We're all there - if I hear the word "millenial" one more time, I think I'm going to scream. Businesses are all about millenials and how to target millenials and what millenials want and how to get millenials to buy. What's interesting is who comes after the millenial - Generation Z (or more fondly to me, my little sister's generation).
After some first hand experience and some reading up on them, I think it's time to start with the lumping of these Z'ers together. By the time companies finally nail down the millenial, a whole new generation is getting through college and just about to enter the workforce.
So who are they?
Roughly born between the years of 1996-2010, this generation has never known a world without the internet or social media. Think about that. Not being the guinea pig generation has left little to their imagination when it comes to adopting new technologies. They engage multiple screens and apps at once, and their first gadget was the smartphone.
Growing up in a world of technological capabilities leaves them little patience for clunky systems or non-intuitive processes. Marketing to this generation means having your act together - whether it's a seamless app or website UX - or you will lose out to a competitor who is putting the customer experience ahead of product features and price.
Gen Z'ers absolutely love Snapchat. While texting and Twitter are still on their horizons, faster is better for this crowd. They want to get a message across, quickly. And they will come to expect the same from the brands they interact with. Don't bother with fluff when it comes to targeted advertising with them - get right to the point on what you have and why it benefits them.
They also want as much transparency as possible, so hiding pricing behind a phone call won't do much good - they are the research generation who has self-educated themselves on YouTube and will just not bother to consider you if it means forced interaction with another human that they don;t want to - most of their relationships are online, anyway. This sounds demanding, but I really think it's the direction marketing & advertising are heading towards.
Wary of the World
They saw the mistakes the millenials made with putting all of their bad choices on Facebook (drunken college photos surfacing during job interviews, anyone?) so they are particularly careful about what they share with whom online. This is where the appeal of Snapchat and Whisper apps come in: they can share whatever they want knowing that it will just disappear.
This is also the post-9/11, 2008-crash, crippling student loan debt generation, who has grown up in a world of terrorism and experienced first-hand the crash of the housing market of their parents and burdens of student loans on their older siblings. They are extremely careful, pragmatic about their futures (less about their dreams and more about education & jobs that will make them money), and are constantly "stressed out" about their uncertain futures. They are also extremely compassionate about their fellow man, the environment, and animal welfare.
The Bottom Line: Marketing to Gen Z
While these are just some observations and generations can hardly be generalized (but I tried, anyway), I think marketing to this crew boils down to some basic principles. For example, really focus on a flawless website user experience and upgrade the look and feel of your website - this means getting off of antiquated web platforms that don't look good on mobile, and getting to the point in your communications without fluffy marketing speak.
Next, focus on being as transparent as possible and putting all your focus on demonstrating trust with this generation: stop hiding behind forms and spamming them with emails - try to reach them on the platforms where they live, but with helpful messaging instead of interruptive. Yes, building relationships takes time, but a loyal Gen Z is a great customer to have.
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