Millennial Marketing Is So Last Year – How to Reach Generation Z

Over the past few years or so, millennial marketing has received the lion’s share of attention in terms of reaching an age-based demographic.

And it’s easy to see why. “Millennials have $200 billion in buying power.”

But if I’ve learned anything about marketing, it’s that success revolves around perpetual evolution.

Limiting yourself to a certain mindset or set of marketing techniques will only lead to stagnation.

While it’s true that millennials will continue to demand much of our attention for years to come, it’s important to acknowledge the presence of Generation Z—people born after 1995.

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They’re on the rise and already have a significant influence.

Why should you care about generation Z?

Although it wasn’t all that long ago that this generation was still in diapers, things have changed, and they’re growing up quick.

A portion of Generation Z is already in college, and some of them have entered the workforce.

They’re also consumers and currently have $44 billion in buying power.

By 2018, their spending will reach $200 billion. That’s a massive increase in only a short period of time.

What’s even more interesting is their overall influence on spending. In fact, Gen-Zers influence $600 billion in family spending. That’s a lot!

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As of now, Generation Z makes up 26 percent of the population, and by 2020, they’ll account for 40 percent of all consumers.

Think about that for a second. In just a few short years, nearly half of all consumers will be from this generation.

When marketers look at stats like these, it’s easy to see why they’re chomping at the bit to reach this demographic.

Tailoring your marketing campaign to reach Generation Z right now can pay dividends in the long run.

It should also give you a decided edge over competitors that are still primarily focusing on reaching millennials.

So, let’s discuss how you can adjust your marketing efforts to better align this Gen-Zers.

Understanding the psychology of Gen Z

In order to connect with this generation, it’s first necessary to gain an understanding of their mindset and overall mentality.

We need to know what differentiates them from millennials and older generations.

Download this cheat sheet to learn how to align your marketing efforts to better align with Gen Z.

Quite frankly, there are some considerable differences between this age group and the millennial generation.

As you might imagine, Gen-Zers are incredibly tech-savvy.

They’ve never known a world without the Internet, and the overwhelming majority of their media consumption is done online.

They use a variety of different devices, including desktop, laptop, tablet, smartphone, and so on.

It should also come as no surprise that they have short attention spans.

In fact, Bloomberg reports that “this new generation has an eight second attention span, down from 12 seconds in 2000, and 11 percent are diagnosed with attention deficiency syndrome, compared to 7.8 percent in 2003.”

What may come as a surprise is Generation Z’s desire to make the world a better place.

Even though they’re young, they seem to share a collective urgency to have a positive influence on the planet.

Sixty percent of 16- to 19-year-olds want their jobs to impact the world, 26 percent currently volunteer, and 76 percent are concerned about humanity’s impact on the planet.

These numbers are significantly higher than those for millennials, who seem to be far less concerned with having an impact on a global level.

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As a result, companies with strong values and a focus on social responsibility can be appealing to Gen-Zers.

Finally, this generation has a penchant for performing research and “self-educating.”

Thirty-three percent of them watch lessons online; 20 percent read textbooks on their tablets; and 32 percent work with classmates online.

How does this information translate into a marketing approach?

Here are some specific tactics I find to be tremendously valuable when attempting to reach Generation Z.

Gen Z wants videos

I think that, hands down, video content is one of the most effective ways to market to this generation.

Studies have actually found that “93 percent of Gen Z say they visit YouTube at least once a week, and 54 percent visit the site multiple times throughout the day.”

These numbers are a clear indication that video is one of your best bets for getting your brand in front of this demographic.

More specifically, creating videos that serve a purpose and that are educational/entertaining can be highly effective.

The whole concept of “edutainment” is really huge right now, so taking this route can bring about some solid results.

The key is to be relatable and showcase the personality of your brand. If you come across merely as some faceless, overly-corporate company, you won’t have much of an impact.

Gen-Zers want brands they can genuinely connect with.

Just think about successful YouTube stars as a template. They’ve got personality and are great at relating directly to their audiences.

Gen Z isn’t all about Facebook

I think it’s safe to say that Facebook is the marquee social network for many brands.

And why wouldn’t it be? With well over one billion users, Facebook is the ultimate social media titan.

But did you know that a quarter of 13- to 17-year-olds have left Facebook this year?

If this trend continues, Facebook may merely be an afterthought in five years when Gen Z is all grown up.

When it comes to reaching older generations, Facebook is still one of your best bets, and this is likely to remain the case for the foreseeable future.

But when it comes to Generation Z, it’s important you go beyond Facebook and target other networks.

Maybe Facebook is losing its cool factor because so many of Gen Z’s parents are now on it, or maybe it’s because it doesn’t have quite the same appeal as newer networks.

Whatever the reason, your impact with Facebook is likely to be minimal.

Some specific networks that should be on your radar are Instagram, Snapchat, and Vine.

All three feature easily digestible content with images on Instagram and brief clips on all three that users can view in a matter of seconds.

A couple of other lesser known networks you may also want to experiment with are Whisper and Secret—also ideal for those with limited attention spans.

Gen Z likes social causes

As I mentioned earlier, a sizable portion of Gen-Zers are socially conscious and have a genuine desire to have a positive impact.

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As you can see from this graphic, there’s a strong urge to change the world, and many Gen-Zers are passionate about certain causes.

Showing you genuinely care and are committed to a worthy cause can be your ticket to making a connection with this demographic and building brand equity.

If it’s clear you’re in it only for the money, these individuals will see through it, and it’s going to be nearly impossible to gain their respect or trust.

If you haven’t done so already, try to work social good into your marketing campaign and consider becoming active in philanthropy.

One of the best examples of a company that’s great at this is TOMS shoes with their “one for one” concept: they donate a product to a person in need for every product that’s purchased.

They have philanthropy woven into the very fabric of their brand identity and have been wildly successful as a result.

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While you don’t necessarily need to go to this extreme, I would strongly suggest translating that into something your company legitimately cares about.

Gen Z prefers visuals over text

Keeping in line with their inherently short attention spans, it’s clear that long-winded, laborious text-based content just isn’t going to do the trick with Generation Z.

They simply won’t hang around long enough to hear your message.

Remember, this is the first generation that has basically grown up accustomed to auto-correct and emojis.

That’s why you’re way better off sticking with a steady regimen of visual content.

And if you are creating long-form content (like this article), you’ll want to break it up with plenty of images along the way.

Gen Z is on mobile

You should also keep in mind that Gen-Zers use more devices of differing screen sizes than millennials.

In fact, they prefer to use five different screens for multitasking:

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This means your content needs to be mobile-friendly.

If you’re unsure of how to go about this, I recommend checking out this article I wrote on the topic.

Some specific ways to make your content more mobile-friendly include the following:

  • Ditch or simplify pop-ups. Getting hit with irritating pop-ups immediately upon landing on your site can be a deal-breaker for Gen-Zers.
  • Break up your text into smaller paragraphs. Using plenty of white space makes it easier on your readers’ eyes when they are scrolling through content and reduces cognitive overload.
  • Use a lot of subheaders and bullet lists. Generation Z prefers scanning content rather than reading it in its entirety. Highlighting main points in this manner allows them to absorb your content with greater ease.

Gen Z has a short attention…hey, what’s that?

Did I mention that Generation Z has a short attention span?

But seriously, you want to keep your product pitches extremely brief. Otherwise, you’ll lose the majority of your leads.

I think the term “snackable content” captures the essence of what you should be going for.

They don’t want to have to filter through piles and piles of information just to figure out what you’re selling.

Instead, your message needs to be quick, concise, and to the point.

For example, rather than recording a 10-minute video on YouTube, go with a 6-15 second clip on Instagram or Vine.

The good news is that creating content for Generation Z is significantly less time-consuming than it is for millennials or Generation X.

Gen Z is curious

These younger folks have an appetite for knowledge.

They love researching things and learning on their own.

This is actually how many Gen-Zers make their purchasing decisions. They first spend time doing research, learning about the company and determining whether or not a product/service is right for them.

In particular, they enjoy using social media and YouTube for performing research.

You can capitalize on this tendency by creating an archive of content they can use to guide their decision-making. Experimenting with multiple forms of visual-centric media that educates is ideal.

For example, you might create a series of informative brief videos, infographics, slideshows, etc. that will help this younger audience learn more about your product/service.

Gen Z is turned off by salesy stuff

Rather than taking a more old-school—“BUY NOW!”—approach, you’re likely to have much more success educating Generation Z and subtly weaving the ask into your marketing message.

It’s important to note that this younger demographic as a whole really loathes ads.

They’re also incredibly adept at avoiding ads, especially the ones that are completely over-the-top and annoying.

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The bottom line is that screaming your marketing message at the top of your lungs is likely to fall on deaf ears.

Instead, you should have way more success when you educate Gen Z consumers on your product and industry.

You definitely don’t want to come across as a sleazy used cars salesman. It’s more about humanizing your brand and being relatable.

By first gaining Gen-Zers’ interest and trust, you’ll be in a better position to promote your product/service to them and should see some solid conversion rates as a result.

Conclusion

To thrive as a marketer, you need to look to the future and stay on the cutting edge of things.

From a consumer perspective, there’s somewhat of a generational shift that will be happening over the next five years or so.

As Generation Z continues to account for more and more of many companies’ customer bases, it’s important to tailor your marketing campaign accordingly.

Reaching younger consumers requires a different approach and different channels.

By implementing these techniques, you should be able to get your marketing message in front of Generation Z. And more importantly, you should be able to build genuine rapport with them and convert them into actual customers.

How much attention are you currently giving to reaching Generation Z?

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Comments

  1. upendra Gusain :

    I see, I find it interesting and I feel like I should start using GEN Z strategy now. I am sure if I do marketing by keeping GEN Z in mind then it will be best for X Y too.

    I understand that trend is changing but I found that it depends upon country to country. In India, I hardly found any one using snap chat. But still there are many points mentioned which are worth following.

    Happy Dusshera Neil

  2. Good to hear from you Neil hope you are well and doing great marketing. The Gen Ex comment was a quote from an article . Great to hear that your daughter is committed to social justice which tends to be the position of many GenZers who will be much more concerned about climate change , supportive of world peace and will tend to create their own business.

  3. Aditya Bhargava :

    Neil, I am a newbie here and your blog is the only source where I get such great content to read. Thank you for sharing such valuable information.

  4. My kids are 6 and 12. My 6 year old can do his own google searches. I guess I should really start paying more attention to what attracts their attention because it’s different than what caught my eye when I was their age.

  5. This is fantastic insight, thank you for sharing. I just have one question that might change my own perspective a bit. The fact about 60% of Gen Z wanting to change the world vs 39% of millennials, is this compared apples to apples in terms of age? Was that number for the millennials taken from when they were the same age as the current Gen Z? I know that in high school and college years EVERYONE I knew wanted to “change the world”, but as real life set in, that changed to more “survival” mode – particularly in the age range we see the millennials in now. Taking care of family starts taking priority over “saving the world”. This might mean we see a big shift in Gen Z as we head into the 2020’s and their mentality. Also worth noting, volunteer work is now mandated at fairly high levels in many school programs, and it wasn’t in prior decades in most districts. This means that generation Z is “required” to volunteer, so we may seem them dropping away from that a good bit as adults. I might be way off base here, but would love your thoughts on these issues. I do think addressing the humanitarian and world issues are important for all generations though. Thank you again for your well-written articles!

    • That’s a very interesting Take Alisa. It’s possible that these things will change as they grow into adulthood. Not sure the answer to your first question. I agree that addressing those issues are important for all.

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  7. Great information again Neil, but surprising facts on facebook

  8. A really great post as always. The amount of content you put up in your posts is just so much to consume and so detailed. And that is the reason, quicksprout has become my favorite blog. Kudos! 🙂

  9. Transfer Pricing India :

    Is it really helpful for increase the traffic because I m tried google adwords but still not getting good response from that. Can u suggest me how to effective this product.

  10. Excuse me neil… Does generation Z always online inovation or we can reach them instantly by internet strategy ?

  11. I am a newbie here and your blog is the only source where I get such great content to read. Thank you for sharing such valuable information.

  12. Thanks for the Post Neil!

    I’m little confused about Gen Z. The age group of Gen Z is not as much as professional and responsible like millennial. As you said they have short attention. With the change of age their point of view will definitely change. We can’t compare Millennial with Gen Z.

  13. Brian Honigman :

    Hi Neil,

    Relevant piece! How do you recommend marketers continue to strike a balance between reaching older generations, millennials and gen Z? I know the short answer is it depends on your business, but I see getting buy-in from company leadership to focus mainly on gen z at this point to be extremely difficult, whereas I could see a balanced approach being a more reasonable strategy for leadership to approve. Thanks in advance.

  14. You’re always ahead of the curve, Neil 🙂 Nice post.

  15. Matthias Fowler :

    While I do not disagree with the ‘do-gooder’ mentality they feel, it is hard to judge just how many of the kids 16-19 volunteer for purely altruistic purposes. There are multiple scholarships for people under 18 that give them college funds if they volunteer 250+ hours during their high school tenure. I do not know if the do-gooder philosophy specifically this generation or merely to people who are teenagers and still bright-eyed from the promises of the future.
    Comparing them to millennials is tough because I am sure most millennials reflected these numbers too when they were fresh out of high school and entering college. I would like to see some more hard scientific data, but it is just hard to judge because right now it is not strictly psychological as much as it seems to be sociologically influenced, which can change with people moving from home and being more independent. After all this data applies to people who are no older than 21 at the moment.

  16. Thanks for sharing your awesome experiences.

  17. Amazingly a perfect article with much information about gen-Z

    Thanks for this…

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  19. Neil, all your points are valid enough, however I would like to substantiate #4. Bit hilarious, but a few days back I tried making a video of iPhone 7 camera review that took almost 10 hours to complete. All thanks to that poorest and grim carrier speed. On dozen occasions, video got tucked up and developed funny errors.

    Thanks for this valuable piece as always.

  20. This is new and it is something that must be taken into account. I guess the next generation is closely coming in and the money is real as well.

  21. Thank you for advices, I decided to get second degree and your site became very helpful in my situation.

  22. ChineseChristmas :

    Let’s Reach GENX!

  23. perfect 🙂

  24. Duong Quang Tri :

    I am a newbie here and your blog is the only source where I get such great content to read. Thank you for sharing such valuable information.
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