Z is for GEN Z
Millennials are almost everyone’s target market these days, so how do we connect?
Generation Z cops a lot of flak. Accusations of laziness, apathy and selfishness. But they’re also the biggest consumers any generation has ever seen – the most marketed-to generation EVER. This should come as no surprise given that social media is basically taking over the world. It’s like a social media apocalypse out there. Gen Zs watch between 30,000 and 40,000 commercials a year. They’re all over YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, you name it. Andy Warhol was right – with social media and viral videos and stories on any given day, everyone has access to 15 minutes of fame.
Just to refresh, Gen Z incorporates millennials born roughly between 1980 and 2010, so the oldest are just moving out of their teen years and starting to navigate their way in a more ‘adult’ world. They’re at school or Uni, entering the work force and finding their feet. Goldman Sachs calls them the biggest generation in history – even bigger than the baby boom. This is serious.
And they are your target market. According to Tapology, millennials have over $237 billion to spend, and an attention span of less than a goldfish.
The difference between earlier generations and those born in the 21st century is that millennials need to be engaged more on the emotive than the cognitive scale. More than ever, they want to put their money somewhere that means something. They’re buying for purpose, the story, the WHY. Even when they’re choosing employment, not just products, Gen Z want to make a difference in the world. And they can see through traditional, one-dimensional marketing.
Goldman Sachs put together an infographic on millennials, saying they're entering their prime spending years and “poised to reshape the economy”, including how we buy and sell.
We’re living in a sharing economy, and youngsters are the ones driving consumerism in that sphere – look at Uber, AirBnB, Pozible and other crowdfunding campaigns. They’ve grown up trusting social networking and it’s all about community for them. So how can you market your product or service to really connect with that market? How can you share, create content and be a point of contact and reference for Gen Z?
A study by SocialChorus found that 95% of millennials say their friends are the most credible source of information on product and brand. What does this tell us? That they trust each other more than big, corporate brands and traditional advertising. Look at Yelp and TripAdvisor – they show real, un-paid-for reviews of places that can’t be found on Buzzfeed-style lists of ‘Top Burgers in Sydney’. It’s about sharing, transparency and showcasing that the person behind your brand is just like them.
It’s important to create a character for your ideal market – give them a name, a look, style, voice, etc. Where would they hang out? How would they come across your product? What story can you sell for your brand? What can keep your Gen Z customer feeling socially connected and on-purpose, while still being desirable, “cool”, fun, innovative and entertaining?
Research your target market. Sit in hipster cafes and listen to conversations around you. Have a chat with your niece/nephew, boss’s son, whoever you can possibly connect with to hear their story and what they want. Take a walk in their shoes. Think about it like this – you wouldn’t try to write your own detective novel without first reading a bunch of detective novels to see how it’s done. You wouldn’t make an instructional video for Chinese-American students without first meeting and speaking with some Chinese-American students.
Millennials are looking for new and cool and the next big thing – will you be it?
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