According to Insider Intelligence, Gen Z, the generation after Millennials, born 1997-2012, is the largest generation in American history to grow up with technology, the internet, and social media. They’ve been called tech-addicted, anti-social, or social justice warriors. Regardless of the stereotypes, Gen Z is the generation changing the world through social media.
Gen Z is now a significant part of the consumer world, and their estimated spending power is 29 billion dollars annually. This fact has marketers evaluating efficient and relevant ways to reach them. How do you attract a Gen Z audience? Surprisingly, it’s not just with great products or services; the answer may also lie within your brand’s affiliations.
Being that understanding your audience is an essential part of marketing, here are some vital things to understand about Gen Z:
Gen Z stands for something.
For Gen Z, brands must also have an affiliation for something larger than themselves. According to Facebook for Business, “68% of Gen Zers expect brands to contribute to society” and “77% say they feel more positive toward a brand when it promotes gender equality on social media.” This generation has evolved their identities from “me” to “we” because of their value and belief in community, inclusivity, and building a better world. Gen Z looks for brands that share these same values.
With this in mind, consider your brand’s content and social media marketing as great ways to start showing your brand’s affiliation and take the first step toward aligning your marketing to the expectations of a new generation. It may strengthen the connection with your current consumers and bring new consumers into your community to create engaging videos, blogs, and other content that gives more insight into your brand’s beliefs, culture, and attitude. Be aware, though; it takes more than posts on social media; your brand also needs to invest in what it stands for.
Most consumers want their favorite brand to believe in the same values and ethical standards as they do, making a difference in the world together. Gen Z is no exception and, being tech-savvy, can quickly determine if a brand is authentic, casting a negative light on brands they deem imposters. Remember, Gen Z wants to join your community and speak the same message, so be genuine in your offering, and you’ll have their loyalty.
Gen Z is a lonely Generation.
With the digital revolution in full swing, the global pandemic, and more reliance on tech, Gen Z found screen time to replace their genuine connections, diminishing their real-life relationships. This loss contributed to their growing sense of isolation and led them to search for a sense of meaning and belonging they were craving. According to Marketing Dive, “They want a community – a tribe in which they belong.” How you market a community is where your brand can differentiate itself.
Brands now find themselves on specific platforms, such as TikTok to make users feel like a valuable part of their community and culture. Guinness World Records has created a great community on TikTok’s platform. They have 9.1 million followers and have created the #GWRchallenge, where they dare their followers to share a video of their attempt at specific challenges. These include things like bottling flipping, kick-ups with toilet rolls, and even how fast they can get an oreo down their face. These types of campaigns create unique engagements with their followers.
Gen Z is looking for companies to provide them with a sense of connection and community. Consider more community-based interaction campaigns, fulfilling the Gen Z search for involvement, and you may add more loyalty to your consumer base.
Gen Z is looking to the brands for their ideal communities.
According to the 2019 Spotify report, “62% of Gen Zers and Millennials believe brands have the power to create communities based on common interest and passions.” Workout communities, such as CycleBar, OrangeTheory, and Peloton, are great examples of this. When consumers see these passionate fitness communities, they aren’t attracted to the actual workout but more the lifestyle and social involvement built around the brand. Creating loyalty through an enticing environment, brands have now seen their success skyrocket in part by the community of like-minded people they foster.
Gen Z is a Privacy-Minded Generation.
Like the rest of the generations, Gen Z is not blind to the fact that websites share their contact information and buying history and, like most, can agree that they’re not comfortable sharing this data. According to the Pew Research Center, “a majority of social network site users – 58% – restrict access to their profiles.”
But, if you’re transparent about your intentions from the beginning, the user has more understanding about the times, as Barbara Herman from R/GA states, “when data is used in ways that go beyond their knowledge.” Even though Gen Z believes that sharing their information is making their ad experience more valuable and that it’s inevitable because of the tech-immersed society we’re living in, they’re still not 100% on board with the idea. This generation is very aware of their privacy, so, with this in mind, the best way to approach Gen Z and user information is with honesty and transparency.
Being honest about your intentions helps assure your consumers and increase your brand authenticity, creating a strong relationship with your customers.
The Generations of Consumers
Marketing that’s inclusive of all generations takes a bit of consideration. Boomers, Gen X, Millennials, and Gen Z all consume marketing differently. Here’s some key takeaways that could help appeal to each generation:
Boomers (1946 – 1964)
Don’t overlook the older generation; though they didn’t grow up tech-savvy like Gen Z, 85% of Boomers feel comfortable shopping online, and roughly 19 million have social media accounts. Not only has this generation been navigating the Internet, but it also holds 54% of the U.S household wealth.
It’s wise to stick to traditional social media marketing for this generation, keeping it familiar and comfortable.
Gen X (1965-1976)
This generation often goes under the radar because it’s smaller than the boomers and millennials. Gen X is full of brand loyalty and, according to Rachel Lamb from Retail Dive, “remembers a time without digital advertising and therefore responds equally to modern and traditional marketing.”
Though now comfortable with the Internet and tech, Gen X still relies heavily on traditional media for product marketing. This generation is full of consumers who have built a love for their favorite brands and never turn their back to them.
Millennials typically prefer digital channels, online shopping and video content. They’re the first generation to open their minds to influencers and are persuaded by the community feel that brands create.
Though they have some of the same tendencies as Gen Z, Millennials can be targeted in traditional ways as well. Millennials check their emails more. ” 74.9% of millennials check their emails three times a day, as opposed to 58% of Gen Z. Millennials rely heavily on their devices to research so if you can get your ad on their screen, it may help persuade them.
Gen Z (1997)
Gen Z not only relies heavily on the Internet but social media. Instagram, Tiktok, and Facebook have become not only a place for online connections but has become a marketplace for these users. This generation is influenced by social media, Youtubers, and other public figures. Marketers are now incorporating more of these thoughts in their marketing strategies.
Social media influences all the generations, but significantly Gen Z, where the majority of their purchasing comes from social media campaigns. GWI’s flagship report on the latest social media trends states that social media is “holding a lot of purchasing power, this grouped heightened presence on social sites should be addressed to marketers.” When looking at all the generations, it is essential to know the minor differences between them, which could make significant differences in your marketing campaigns.
What this all means …
With their solid connections on social platforms, their ability to change brand perception, and their spending power, adding Gen Z to your consumer base poses new considerations when marketing your brand or business. It may be time to adjust your marketing strategies and understand that content plus connection may very well be the new king in digital advertising.