Before we get into the article about reaching Generation Z, let’s first figure out what that generation is all about.
According to Tech Target, here’s what it all means:
Generation Z is the demographic cohort following Generation Y, also known as the Millennials or the Millennial Generation; other names suggested for the cohort include iGeneration (iGen), Gen Tech, Gen Wii, Net Gen, Digital Natives and Plurals.
The dates given for Generation Z range from the mid-1990s through the second decade of this century, although precise years vary according to the source. At over two billion individuals, Generation Z is the most populous generational cohort of all time.
In common with Millennials, Generation Z is comfortable with technologies that are fairly recent for older generations, and Gen Z has grown up in the current environment of ubiquitous mobile communications. The younger members of the cohort may not remember any other environment.
Doesn’t make sense to you? Well, it’s not rocket science. If you’re younger than a millennial and old enough to buy things, you’re part of Generation Z.
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Why they matter
Unless you’re looking at a super short get-rich-quick scheme, chances are you’re in it for the long-term and Generation Z is the future whether you like it or not. Let’s list the things that are reality:
- Generation Z have spending power and more often than not, are less cost-conscious compared to millennials
- Partly due to the increasing wealth and also because they may not have the same monetary upbringing that their predecessors had during more fiscally prudent times
- They are the next workforce and are growing increasingly entrepreneurial in nature
- They have embraced the gig-economy and are rejecting tried and tested norms in the workforce
- Their behaviour and technology usage is different. They use more technology than other generations but are not driven by the same cues or triggers that marketers know and love
- In the US, Generation Z doesn’t shop that much using their smartphone and rarely download a brand’s mobile app
- Social media is a key factor in their purchasing decisions, especially when it comes to recommendations
So what do we do differently
Here’s where it gets interesting and slightly confusing for the traditional and performance marketers out there. Generation Z has seen all your tricks before and they’re a bit hesitant to believe you, so here’s how you make them trust you:
- Honesty matters: The younger generation is considerably more aware and politically astute than ever before. Rather than just saying that you love the environment or ‘Don’t be evil’, you have to be able to back it up. Integrity matters more than it used to, so marketers need to be a bit more honest in how they communicate with consumers.
- Digitally native experiences are key: Generation Z is a culturally diverse and digitally native group of individuals. They honestly never lived in a world without internet or social media or had to put up with the hell that is dial-up internet. Generation Z often wants customisable experiences that fit their needs and wants, so brands who want to target them specifically need to create an experience or product that fits their needs.
- Influencers work: Before you rain down the hate, let me clarify. Real influencers work. So find people who speak to this audience, is authentic and knows how to engage them and then work with this person(s) on reaching out to the group. Take everything we’ve said so far and apply to this as well.
- Become your online presence: Generation Z consumes (and creates) more content than any other generation combined (I assume). YouTube, Twitch, Vimeo and other streaming sites make great places to catch the eyeballs of Generation Z. However, as mentioned, it is essential to take everything we learnt about honesty, experience and authenticity to heart, because putting up corporate videos won’t work.
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Are we all doomed?
If you’re not prepared to change, then honestly, you might actually be doomed. However, most marketers will adapt and brands will follow suit.
We can’t avoid Generation Z, but it is an opportunity for us to reach out to a whole new segment of potential customers, employees and influencers who will dominate the world in the near future.
About the author
Terng Shing is the Founder and CEO of SYNC PR, a PR and content marketing startup that uses technology to reduce time wasting and administrative tasks in delivering results. Based in Singapore, Terng Shing has been focused on helping startups and SMEs build their brand story through media and content.
His experience includes a decade of work in PR and communications agencies, managing top-tier fortune 500 companies to the leading startups in Southeast Asia. Terng Shing has a passion for innovative communications and is convinced that PR is the next great industry to see positive disruption.