What You Need To Know About Gen Z Marketing

by | Oct 17, 2016 | Content Marketing | 0 comments

Millennials have gotten a lot of attention from marketers over the past few years, but as time goes by, it is time to start looking at the next generation: Gen Z. Just as Millennials required different marketing strategies than the generations older than them, so does this new group.

Although many of them are still teenagers and younger, a significant number of them play a major role in their parent’s decisions when buying products. The older Gen Z’ers are also entering college and are just a few years from adulthood, making it important to start building relationships with them now that will carry into their future.

Who Are Gen Z?

Gen Z marketing begins the same as any strategy: knowing who the target audience is. Those who were born after 1995, including newborns this year, fall under this generational designation. It already makes up the majority of the population at 25.9 percent. This group of people should not just be thought of as “young Millennials” who will react similarly to marketing aimed at Millennials. This generation grew up even more immersed in technology, the internet and social media.

Gen Z makes up 25.9 percent of the population.

Compared with Millennials, Gen Z uses 5 screens compared to 2, communicates with images rather than text and is made up of realists rather than optimists. Many also identify as multiracial, with a more than 50 percent increase since 2000 in those who do so. This generation also knows how to effectively research online and do not respond to falsities at all, which includes hyperbolic statements for marketing and advertising purposes. These are just a few examples of the many key ways the two generations differ.

Don’t Try to Be Like Them

When developing content marketing strategies for Gen Z, it is tempting to try to show them you are hip like them. However, this will have the opposite effect. Gen Z’ers respond adversely when they see a brand doing something just to market to them. They are sharp and can quickly tell the difference between an honest effort and one that is done solely to get their money. As a whole, this generation is very adept at researching and can find the information they need in order to determine the accuracy and honesty of your campaigns.

Gen Z has a high filter for relevant content. Within 8 seconds, they will move on if they are not interested in the content. This is not due to short attention spans; when interested, they have the capacity to spend hours on a task. They just don’t have time for anything that does not interest them. Therefore, it is important to catch their attention quickly and then keep it. If you do not have something of interest right up front, expect them to not wait around long enough to see the value of the content.

Facilitate Active Participation and Engagement

Older generations were happy to sit back and watch an ad or review a marketing piece. Gen Z marketing needs to include much more active participation. One way to do this is to enlist them as brand advocates to their friends and social network. Provide them with tasks to help your company grow, such as posting about your company on their social media platforms. Collaboration is a key way to enhance your marketing efforts.

Another way to create effective campaigns to Gen Z is to ask your audience to help create an ad. For example, they can film themselves using your product or services and send it to you to be edited into the ad. Several companies have started to do this. For example, there is an Apple ad using a montage of videos shot on the iPhone and the Clearblue pregnancy test ads using real people responding to finding out they are pregnant.

Prefer Real People

Gen Z marketing has to be careful not to act or promote false narratives. Gen Z’ers want reality in their advertisements and marketing. Compared with 37 percent of those who prefer seeing celebrities, 63 percent would rather watch real people in ads. Those same ads are more effective if the narrative is more realistic rather than one that is unlikely.

If you do choose to enlist the help of celebrities, think beyond star power of TV and movies. Many of the most famous people to this generation are actually YouTube stars and other social media influencers and internet stars. Rather than head to a studio to watch a TV show taping or crowd around a movie shoot, this generation will more likely head to Vidcon, an annual online video conference. Use one of these people in your ads for an enhanced effect over the more traditional celebrity.

Look to the Future

If you have enough capital in your company, look at some of the rising technology and invest in using it. One major example is virtual reality (VR). It remains in its early stages, with sets just starting to be developed and ready for retail. Finding ways to jump on board the VR train within your company’s budget will help you to find Gen Z marketing efforts that resonate. About 79 percent of Gen Z’ers are interested in VR technology. As an added bonus, you will also find a medium that attracts others, as 73 percent of Millennials, 70 percent of Gen X’ers, and 64 percent of Baby Boomers are interested in this medium.

Choose Your Social Media Wisely

Gen Z marketing has to include social media. However, it is important that you choose wisely. Facebook is often encouraged as the place for social media marketing; however, it might not have as much of an impact to Gen Z’ers as it does to older generations. Gen Z’ers are still on Facebook and will respond to your marketing; however, there are other channels that take up a lot more of their time. Many spend hours on Snapchat engaging with their friends, celebrities and brands. They also head to Instagram in droves. Despite this usage, a large chunk, 67 percent, still choose Facebook as the most used platform, so you should not disregard it.

Many people in this group will visit multiple sites a day, so it is best to run complementary campaigns across social media platforms. You do not want to run the same one, as you will lose the ability to attract the same Gen Z user to follow you on multiple channels. The content should also be tailored to each social media platform’s strengths. Using a cross-platform integrated content marketing strategy will help you build better brand recognition and attract users. Just be sure that you remain true to your brand and constant across all your properties.

It is possible to run effective Gen Z marketing without having to hire someone in this generation to run it. By bearing in mind the way they view the world, especially their mistrust of advertising, you can create a content marketing strategy that will attract them to your brand. Just be sure to remain transparent and find ways to engage directly with your audience and let them participate.

Greg Secrist
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