Marketing to Digital Savvy Generation Z

By JAZ Creative in Marketing

The millennial generation is past, we sure learnt a lot of from them, and they were blamed for everything wrong with the society. There is a generational switch as the Millenials get older and now a younger consumer base, Generation Z is on the horizon. Long live the Millenials!

A lot has been made of, written, critiqued about the Millennial generation and how their consumption trends have affected businesses and marketers, little focus however has been paid to the following generation, Generation Z, who for all intents and purposes, are more influential as they will be around for longer.

To better understand who they are and the differences, we have to first outline who they are and the difference with the Millenials but we shall also show the different generational groupings to best understand, who falls into what group.

The Baby Boomers: This is the generation that follows the so-called – Greatest Generation. The boomers are approximately between 54- 72 years old, Donald Trump is most probably the most famous boomer. They benefited from a time of societal changes, higher levels of income than their parents, and a surge in consumerism.

Generation X: The off spring of the Baby Boomers. MTV, Michael Jackson, bad hairstyles and the excesses of 1980’s consumerism were their experiences. They are in their late 30’s to mid 40’s, but in some cases, overlap with Millenials as the Millennial generation starts from 1985.

This brings us to Millennials and Generation Z.

Individuals born from 1985 on wards, the Millennial Generation are those who are between the ages of 19 to 35, give or take, with the start point 1985 to approximately 2004 or 2005. Generation Z ranges from 2 – 19, with the marketers sweet spot approximately around 10 – 17 or 18.

The term Generation Z describes people born after the Millennials; they may also be referred to as:

  • Post-Millennials
  • Homeland Generation
  • iGeneration

All about Gen Z!

This generation are easily the most complex and diverse generation to date. They see world events such as the September 11th attacks in the USA as part of history, unlike the preceding generations who have adapted to new technology, they are native to current mobile and instant entertainment, spending their time curating their favourite YouTube, Netflix watch list and Spotify playlists, your CD rack and collection is alien to them yet they still consume traditional media.  In Australia, they account for approximately 4.5 million people, roughly, 18.7% of the population. According to Fast Company, this generation should comprise approximately 40% of the global population by the year 2020.

They are detached, immersing themselves in technology and instant rewards and entertainment. They have grown up on social media and can research their way out of any predicament. This potent consumer base is the next group of shoppers and influencers that can help your business grow its revenue, as long as you take note of them now and prepare your marketing strategies to cater to their needs or sink you if you take them for granted and this is how, brands can falter if they ignore them, figures from a recent study show the following:

  • They influence nearly $4 USD Billion in discretionary spending.
  • Over 50% state that knowing a brand is socially conscious influences purchase decisions while another 56% consider themselves to be socially conscious.
  • 83% turn to newspapers for trusted information and content, and 34 % turn to magazines.
  • Gen Z uses: streaming audio approx. 5 hours a week, social media 4.5 hours a week), video streaming video 4.2 hours a week, websites 4.2 hours a week and magazines 1 hour a week.
  • Streaming video 50%, newspapers 40%, digital video 40%, and magazines 34% are the types of media respondents use without interruption most often.
  • 47% intentionally put their phones away at least once a day.
  • 48% agree that advertising helps them learn about new products and another 47% appreciate relevant ads while 44% expect ads to be relevant to them.

Gen Z’s are quickly falling out of love with Facebook and have increasingly turned to Instagram and Snapchat as their social media platforms of choice.

So what gets them?

What has come about in terms of research and trying to understand this new consumer in relation to marketing and brands is interesting. Unlike any generation preceding them, they are values based and engage with brands and organisations that reflect their values with close to 70% saying that doing their part for the community matters a lot to them and correlates to their consumer journeys and buying behaviour.

They’ve spent their lives being online and by smart devices, they know how to filter anything that lacks the right tone, language, and relevancy or any messages that don’t sound genuine or a hard sell.

Due to growing up during or in the aftermath of the global recession, this generation has to be one of the financially savvy and responsible since our grandparent’s age. Data from Generation Z Guru, shows that over 70% are price sensitive when it comes to purchases, including shipping costs and 60% have an active savings account.

 

How to market to Generation Z

This new generation has low tolerance for mixed and disingenuous messages especially from large corporations and marketers, what seems as inattention or low attention span, is in fact an 8 second filter, if your message doesn’t grab them in approximately 8 seconds or seems too much of a hard sell, they’re on to the next thing. They’ve grown up in a world where their options are limitless as well as getting bombarded with multiple messages and their attention being fought for, but their time is not. As such, they have adapted to quickly sorting through and assessing enormous amounts of information – retaining what is of interest, if they do engage and connect with your messaging however, they will commit and become converts and deep dive. Online, they rely heavily on trending pages within apps to collect the most popular recent content.

They prefer real engagement and authenticity and are drawn to influencers on their social feeds than run of the mill advertising campaigns. Influencers seem genuine and form connections as they speak the same language, share the same experiences thus relatable. A Google report in 2016 found that 70% of teenagers and young adults were more receptive to messages from YouTube and Instagram stars as opposed to traditional celebrities and their messages, while a further 40% believed that the social media influencers understood and connected better with them that their real friends, while we Gen X’ers wanted to Be like Mike in his Air Jordan’s in the 90’s.

As discussed in our previous blog regarding the rise of Influencer Marketing, using influencers in your marketing campaign only works if the strategy is well thought out and the right influencers are used for the campaigns goal.

Generation Z also has the ability to jump between multiple platforms, as much as 5 screens at the same time: TV, laptop, phone, tablet and desktop. This is important to note, because if your advertising strategy is to run pre-roll ads on YouTube, before their content starts, you’ve lost their attention. The moment that ad comes on, their eyeballs are on another device and you may have lost them.

Generation Z is also extremely adept at reading the non-verbal cues and messages of the Internet. Many brands will label themselves the industry leader of their field in a bid to woo customers. What they forget is to look the part. Generation Z doesn’t want to hear about how much of an “industry leader” you are. They judge with their eyes first, if your mobile website looks like it was made 10 years ago, it doesn’t matter what your message is—you look old, your site should work on a cell phone—and work well. Fonts, images, design should be current and appealing, making it easy to read especially on the go.

Generation Z are more interested in social good and what your organisation is doing to improve the community and society at large. They wouldn’t respond to ‘buy now’ sales tactics. To connect with them and create marketing that they will remember, highlight your company and brands social values and community engagement, CSR and charitable involvement. Craft the messages for the messages where they will be found and be engaging.

Loyalty Programs are for the olds, not to say Generation Z wouldn’t have some discount and rewards cards, it’s just not their reason for choosing the brands they engage with and where they shop. They want to be independent and will explore different options and not be tied to one provider. An Ernst & Young report found, 45% of millennials see loyalty programs as a good thing and feel appreciated for their purchases while only about 30% of generation Z were enthusiastic, preferring to engage with brands on their own terms.

In regards to customer experiences, let’s market to this generation in an open and genuine manner, get rid of the hard sell- “one-time offer, buy now, sale only today” method and give them quality customer success efforts and well-designed customer experiences.

Snapchat, Snapchat, Snapchat

Lastly, marketers and brand custodians must learn how to market and engage on Snapchat if Generation Z is part of the conversation. 71% of this market use snapchat and another 50% use it approximately 11 times a day. They are using this service to communicate with friends and classmates, sharing messages and content, creating videos, images and stories. Long way from the corded phone in the hallway isn’t it? As mentioned earlier, Facebook and Twitter and to a lesser extent Instagram, are being left behind.

They aren’t very interested by advertisements that appear in stories but prefer Geofilters and Lenses- these are ways to tag your location by using a filter specific to that location. Brands can take advantage of this platform to create and share brand stories that will draw in and engage this audience in a thoughtful, interesting and meaningful way.

So, with this in mind, it is time to start making changes and appreciating another paradigm shift in marketing is on it’s way and not to be left behind. The team at JAZ is always learning and looking for new ways to engage with our target audiences and helping our clients stay ahead of the curve in an ever-changing marketing landscape.

Drop us an email and let’s have a chat.

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