Businesses need to look toward the future to survive and thrive.
I’m sure you’ve got an effective strategy in place that targets Millennials or Baby Boomers.
But it’s time to shift your focus to a younger generation.
The term Generation Z describes the generation born after Millennials.
They may also be referred to as:
- Homeland Generation
Although there isn’t an exact date range, it typically refers to anyone born after the mid to late 1990s.
That means the oldest members of this generation are in college or just graduating.
The reason why this information is so important is that they are starting to enter the workforce.
With a steady annual salary, Gen Z will now have more buying power.
Extra money in their pockets means marketing experts need to target this group.
There’s a big opportunity here for increased and sustainable growth for your company, regardless of the industry.
That’s why Generation Z marketing made my list of the top marketing trends for 2018.
If you’ve never targeted Gen Z before and you’re not sure how to get started, I can help you out.
I’ve used research-backed data to identify some of the top characteristics and habits of this generation.
I’ll also explain in detail how you can use this information to your advantage as a marketer.
Here’s what you need to know.
Understand the key differences between Generation Z and Millennials
First, you need to be able to distinguish the difference between Gen Z and Millennials.
While on the surface these two groups may have some similarities, they needed to be targeted differently from a marketing perspective.
For example, look at how much younger an average Gen Z person was when they got their first smartphone compared to Millennials:
It’s no secret that our world is trending in a mobile direction. Marketers need to accommodate the needs of mobile users.
But Gen Z is the first group to have a smartphone throughout their entire teenage years.
This means they are reliant on these devices more than anyone else, including Millennials.
Generation Z is impatient, and their attention span reflects this.
The average attention span of a Millennial is 12 seconds, but it’s only 8 seconds for Gen Z.
That’s why they use more digital platforms simultaneously.
Millennials typically use three screens at the same time, while generation Z bounces between five screens at the same time.
Gen Z also doesn’t care about customer loyalty programs the same way Millennials do.
I’ll go into greater detail about this concept later on.
Generation Z also embraces influencer marketing more than Millennials do:
Their engagement with YouTube creators shows how much they value the opinions of regular people as opposed to celebrities.
Your company may want to consider working with more micro-influencers on social media to promote your brand.
Learn how to market your business on Snapchat
If you want to target Gen Z, you can’t afford to ignore Snapchat anymore.
About 71% of Gen Z use Snapchat on a daily basis.
Furthermore, 51% of this group use it about 11 times per day.
Take a look at some of the top companies that promote sponsored content on Snapchat’s Discover page:
I’m sure you recognize these logos.
The fact that these major companies have already identified and adapted to this trend should show you how the market has shifted to this platform.
You can use Snapchat for brand exposure.
As we saw earlier, Gen Z doesn’t have a long attention span.
Just seeing your company’s logo could be enough to remind them of your brand.
In addition to using sponsored ads, your company should also have an account.
Add pictures and videos to your story on a daily basis.
Here’s an example.
Sour Patch Kids came up with a Snapchat campaign after partnering with Logan Paul, a YouTube personality.
The campaign delivered:
- 120,000 new followers
- 26,000 screenshots
- 583,000 impressions on the first day
- 6.8 million impressions for the last story of the week
Once you gain those initial followers, continue to promote your brand using Snapchat as a platform.
Use Instagram stories
One of the reasons why Instagram stories are so popular is because of their similarity to Snapchat.
Instagram realized how successful the idea of “disappearing content” was and added it to their platform.
You can add photos and videos to your Instagram story, and they will disappear after 24 hours.
In less than two years, Instagram stories have blown Snapchat out of the water:
Use your Instagram story to share exclusive content with your followers.
Even if you’re not posting a picture or video on your Instagram profile each day, you should at least be utilizing your story.
As I said earlier, Gen Z loves micro-influencers.
Try to get those influencers to take over your account.
Alternatively, you can ask them to promote your brand on their personal stories.
Take your followers behind the scenes of your daily operations.
Showcase your production facilities, and introduce your staff.
This connects with people and shows them the human side of your company.
The marketing opportunities are endless with Instagram stories.
You just need to get creative and think outside the box to gain exposure.
Part of being a great marketer means you need to understand how your target audience thinks.
Generation Z has an entrepreneurial spirit.
In fact, 72% of teens in the United States say they want to start their own business one day.
If this group follows through with its goals, it will drastically change the future of our country’s workforce.
That’s because 61% of this group want to start a business directly out of college.
But Gen Z doesn’t value education as much as other generations do.
Only 64% of Generation Z plan to pursue a college degree compared to 71% of Millennials–a seven percent difference.
It’s possible they don’t think they need a college education to be successful.
This might be based on the rising cost of college tuition.
These numbers are rising higher than the country’s inflation rate.
The high costs could have an impact on Gen Z’s attitude towards higher education.
But with so many resources available on the Internet, Gen Z feels like they don’t need college to be successful or start their own business.
What does this mean for your company?
Try to come up with clever ways to engage those entrepreneurial minds.
Consider partnering with successful entrepreneurs who didn’t go to college as brand ambassadors for your company.
You could also try to create a value proposition that speaks to young entrepreneurs.
Generation Z has an influence on purchases their parents make
Market products and services to Generation Z even if they are not consumed by teens.
Here’s a graph to show you what I mean:
Most marketers wouldn’t think to pitch a family vacation, cell phone, or car to an 11-year-old.
But research shows that Generation Z has an influence on household purchases.
This generation is resourceful.
They may be more likely to research products and read reviews than their parents.
Just because they may not have the personal funds or resources to buy home furnishings or a plane ticket doesn’t mean your company can’t target these kids.
Their opinions may be the deciding factor between a purchase from your company or your competitor.
Facebook shouldn’t be your top priority
Facebook always tends to be the king in terms of social media marketing platforms.
But Generation Z doesn’t feel the same way about Facebook as other generations.
In fact, Facebook lost over 25% of users between the ages of 13 and 17 on their platform over a three-year stretch.
Don’t get me wrong.
I’m not saying you need to abandon your Facebook marketing strategy.
As you can see from this graph, the growth rate is rising for every other age group.
There’s still a ton of users out there for you.
But with that said, this shouldn’t be your primary strategy if you’re targeting just Generation Z.
Campaigns solely designed for Gen Z should be used on other social media platforms such as Snapchat, Instagram, and YouTube.
Generation Z wants to make a positive impact on the world
Your company needs to be conscious of the environment, planet, and society.
According to a recent study, 60% of Gen Z want to positively change the future of our world.
Only 39% of Millennials feel the same way.
Furthermore, about 25% of teens today are already involved in volunteer work.
This is great news for the future of our world.
It seems like every time you turn on the TV or read the paper, all you hear is negative stories.
Take a look at these numbers.
To stay engaged with this group, your company needs to do its part as well.
Talk about any positive impact you are making in the community.
Are you working with charities?
Do your employees volunteer?
Come up with a mission that contributes to the greater good of society.
TOMS Shoes is a great example of this marketing strategy.
For every pair of shoes bought on their website, TOMS donates a pair of shoes to a child in need.
It’s a powerful campaign that speaks to generations who care about the future of our world.
Quality is more important than brand loyalty
Does this sound like your current marketing strategy?
Acquire new customers for as cheap as possible and retain them through customer loyalty programs.
It’s not a bad idea, and it’s probably been working for a while.
Once a customer becomes loyal to your brand, they’ll continue to support you for years to come.
They may start buying different product lines within your company, spend more money with each purchase, and even be willing to pay for more expensive products.
But you may not have as much luck with this strategy if you’re targeting Generation Z.
Look at how Gen Z view brand loyalty compared to Millennials:
This means you may have to put more effort into your current retention strategies for Gen Z.
Find ways to make them loyal.
There’s another way to interpret this information.
You could save your marketing dollars and not dump money on loyalty reward programs for Gen Z.
This decision is totally up to you.
It depends on your current retention and acquisition rates.
One of the best ways to retain Gen Z customers is through meaningful interactions.
A recent study showed that 44% of Gen Z are interested in contributing ideas to products and designs for their favorite brands.
Take advantage of this.
Use surveys, interviews, and focus groups with your customers to come up with new ideas.
If your customers contributed to the design, they are more likely to feel a connection with your brand and stay loyal.
Another statistic of interest is that 61% of Generation Z consumers are drawn to new brands.
Startup companies need to start targeting this generation right away in an effort to build brand loyalty.
Upload content to your YouTube channel
Generation Z loves YouTube.
I discussed this earlier when I talked about micro-influencers.
I also showed you the success that Sour Patch Kids had using a YouTube creator in one of their marketing campaigns.
On average, Gen Z watches two to four hours of YouTube content each day.
They enjoy this much more than cable TV, which only accounts for about 30 minutes of their daily video consumption.
So if you’re relying on TV commercials to reach Gen Z, you’re wasting your money.
Instead, you need to increase your YouTube presence.
I love using YouTube as a promotional channel because it’s so easy to repurpose those videos.
It’s easy to add YouTube videos to your website or emails and incorporate them into your overall content marketing strategy.
Focus on their love of video games
Sixty-six percent of kids between the ages of 6 and 11 say that gaming is their primary source of entertainment.
Furthermore, Gen Z owns more video game systems than every other generation.
But your company doesn’t make video games.
You may not even be in the technology or entertainment industry.
What does this mean for you?
That’s the fun part of marketing.
Come up with clever ways to use this information to your advantage.
For example, you could try to use product placement in video games.
You could also partner with specific games or gaming systems.
Sponsor an event or release of a new game.
If you sell certain electronics, advertise them for video game usage.
Things like microphones, headsets, routers, Wi-Fi extenders are all important to young gamers.
Right now, Generation Z is still an untapped market.
While companies have started targeting this group, there is still a huge opportunity for your brand to get a piece of the action.
You just need to understand how this new generation behaves, thinks, and consumes.
Don’t approach them the same way you have Millennials. As we saw, these two groups are different.
Use Snapchat and Instagram stories to promote your brand.
Recognize that Generation Z values entrepreneurship and wants to have a positive impact on the world.
They even have an influence over purchases made by their parents.
Gen Z is less active on Facebook, and they care about the quality of interactions with companies more than brand loyalty.
They love watching content on YouTube and playing video games.
If you follow this guide, your company can benefit from a new income stream.
What marketing platforms are you using to target Generation Z?