Move over millennials, it’s time to give Generation Z some of the limelight. This next demographic cohort follows the generation born roughly between the years of 1995-2010, and it’s about time brands took notice of them if they want to keep climbing the ladder of success.
Profiling a Gen Z’er
In order to shift your marketing strategy to include or directly target the post-millennial generation, you need to understand what makes them so different to their predecessors. These are the people who will be hired by your business, buying your products/services and act as role models for generations to come, so they’re a pretty big deal.
To understand Generation Z and their purchase decisions, first you have to take note of the world they have grown up in and how this differs drastically compared to previous generations, and even compared to millennials.
While you might see millennials as the digital-savvy group because they watched technology advance, for Gen Z, it was already advanced. Millennials will remember the days of dial-up internet and cassette tapes, whereas Gen Z have grown up predominantly around this idea of instant information; the world at their fingertips. This hyper-cognitive generation therefore see, use and understand technology differently.
Due to our timelines becoming overly saturated with content in this digital age, it’s even more important to stand out and find new ways to engage with your customers. Given the sheer amount of content a G Z’er consumes on a daily basis, they have higher expectations compared to previous generations. Developments in technology don’t wow them as much as it would with demographics who grew up in a time when smartphones didn’t exist. This means brands need to try and break through the noise and impress this generation on another level. While this might take time, Gen Z are loyal and do tend to stick behind a brand for a long period of time.
Shorter attention span
Given these higher standards and consumption levels, Generation Z have become experts at filtering out irrelevant content while browsing. It is imperative brands keep this is mind when developing a content marketing strategy. Videos and images are the best way to engage with Gen Z, with platforms like Snapchat and Instagram the best way to communicate to their 8-second attention span. Regular and quick interactions that are easy to digest should be a part of your strategy if you’re looking to target Gen Z.
Consumption means access
In the Generation Z age, consumption means having access, not owning. Cars are hired or leased, music and films are streamed, not purchased. This mentality obviously spans generations and reflects how content, products and services are viewed across the board. So how do businesses keep up? Streaming services may work for some industries, but do we think rented fashion is a likely future trend? Perhaps. Businesses will have to think about how they can deliver value to their customers; Brands will just have to keep up with the competition and the growth of technology however they can.
While millennials are orientated to a sense of self, being presentable and making purchases that enrich their wellbeing, Gen Z generally believe in external causes and conflicts that affect the world. They value individual expression rather than labels and believe in causes that relate to identity. Because of this, Gen Z look to brands that are authentic and ethical, practicing what they preach when it comes to causes. They expect big brands to take a stand ethically and politically and they won’t settle for excuses. Therefore businesses must think about how they present themselves online and how they interact with their customers and their employees, but they must also think of the bigger picture and get involved with wider causes. Gen Z are well-educated and tech- savvy, so it won’t take them long to find out if your business isn’t behaving as it should.
As with every generation, the key to winning them over is through adaptation and awareness. While Generation Z may hold brands and businesses more accountable than any generation before, they’re also loyal, creative and have a lot of heart, making them great communicators. Once you hook them in, they’ll continue to engage with and support you.