Generational marketing, particularly over the last couple of decades, has been vital to businesses and advertisers. The focus has been on millennials during this time, that is, those born between 1980 and about 1995. There are, however, other newer generations coming through.
Many people who belong to Generation Z, those born between 1995 and 2012, are now in their twenties and have grown up not really knowing a world without computers, smartphones or anything to do with the online world.
While Millennials still seem to attract all the attention when it comes to marketing, moving beyond this demographic and focusing on up and coming generations is a given for most businesses. Generation Z are now in the spotlight when it comes to marketing.
According to Forbes:
“This powerful consumer base is the next group of consumers 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.”
Who Are Generation Z?
Each generation has its own marketing fingerprint. Generation Z, for example, is the most tech savvy grouping we’ve had to date. Millennials aren’t far behind but they weren’t bought up solely on a diet of social media like the generation that came after.
By 2020, Generation Z are going to make up about 40% of the population. According to Fast Company research, this demographic has some interesting characteristics:
· They filter information that is relevant to them or not quicker than their predecessors. They use tools to shrink down their options so they can better make decisions. This is often seen as the ‘short attention span’ but it’s far more nuanced than this.
· If someone from Generation Z thinks something is worthwhile they are prepared to focus closely on it. They also have an inbuilt detector to know when they are being sold to and deciding whether that too is worth their time.
· Generation Z spend a lot of time online. They are focused on fitting in on social media while also developing their own brand identity – they are more likely to create different online personas than their predecessors.
· While Generation Z have been touted as entrepreneurs, this is not entirely true. They’re not all looking to work for themselves and make billions with a tech startup. They tend to be more career focused, however, and are determined not to repeat the ‘mistakes’ of their Millennial parents.
How to Market to Generation Z
Knowing all this information is one thing, but actually using it to inform future marketing approaches is another challenge entirely. Here’s what the experts are saying about engaging with Generation Z:
1. Be Mobile Friendly
This is a characteristic that Generation Z do share with many Millennials. Mobile is where it’s all happening. Your content needs to be mobile ready and that doesn’t just mean adding in the right coding. Shorter sentences, smaller paragraphs, simpler writing are all important. Video content is consumed at a higher level by Generation Z and perfect for viewing on mobile devices.
2. Keep It Short
Generation Z have more information to get through than past generations and want to do it effectively and quickly. That’s why keeping your content short and to the point is vital. That’s why approaches such as video and animations can have a greater impact than written information.
3. Educate Rather Than Sell
Generation Z are self-learners and they love to gain new knowledge. They tend to be wary of any overt sales orientated marketing but if you can keep it in the range of edutainment you are likely to see better engagement.
4. Being Social
It’s not just about pushing products, being social and socially minded is vital too. Generation Z are in tune with changing society and think about making the world a better place. They are often drawn to socially conscious brands rather than ones that are just out to make a lot of money for their shareholders.
Of course, these are characteristics that also apply to other demographic groupings and not all those defined as Generation Z perform in the same semi-robotic way. You can’t expect to tick off a few boxes of traits and hope to improve your marketing approach. Consumer profiling is set to change over the next few years as it becomes even more nuanced in its approach.
Being able to customize for the individual will be the vanguard of marketing approaches. That applies whether you’re marketing to Baby Boomers, Millennials, Generation Z or beyond.