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For the last decade, brands have focused intensely on the millennial generation. They have studied everything from their internet habits to their buying preferences. Just as many brands have finally secured a grasp on this complex generation, we are starting to see a new generation enter the buying market: Generation Z.
Generation Z encompasses people who were born between 1995 and 2010. Naturally, we have a few years until many of them reach the buying age. But this time period doesn’t mean that businesses can sit back and wait for them to age. Their take on the world will require some marketing planning. On the older side, we have Generation Z adults who are graduating from college, entering the workforce, and becoming consumers in their own right.
Image via Flickr by Johnny Silvercloud
Studies have already shown that Generation Z adults are expected to be more financially aware, technologically advanced, hard working, and entrepreneurial. They grew up during the recession, which shaped much of their working and buying personalities. They are socially aware, value convenience, and learn from the digital mistakes of the millennial generation.
Marketing professionals will have to take a distinct approach to reach this new type of consumer. They will have to keep the following marketing tips in mind to create an authentic and genuine connection with this generation.
Many brands already understand the importance of staying digitally relevant. Over the last decade, we have seen digital marketing shift from being a useful tool to a required one. Generation Z consumers grew up with technology at their fingertips. They are the experts in social media and the internet. Brands will need to remain at the forefront of new technology trends in order to reach this technologically savvy generation.
This level of technology expertise also leaves little room for technological problems. Brands will have to prioritize their information technology departments and ensure that everything works as it should. Paying attention to competitors and the technology tools they are using will also become important.
Technology improves convenience. Years ago, if we wanted to purchase something, we had to drive to a store and hope that it had the product we wanted. Factors such as brand and price were not as important because our only other option was to spend the day driving around searching. Today, however, we can order food with the click of a button. We can refill a product simply by telling Amazon’s Alexa to order it.
Generation Z has become accustomed to this level of convenience. These consumers will not settle for slow checkout processes or long shipping practices. This expectation of convenience has also led to a faster decision making process. Marketers will have to find ways to get their messages across fast. Generation Z wants to know why it should buy your product, and they want to know now. In fact, some experts estimate you have eight seconds or less to capture attention.
The same sales tactics that may have worked with previous generations are unlikely to work with this generation. Generation Z consumers have been around the internet for too long to simply purchase your product because you said it is good. Brands will have to back up their statements. They will have to cut the fluff and provide actual value to their consumers.
Some believe that Generation Z will not connect to celebrity marketing endorsements to the same degree as previous generations have. Instead of creating a campaign that is based on digitally created graphics and unrealistic celebrity expectations, this generation wants real. Ads will have to be more personal and relate directly to the generation. Content will have to be relevant and provide value. If a bold statement is made, a trusted source will have to back up the assertion. The entire marketing approach will have to be authentic.
With technology comes multitasking capability. If you were impressed at how a millennial could complete all required work tasks two hours before their due date while still keeping up-to-date with their favorite celebrities, you will be shocked at Generation Z’s ability to multitask. Generation Z technology users are used to navigating between more apps and programs and at a faster rate. This statement does not mean that they are any less productive; it simply means they are better at dividing their attention.
What this multitasking means for marketing is that brands have even less time to capture the attention of Generation Z. In essence, marketers will need to create catchier headlines, shorter yet more interesting content, and use alternative marketing methods. Video marketing has already become an important part of successful digital campaigns. Brands will also have to expand their marketing efforts across multiple platforms for the most memorable of impressions.
Generation Z is a socially responsible group. Individuals of this generation have lived through equality, environmental, and human rights debates. They are a generation of social individuals that will not only talk about making a difference but will also be the most likely to do so. They will choose brands based on the social responsibility actions of those brands.
Social mistakes can ruin a brand with this generation. Every step needs to be carefully calculated and planned. Brands will need to avoid politics and value humanity. Quality and social responsibility will be more important than cost.
Although focusing entirely on Generation Z may be too soon, it is important to begin considering this incoming buying generation. The millennial generation will remain an important part of the business world and will soon be joined by Generation Z. Not only will brands have to find innovative ways to reach this socially responsible, technologically savvy generation, but they will also have to create campaigns that connect the two different generations in an attempt to reach as many consumers as possible.