Is it too early to market to Generation Z?
By: Kennedy Schwefler, Account Service
If you think four months is too early to market to Generation Z, then hold off on changing any marketing strategies and consider yourself a laggard. However, early adopters out there looking to catch the eyes of Gen Z, who will make up 40 percent of all consumers by 2020, are probably already changing things up to meet their high demand. “Generation Z has arrived—and they’re very different from Millennials,” Denise Villa, PH.D., CEO and Co-Founder of The Center for Generational Kinetics stated. This post-millennial generation is changing the world of business as we once knew it, and the funny thing is—it’s happening right before our very eyes. Gen Z, classified as those born in 1995 or later, are much different than those who have reached adulthood in the early 2000s. These young emerging adults place emphasize on the importance of their time and the values and connectivity of the businesses around them; therefore, they have marketers, all over the world, changing the way they strategize messages. Pew Research states, “Gen Z will contribute $44 billion to the American economy by 2020,” and if this hasn’t caught the attention of billions of marketers, we don’t know what will. So, for those who haven’t started developing new market strategies for this generation, you’re behind.
More about Gen Z, and what they stand for
“Everything in this generation is immediate,” states Business Insider. A world, without the internet at the touch of your fingers, is a world Gen Z knows no part of. They grew up surrounded by technology and social media. “Tech is all we have ever known about and has been in our lives since we were babies." — New York resident Isabel Lagando told Business Insider. This immersion is contrary to Millennials who were not introduced to such a tech-driven world until the 2000s.
Also, Gen Z has distinct opinions about company values. They were the first to consider a company’s values before buying products and investing because they are so apt to share their beliefs on social media. They consider themselves the critics of “just about everything” and love to share their thoughts online. According to research from Social Media Link, “over 60 percent of Gen Zers say they leave a review often, if not every time.” Now think about this, if 40 percent of consumers will be Gen Zers by 2020, those are a lot of online reviews! This has a lot of agencies rethinking and adapting some social strategies and reputation efforts.
Additionally, Gen Zers are attracted to authenticity and brands that are humanized (a.k.a. they see through the fluff in advertisements and want clear, transparent messaging). The best way to market, to the Gen Z audience, is to capture their hearts and minds. They want to be part of something bigger— something that’s making a positive change in the world.
Why does the Gen Z takeover matter?
Gen Z consumers are the largest stakeholders in most companies today. Thus, brands need to align with their consumers to maintain everlasting relationships and continue to grow. According to CONE, 64% of Gen Z consumers say their purchasing is driven by a company’s ethical values and authenticity, 42% have stopped doing business with a company because of the words or actions of their employees about a social issue, and 31% are attracted to brands that take a political stand on issues they care about. They need to see companies expanding their purpose to reflect social responsibility. Gen Z wants tangible and impactful ways to engage in important issues. Therefore, strong efforts, made in corporate social, will boost the company’s reputation and bottom-line, especially in the eyes of Gen Z.
All in all, four months is basically tomorrow, and if your company has already aligned its marketing strategies to the eye of the new consumer, then you’re in luck. For those out there who have not, may this be the enlightenment you need to start moving and better connecting with the new generation changing the world as we once knew it.
To find out more, check out this VIDEO.
Sources: Accenture.com study; Forbes.com; CONE (a Porter Novelli company); The Gen Z Podcast; Next Generation Catalyst Podcast; Business Insider