GEN Z: They Are Here. Are You Ready?
They do not know a time without access to the Internet. Pearson Ed says, “They are already the largest generation in the U.S. and will represent 40 percent of the population in 2020.”
If we are not intentionally learning how they think, feel and act, our marketing is going to miss the mark, or worse off, we will lose their trust.
HOW THEY THINK
If one word could sum up Generation Z it would be connected. They have always had the ability to be connected, are very entrepreneurial and value a stable work-life balance. While they are adventurous, they also want to be unique and set apart from the rest, many times fueled by the gratification of online praise from their followers.
The activism that has spawned from incidents like the shooting at Parkland High School and other social rallies is what this generation will grow up with, thus giving it a sense of normalcy. When discussing the broadening ethnic makeup of millennials, Ben Graham, from the Writer’s Guild, says, “Gen Z is the first to experience that change as the new normal during their formative years.”
HOW TO MARKET TO THEM
While a digital approach needs to be taken, there must also be a focus on authentic interactions and even offline approaches. Companies and organizations will need to be more transparent than ever and be sure the overall message has a meaningful story attached to it. Many marketers have forgotten about YouTube and its power to influence and reach the next generation, but Generation Z values it due to its quick learning approach and more authentic style.
Generation Z may think twice when it comes to what they share digitally. Since nothing is “new” to them online, they will take a more balanced approach as they mature and even take a small step offline and pursue face-to-face interaction. According to Relevant Magazine, “Gen Z is likely to be far more private, having learned from some of the mistakes of older generations.”3 We see this shift already in platforms like Instagram that has recently released the feature of “close friends” to allow this generation to only share content with a select few individuals with whom they trust.
Marketing Ideas From Top City Creative
Curate a small group of customers/supporters and utilize private groups to gain real insight and engage in ongoing dialogue.
Be authentic. Generation Z can sniff out a fake and are looking to buy into not just the product but also the values of the company.
Explore micro-influencers. These are influencers with a smaller sphere of followers who can build brand trust with the everyday consumer. Forbes says, “Win over Gen Z consumers by working with a diverse variety of influencers that represent their core values: sustainability, equal representation, rebellion and humor.”4
Test out YouTube. Make your videos short, useful and authentic.