It’s safe to say, Gen Z is pretty different from previous generations. I mean, look at the world right now; they are growing up during a racial revolution, global warming, high political tension, and an economic recession all amidst a pandemic…yeesh! How are they coping? By interacting online.
Who are Gen Zers?
Gen Zers are skeptical, media-literate, innovative, visual, hyperaware, socially conscious and most important for marketers to keep in mind, they are digital natives. Some may argue that Millennials are too but though the web was alive when they were growing up, it was just a baby. Gen Zers don’t know anything but a fully-formed digital world. This expansive landscape quickly became a breeding ground for social media innovators. Though Snapchat, Instagram, and Vine (RIP), had some personalized creative capabilities, TikTok really sparked an influx of user-generated content. Then when the thing we’re all sick of hearing about happened (coronavirus), it became even more popular as people didn’t have much to do in quarantine so why not learn the newest TikTok dance? Teens were getting crafty, bold and experimental in hopes of going viral or at the minimum, having their voice be heard. These voices sang in pride, trembled in fear, laughed to forget and rallied for hope which sparked a movement of vulnerability across social media platforms.
The openness that appeared on social apps provided public opportunities to discuss prevalent societal issues. Truth is, this young demographic feels immense pressure to help the world because of the lack of care and progress made by the generations before them. What does this mean for marketers? Well, Gen Zers seek to buy from companies that not only commit to supporting good causes but are vocal about their support and act as role models for businesses around them. We love to see it.
Brands to emulate to gain Gen Z’s trust:
- Target announced a freshwater stewardship approach in 2018 that shares how to improve water quality, optimize water efficiency and increase access to clean water.
- Netflix funds renewable energy production from sources like solar and wind.
- Adidas requires equal pay.
- Google has been carbon neutral for 13 years.
- Dove launched the Self-Esteem Project campaign in 2004 and has been committed to that mission ever since helping millions of women develop a positive relationship with their bodies.
How do we market to this unique group?
- Implement influencer marketing but don’t rely on just any influencer. Search for those who are relatable, genuine and truly vibe with your brand because consumers flock to passion and authenticity. YouTuber Sarah’s Day for example is tearing it up in the health and wellness industry because people appreciate how real she is. She is always excited about the products she shares and is the same person in front of the camera as she is behind the camera.
- Craft google ads with product comparisons or reviews. Again, Gen Z friends are skeptical and want to make sure a purchase is worth it. 86% of Gen Z relies on user reviews before making a first-time purchase.
- Leverage social media platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok and Youtube. Facebook is kind of off the grid with this group as they prefer ever-evolving platforms that come up with new avenues for them to creatively express themselves.
- Encourage brands to stand behind a cause and vocalize that stance.
- Optimize for mobile. Gen Zers spend 85 hours a month on their smartphones.
- Be unique and innovative: Gen Z friends have an average attention span of 8 seconds dropping by 4 seconds compared to Millennials. This leaves a short amount of time to make an impact. First impressions are huge.
- Utilize social media components that provide an in-app experience like Instagram’s shopping feature. When you click on the product details, it takes you directly to the page for a seamless social shopping experience.
- Tell a story through the visual art of video. The power of video marketing can give your brand the humanness this generation appreciates.
Being innovators themselves, Gen Zers expect you to bring creativity to the table but as you can see, there are other ways to pique their interest so, what’s the first step you’re going to take to harness the impact of Generation Z?