The marketing reign of millennials is coming to an end. The successors: the younger and even more tech-savvy Generation Z. This demographic is the first generation to grow up in a completely digital world. They are also the most culturally and ethnically diverse groups in American history. Given their unique characteristics, Gen Z presents marketing challenges and opportunities previously unexplored. Organizations need to prepare for Gen Z now or be left behind. Here are four questions brands need to understand when strategizing:
Who Are They?
Gen Z was born between the mid-1990s to the mid-2000s. They are technologically dependent, never knowing a time without access to the Internet. This group is also immensely self-reliant, with 77% earning their own money and 12% saving for retirement. Gen Z was also born into a time of social unrest, witnessing and contributing to revolutionary change through social media. As a result, this generation is fairly optimistic about the future and their ability to impact the world.
What Do They Value?
Gen Z is socially engaged. They expect universal equality and are not afraid to fight for it. In this way, Gen Z is strangely similar to Baby Boomers, who were known for their activism. This generation also values immediacy. With a few swipes, Gen Z can buy tickets to a concert and follow their favorite celebrity. They also value authenticity and personalization, even more than Millennials. While this does mean additional work for marketers, this also means that even small brands have an opportunity to make an impact. Name brand has much less value as does quality and personalization.
What Is Their Current Impact?
Gen Z has $44 billion in buying power. They also significantly influence the buying behavior of other generations. This is partly because this generation lives at home, often helping their parents and grandparents become more tech-savvy. It is also because their high-level digital engagement sets trends. Business and nonprofits must keep up with buying shifts and cultural changes to remain relevant.
How Should Marketers Plan For Gen Z?
One of the best ways to prepare for this group is to strengthen your digital presence. Gen Z lives online, and so should your brand. It is also crucial that every marketing strategy has a personal touch. While Gen Z is fairly self-reliant, they expect to be treated as valued customers at every stage of the buyer’s process. Partnering with social influencers is a great way to accomplish this. Gen Z values the opinions of those they follow online more than a celebrity endorsement. Find people with significant followings willing to support your brand. This helps create personal connections that boost your brand’s credibility. Promotional products are another great way to stand out. Offer something highly useful and unique that aligns with a digital campaign.
While Gen Z is similar to their predecessors, it is important to take steps to address their specific needs. The key is to understand how they differ from millennials and use this information to develop more inclusive strategies. The more prepared your organization is now, the better your marketing future will be.
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