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Smarten up: Marketing to Generation Z is a Whole New Game Blog Feature
Emily Bair

By: Emily Bair on May 18th, 2018

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Smarten up: Marketing to Generation Z is a Whole New Game

Peronalization | Offline Marketing | Online Marketing | Direct Mail

The Millennial generation is a group covered constantly, but the rapidly-growing Gen Z population deserves its own consideration. Sometimes referred to as “Post-Millennials,” this generation is coming of age – its oldest members entering their early twenties. By 2020, they will account for 40% of all American consumers. As such, Generation Z marketing tactics are forming.

While the exact year when the Millennial generation ends and Gen Z starts is still up for debate, Huffington Post considers members of Generation Z those born from 1995 on – the eldest being 23 years old.

In many ways, Gen Z takes many of the characteristics of Millennials to a new level. They are better multitaskers, but less focused; even more entrepreneurial, but less willing to take the traditional route of higher education; more tolerant of others, but less likely to commit to serious romantic relationships while they’re young.

Interestingly, Post-Millennials are less price-conscious than Millennials, the latter of whom came of age during the recession. 76% of Millennials surveyed said that they visit a website to get a coupon, whereas the majority of Gen Z would not. Gen Z are also roughly 17% less likely to click on an online ad before making a purchase.

Generation Z is also known for short attention spans, which leads them to make quick decisions. Their buying decisions are based on their perceived benefits and results for them as individuals. Being treated as an individual – especially in the digital space – is very important to them. Even as individuals, Gen Z’ers want to change the world and are filled with optimism – a far cry from Gen X’ers who are characterised as cynicists.

So, how should the characteristics Generation Z influence your marketing tactics? What’s the best way to connect with them and build a relationship with these consumers?

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Quickly Show your Worth, Not Your Product

As the only generation that doesn’t know life without internet access, Gen Z and their universal connectivity means that their constantly bombarded by brands vying for their attention. The average attention span of a Post-Millennial is roughly eight seconds. Gen Z’ers don’t put much value on their attention, either. As such, “selling” to Generation Z requires you to clearly and quickly communicate a benefit-driven value proposition. You can’t sell product features – Gen Z prospects want to know what success they’ll achieve by using your product or service. How will you help them?

You use provide channels that quickly provide the knowledge your prospects are seeking. Your blog posts, videos, instagram photos or emails need to capture your prospects’ attention quickly. But you can’t use gimmicks. You have to explain what the content is about and why they should care.

Think of your Gen Z prospects as partners, not customers. Approach them with a mindset of collaboration – partnership that will empowers them, and ultimately, your brand. Companies that are able to demonstrate expertise and a true understanding of the needs of their Gen Z prospects’ will have a great advantage.

If you do interest a prospect from Gen Z, you can’t make them work to get the information they’re looking for. That means you may have to limit how heavily you gate your content. You may not be able to gate top-of-the-funnel content at all. If Post-Millennials have to labor to access your content, they may not even bother – “On to the next one.” 

Be Authentic

Though they’re not coming from a place of cynicism, Post-Millennials value honesty, transparency and authenticity. Your content needs to be engaging and true. They know when you’re trying to speak to the masses, and they rebel against corporate America. You have to connect with them on a personal level.

Generation Z doesn’t care if you’ve been in business for 30 years. They don’t care that you think you’re an industry leader. They will make their own conclusions, and a big part of that process relies on user-generated content. Gen Z is ingrained in Amazon, Yelp, TripAdvisor and other platforms that give them unbiased reviews and recommendations. Forget your handful of handpicked testimonials – They’ll read through 50 customer reviews in order to validate your brand and offering. This also rings true when they are searching out job opportunities. We see that majority of candidates we speak to have done their research and scoped out reviews on Glassdoor.

Once they do interact with you, you to deliver a tailored, personal experiences. Leverage data to learn what’s important to each prospect. Just don’t make the mistake of focusing on your message alone. How you communicate your message is critical. Post-Millennials rely heavily on visual engagement and will judge you with their eyes. Every element of a piece of content elicits feelings. Make sure those emotions are the ones you want associated with your brand. 

Support Relevant Social and Local Causes

Related to your authenticity, Generation Z cares if you support local and national causes. Because they have a genuine desire to make the world a better place, your efforts to do the same are important to them.

Can you help drive social change? Can you improve our lives? With so many companies stepping up to further important causes, many prospects from Gen Z may not even consider you if they don’t think you’re contributing to creating a better world. 

You may not be able to build a social program of your own, but there may be local charities with which you can partner. While any philanthropy is beneficial, you don’t want your efforts to come off as self-promotional. Working with nonprofits and organizations that share your brand values will be viewed as more authentic than random efforts.

Adopt a Mobile-First Strategy, Emphasizing Video

The product of being born into the internet age is developing mobile-first habits. If you want to engage Gen Z prospects, you must adopt a mobile-first branding and marketing. Native apps, Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat are some of Post-Millennials’ most frequently-visited channels, and they’ll visit your site from their smartphones too.

Many businesses invest in new websites that may look great on a computer, but deliver a less-than-desirable experience on mobile. That experience outhgt to use plenty of video content, too. A recent study of Gen Z showed that:

  • Nine in 10 respondents watch YouTube daily
  • 70% prefer streaming over broadcast or cable TV
  • Over 25% post original video content on their social sites weekly

If reaching this audience requires you to be visual, you need to emphasize the most engaging visual content. Video content on your site, social media outlets and other channels are key to capturing the attention of your Generation Z audience.

Include Direct Mail In Your Strategy

Another visual way that you can capture Generation Z’s attention is by incorporating direct mail into your strategy. This is a generation that grew up with the internet and have been inundated with advertisements and marketing tactics online, but they aren’t as used to direct mail as previous generations. In fact, direct mail will feel even more personalized than online efforts as it shows you took the time to send something directly to them, rather than a blanketed marketing approach.

Develop Meaningful Connections

If you don’t understand your audience and tailor your messaging and aesthetic to suit their style, how can you expect to reach them? Generation Z values connection (on many levels). Do your homework and leverage data that will help you personalize your brand experience. Especially if you want to reach multiple demographics and generations, you must segment your audience into specific personas.

By catering marketing tactics to Generation Z and each persona, you’ll be in a better position to capture their attention. When you do, make sure your message is authentic, benefit-driven and to the point. Without these fundamentals, your Post-Millennial audience is simply unwilling to listen.

How can you combine personalization and video to effectively nurture and close your prospects? Click below to download The All-Encompassing Guide To Crushing Personalized Video.

Personalized Video