By Elcee McEdwards
Just a little while ago, there used to be a lot of talk about Millenials, also known as Generation Y, and how brands can reach them, basically due to their peculiar characteristics and hi-tech media consumption patterns. However, a new generation of consumers – Generation Z – has gradually crept into the horizon, making its presence felt as they enter the workforce and/or gain purchasing power. Generation Z represents people who were born from 1995 – 2014, a major difference between them and millenials being that while millenials grew up on personal computers, cell phones, and video game systems, they are natives to tablets, smartphones, and apps.
The direct result of this phenomenon is that, while there are similarities between them and the Generation before them, their media consumption habits differ from previous generations, including the millennials. In fact, a number of marketing researches have shown marked differentiations in the preferred social media networks, use of devices and TV consumption patterns of this very unique audience, and that should mean a lot to any serious marketing professional.
Being digital natives, they are considered the future of the global economy. It is estimated that by the end of 2020 this generation could become the largest group of consumers worldwide, influencing a very large chunk of household purchase decisions.
Know their characteristics
Asides being born into a digital world, Generation Z generally have the ‘cool’ thing in them and can be associated with the following traits:
- They tend to express themselves with their own style.
- They were born to swipe. Most of them never learnt how to use technology; they were born with it and just knew how.
- They readily consume information on the move, as various technological innovations have made it easier to get information on the go.
- They are more entrepreneurially inclined. Due to the availability of social tools, and the need to meet up with social trends, they come up with ideas on how to make money to keep up with their needs.
Identify with them
As noted before, Generation Z mostly influence household purchases. Being very exploratory, they are ready to try new things. What this means is that, using the right platforms, you can easily reach them. But, to impress Generation Z, you have to identify with them. Once you miss this crucial factor, you have lost them as potential customers. The healthy thing about this is that this factor should make brands more competitive in nature.
Find An Authentic Story
The key thing here is to identify the media peculiarities of Gen Z. They are mostly mobile oriented people, who tend to spend more time on their phones, especially since, these days, anything can be accessed via the internet through mobile phones.
Subsequently, you will need to find an authentic story that will resonate with them. Gen Z can spot an inauthentic brand message from a mile away; so you must put on your thinking cap. One thing is that people of this generation are looking to make a connection with brands that go beyond the product itself, because they want experiences and new discoveries. Beyond using social media, you need to talk to them in a language they understand. You also need to make your story catchy.
Go where they are
While email marketing tactics and platforms like Facebook might not be as valuable to Gen Z as they are to other generations, apps like Snapchat, musical.ly and Instagram are used heavily by this category of consumers because they are newer, video-based and most of the content is about them — real people creating content. This means that a brand seeking to reach them will need to create more video based communication, and execute them on the right channels.
Print is dead for this group. Then, traditional TV viewing for Generation Z in their teens and early twenties is almost dead. Content consumption for this category of people is now happening on YouTube, online and mobile. You must understand this. So, if you really want to reach them, you need to shift your monies to the appropriate social media channels.
One key thing is that people of Gen Z have short attention span and lose interest fast. They want to be able to instantly absorb information. You must understand that these people are used to being bombarded with endless content and have become adept at cutting through the clutter. What this means is that you must make your creatives very appealing, and lead with the best stuff in other to get their attention quickly.
Engage in a meaningful way
The Gen Z are on multiple platforms daily, which makes it harder to reach them through a one-size-fits-all strategy. They are also avoiding ads, using ad-blocking softwares. To break through this barrier, you need to engage with them in an ongoing and meaningful way. This allows you to gather insights into their needs, wants and behavior.
On a last note
On a last note, you need to realize that Gen Z are looking for value and can spot mere advertisement from a mile away. To effectively reach them, you need to focus less on selling and more on showing them how you can help them. How effective you’ll get with this will depend on how much you can establish a mix of these variables.