marketing to generation z

Who is Generation Z?

How will you need to be marketing to Generation Z?

This is the group born after the Millennials, and they outnumber millennials by at least 1 million.  While there is no set age or dates of birth, researchers typically use birth years ranging from the mid-1990s to mid-2000s.  That would put the oldest members in the group around age 22 – just graduating from college, perhaps entering the workforce full-time, and your future customers if they aren’t already!  Similarly, some of this group is still in school, but coming into the years where more will be driving, working, and consuming.

This generation was raised connected to the internet (to connect the dots, the movie You’ve Got Mail came out in 1998).  America Online was available for Windows computers in 1992.  Their flat-fee monthly dial-up internet service started in 1996.  So for the most part, this generation likely always had internet in their homes or readily available.

marketing to generation z

They either never knew or can’t remember a world without Facebook and other social media, and online video services such as Netflix and Hulu. They have always been able to purchase online. They have always been connected, not just to the internet but to the entire world as a whole, and therefore have a global outlook.

Generation Z is usually described as frugal and brand wary.  For this oldest segment of the group, their teenage years were spent during a heavy recession, which has shaped their views.

Key point 1:  Gen Zers grew up hearing the horror stories from Millennials about huge student loan debt, which tends to make them financially cautious. This makes them big savers who value good deals. This also makes them more open to career routes that do not require college.

They grew up in a world with the Occupy Wall Street movement.  They have less trust of brands and stronger bullshit filters.  Combine that with the fact that they were raised on the internet, which provides easy ability to dig into what brands truly stand for versus their carefully curated and presented image, and access to unlimited reviews from other consumers – both of which are available to an extent now that they have never been before.  An unauthentic brand is easy to spot.

Key point 2:  Gen Zers highly value authenticity and transparency. Finding ways to communicate that in your messaging will be valuable.

They tend to be savers as opposed to senders.  This also means they have less brand loyalty.  As an example, while millennials flocked to recognizable brand names in apparel and wore their clothing with pride, Gen Z is less willing to be walking advertisements, and as a result many apparel companies are feeling a negative impact on their bottom line.

However, when they do have some loyalty to a brand, they also expect the brand to show them loyalty in return. They need to feel the appreciation.

Key point 3:  Gen Zers tend to trust individuals more than big brands. Some brands are using more social media influencers to connect, and while Gen Zers understand these may be paid endorsements, they still tend to trust the individuals they choose to follow on social media.

Other traits being seen in this group include being more competitive, especially when it comes to the job market, and being more inclusive and accepting of those who may look, act, or love differently than they do.

What impact do you believe some of these trends will have on your business?  What marketing strategies can you start putting in place now?