Everybody is talking about marketing to Generation Z at the moment. You know, the under 18-year-olds, born after the year 2000, next in line after the Millennials. Also known as iGeneration, Digital Natives, Gen Tech, NetGen, Gen Next, or Pluralist Generation (abbreviated as “Plurals”).
The main reason why the iGeneration is the talk of the (marketing) town right now is simple: They’re throwing a major curveball to proven marketing strategies! What’s working for other generations appears not to be working for Generation Z.
Upon closer inspection, the generation raised in the world of smartphones, selfies, blogs, and Facebook poses quite the paradox: On one hand, Generation Z is the most highly-connected generation in history. Ridden by FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out), they spend nearly half (41%) of their non-school day on a computer or mobile device, according to a recent Sparks & Honey study.
But on the other hand, Generation Z is extremely selective regarding the brands they trust – and spend their parents’ money on – as well as the messages they are willing to let into their worlds. So for brands, it’s a thin line between a warm embrace – and the firewall.
This is why brand marketers must learn how to forge what Forbes’ 2014 Cassandra Report on Generation Z calls, “intimate and honest relationships” with these fast-moving young sceptics and pragmatists sooner than later.
To get things rolling, our guide has six strategies for how your brand can start preparing their marketing campaigns for the kids who will be their best customers—or worst nightmares:
1. The Golden Rule: You’ve got to keep it short.
Generation Z’s attention span is short and they use as many as five different screens during the day. According to a Nielsen study, 84% of them watch TV while using at least one internet-connected device simultaneously. Marketers need to focus on short messages, front-loaded with enough attention-grabbers and “click bait” to entice even the most distracted minds.
2. Be inspiring, empowering, and relevant. Generation Z is the most racially diverse of any generation (at least in the USA), and in terms of identity politics, they are highly liberal, accepting of gender and religious differences. Brands need to lead the way with good behavior and alignment with positive causes – your citizenship matters to this group, and they will judge brands by the company they keep and their larger social actions.
3. Remember, you’re talking to individuals. Generation Z is the most socially and economically diverse generation in history, and they want to be addressed as individuals, not “teenagers” or “girls,” etc. The good news: They welcome personalized marketing, according to the Future Foundation, and will respond positively to brands that recognize their uniqueness. Oh, and also remember that you’re talking to 7- to 13-year-olds, for the most part, so skip the irony (totally Generation X anyway) and get straight to the point.
4. Make sure information is shareable and visual.
GenZ has no time to copy-paste a URL of a website they want to share – where’s the “Share”-button? Make sure your messages are instantly shareable, not to Facebook (“My mom’s on Facebook! Ewww!”) but to Gen Z-approved platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, Vine, iMessage, Tumblr and Kik. And because images are the gold standard on these social media platforms, invest time and effort into creating a likeable, consistent art style for your brand’s campaigns.
5. Be quick.
Previous generations had a much more relaxed attitude towards timeliness. Generation Z, not so much. Maybe it’s because of increased Internet speeds, but Gen Next wants to have their problem solved before they know they have one. And they want that rebate voucher to be delivered—to their phones—before they even realize they want it. Get it done! Now!
6. Bring together the virtual and the real.
Members of Gen Next don’t distinguish hugely between their online and offline worlds. They are not going to seek out your brand, but will be impressed by your presence in their hangouts, virtual and otherwise. Make sure your brand is present where Generation Z likes to spend time and congregate – at music festivals, on live-streamed events – and find ways for connecting physical and digital experiences in a satisfying way.
Automated marketing may well hold the key to success with Gen Z. If executed poorly, it runs the risk of alienating this demographic, which values meaningful and authentic communication and has witnessed technology’s dark side (cyber bullying, identity theft, etc.).
But if automated marketing is executed with tact, respect and imagination, it can help weave a cohesive and complete brand story across this demographic’s multi-screen communication ecosystem.
Empowered by an omnichannel customer engagement platform such as Selligent, marketers have full, real-time visibility into customers’ behavior, and are able to track Generation Z’s activity across all touch points and devices.
Selligent’s holistic view of 360-customer profiles coupled with technologies for segmentation and communications cadence management for different audiences, will position your brand for successful, and most of all, trustworthy interactions with Generation Z.
For more detailed insights into the iGeneration – with some lowdown on Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Millennials – download our free Selligent whitepaper “Z Marks The Spot: Get Your Brand Ready For Generation Z” by clicking here.