There’s been talk of how to reach, hire, and market to the Millennial population for years, but now there’s a new generation emerging to replace them as the youngest adults among us. According to the Pew Research Center, Gen Z is defined as the generation born from 1997 on, and they are shaping up to be even more diverse than previous generations, Millennials included. What does this mean for businesses and marketers? Unlike generations before them, members of Gen Z don’t remember a time before internet and social media were mainstream. As a result, they are considered the first true digital natives, and their online choices and purchase habits reflect that. Here are several things to keep in mind when marketing to Gen Z:
Good content is still important… but it looks different.
Video content is the new standard of quality among this generation. Two-thirds of consumers prefer video content over any other kind of content, and this is particularly true among younger consumers. Not just any kind of video content will do, though. Because this generation has grown up with internet and the inherent sense of a curated life that entails, they are drawn to content that feels fresh and real. Gen Z consumers have an incredible ability to sniff out anything that feels fake or gimmicky, and losing their respect generally means losing their business. Utilizing Facebook or Instagram Live is a good way to showcase the behind-the-scenes aspects of your business that connect with a Gen Z audience.
Yes, they practically live on social media.
If you do not have a strong social media presence, you risk losing their attention. Content that is thoughtful and shows a transparent view of your company values tends to resonate most deeply with this audience. In contrast to what’s commonly seen as a short attention span, it’s not that this generation doesn’t pay attention for more than 2 seconds, it’s that they won’t stay unless something resonates with them. If you take time to create valuable content, you can capture their attention, loyalty, and business.
Good UX is the expectation, not the exception.
As a generation who has spent their life immersed in technology and all it has to offer, the standard of quality is higher than ever for Gen Z. Slow page loading speeds, websites that are not mobile-friendly, and a poor user experience are not an option if you want to keep and capture their attention. Take time to make sure your website is clean, clear, and up to date, or you run the risk of losing this audience altogether.
Relevance > location.
Because they are digital natives, the concept of “local” has less to do with actual location and more to do with relevance to their needs. This generation has grown up with a digital universe at their fingertips and they are very comfortable with researching and cross-referencing the options available to them. It is not enough to be located near these consumers – if you do not appear relevant or speak to their needs, they will move on to the next option.
Lead with values.
This generation is interested in racial, gender and income equality, as well as environmental issues – many make purchase decisions based on company values and how they compare to their own values. In contrast to previous generations, Gen Z is more diverse than ever and may be the first generation focused less on consumption and experiences than the search for individuality and a sense of greater good. It is far less successful to create a campaign based around what a customer deserves than craft one highlighting how their choice impacts a cause they care about.
Even though this generation holds similarities to Millennials, they are even more diverse and unique, and require a different approach to marketing. By focusing on quality user experience and transparent company values, you stand to gain a loyal audience with growing cultural influence.