012 (though the precise years vary depending on the source), this post-millennial generation is coming of age and businesses are starting to take notice. For any business that is looking to adapt and survive in the years to come, understanding the behaviors and attitudes of this tech-savvy generation is vital. Here’s the breakdown of generation-z and how they will impact the future of business.
Generation Z already accounts for over a quarter of the U.S. population and by 2020 will account for 40 percent of all consumers. Gen-z is poised to become the next power demographic to target. According to a study by EY, this key demographic expects greater transparency, accountability, and personal validation from every online experience they choose to engage in. much as baby boomers and generation x wish to be treated with respect, this maturing demographic is no different.
One misconception about millennials, and to an extent, gen z, is that they have relatively short attention spans, which makes marketing to them difficult. What some experts say, though, tells a different story. Some say that instead of an eight-second attention span they actually possess an eight-second filter that is very adept at casting aside irrelevant information. Generation-z seems to be the generation that wants their info fast and delivered with precision. It makes sense that they know how to quickly filter information given that this generation is brought up in a digital age where new technologies aren’t new to them, its normal. There is no adaption process, no struggling to understand the technology. How many of us have relatives with young children and teenagers that seemed to be born knowing how to handle mobile devices? This means that business owners will have to deliver marketing that not only is fast-paced but easily shareable.
An interesting bit of information about this demographic is how they do seem to be more conservative than their millennial counterparts. they don’t remember a time when all the world’s information wasn’t available to them in exchange for a little personal information, they have seen firsthand what can happen when you disclose private data without a thorough understanding of how that data might be used. As a result, they are actually less likely to share personal data for brand access. Businesses may have to provide full transparency. Which means letting them know what they are signing up for and what the risks and benefits are.
On the subject of trust, studies indicate that gen z has high faith in influencers. They use platforms such as YouTube and Instagram to follow influencers that match with their values and put brand trust into them. By using influencers, members of gen-z can shrink their potential options down to a more manageable size.
This budding demographic is also keen to taking into consideration how brands incorporate social responsibility into their campaigns. Take for instance Ben & Jerry’s YouTube channel. Among its videos that introduce new ice cream flavors, dairy-free products, and special recipes, entire playlists are devoted to raising awareness of important issues like marriage equality, climate justice, and getting a second chance in life. Beyond that, studies have shown that gen z is interested in racial, gender and income equality, as well as environmental issues. Becoming advocates in these issues will help your business to stand above the rest and be at the forefront of gen-z’s minds.
Personalized content marketing is also something that this generation responds well to. Adding to that, marketing that they can be a part of may play a key role in grabbing their attention. If Gen-Z consumers help produce or create the message, they’ll be more responsive to it. One example of this is Snapchat’s geofilters. Rather than just throwing an ad in front of the gen-z consumer. Snapchat geofilters are participatory in the way consumers share the experience with the brand, thus connecting with Gen Z. This is just one example of how gen-z responds to personalized marketing. Incorporating this kind of personalized marketing will give you an edge over your competitors and allow you to get a head start in prepping your business for this age group.
Another aspect that engages gen-z is authenticity. They’re looking for brands with a message and people that they can identify with. Generation-z responds greatly to marketing that includes real people. We talked before about Dove’s ‘Real Beauty’ ad campaign. It is a great example of how authentic campaigns can resonate with gen-z. It moved away from idealized female beauty standards and instead celebrated women’s beauty through videos, activities, tool kits and products. While the target demographic wasn’t gen-z, it is a powerful precursor the marketing trends that are sure to arise as gen-zers come of age.
Businesses will have to adapt to gen-z as they come of age. They will have to adapt and learn to communicate in new ways on social media. Messages will need to be customized, snappy and socially meaningful to successfully engage an audience that’s already starting to dominate the market. This is the generation that was born into the digital age, they didn’t have to learn it. With this will come its own sets of challenges. But understanding and adapting to the needs and behaviors of this new powerhouse demographic will ensure countless businesses’ continued longevity for years to come.