We’ve all heard all the complaints about Millennials– how they have zero attention spans, unrealistic demands, iPhone addictions, and too much privilege. Marketing to them requires immense creativity, unparalleled customer service, and all the latest and greatest technologies and platforms.
And then there’s Gen Z.
Raised by technology, Gen Z is notoriously known for wanting instant gratification, social media fame, and a world tailored specifically to their needs. Members of this age group are practically born with smartphones in their hands, and ten-year-olds are teaching their parents how to use Instagram and Snapchat.
And they’re taking over the market.
By 2020, Gen Z is expected to make up 40% of all consumers. Not to mention, they already hold a buying power of $44 billion on top of the $600 billion influence they have on their family’s spending.
It’s about time to say out with the old and in with the new for your marketing. While Millennials may have transformed the way we market with their own revolutionary demands and preferences, Gen Z is taking the world by storm with theirs. And when it comes to trends, if you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backward.
Not quite sure what those Gen Z-approved trends are?
Well, who better to take advice from than a Gen Z-er herself?
Keep on reading for a list of the 4 top tips on marketing to the next generation – a list that’s based on more than just research.
1. Think Fast
What can you do in 8 seconds?
Not a whole lot. But when it comes to Gen Z, you’ve got to be speedy. Why did I mention 8 seconds? Because it’s the average attention span of a member of Gen Z. While that might sound quite short, think about it. When you open an email and see a long boring block of text from some ecommerce subscription list that you signed up for months ago to get a 10% discount on your first purchase, are you going to look at it for more than 8 seconds or are you going to delete it and not give it a second thought? Probably the second option. Now imagine a teenager scrolling through Instagram. Do you think they’re going to spend more than 8 seconds looking at a single post, ad, or story? Realistically, they’ll probably spend no more than 3 seconds on it. That’s why you need creative, original content that gets straight to the point but leaves them wanting just a little bit more.
To make it fast: You have 8 seconds. Make them count.
2. Be Real
A generation that thrives off of social media, Gen Z has a sixth sense for sniffing out fakeness. Gone are the days of staged commercials and overly airbrushed models – people want real, normal brand ambassadors and testimonials that they can trust and relate to. Take Sephora for example. Perhaps one of the most innovative companies in terms of service and creative marketing, Sephora has mastered the concept of user-generated content, working with beauty bloggers, social media influencers, and everyday Beauty Insiders (their growing and glowing rewards program members) to advertise their products, provide recommendations, and post tutorials. Not only are Sephora fans engaged and excited to use their products, but they’re ready to show off their own favorites and beauty looks on social media in the hopes of being featured.
The reality of it: Follow Sephora’s lead and start using real people to show off your brand.
3. Get Social
“Did you see her post on Instagram?” Hang out at a trendy, Pinterest-worthy coffee shop for about an hour and you’ll probably overhear that quote at least 5 times. As excessive as it may sound, teens now spend up to 9 hours a day on social media, constantly checking their Instagrams, Snapchats, Facebooks, Twitters… essentially anything and everything the online world has to offer. It’s gotten to the point where people don’t ask you for your phone number anymore – they ask you for your Snapchat code or Instagram handle. Even among adults, 30% of time spent online is on social media platforms, averaging at about 2 hours per day. If 50% of smartphone owners are using their phones to find new brands and products, imagine how many people you could reach simply by getting on social media and creating original posts and ads.
What society wants: Give them everything they need at the tips of their fingers.
4. Stay Positive
In a world of live streaming and the ability to know just about everything that’s going on at any point or place in time, Gen Z is exceptionally in touch with trending topics, current issues, and global news. They’re voicing their opinions, voting, and taking a stand on making a difference in society. What does that mean for your marketing? They’re looking for more than just quality services and products from the brands they invest in – they want a brand whose values align with theirs, who cares about the environment and social sphere, and who gives them something to talk about. A perfect example? Reformation. Not only does this company offer all the latest women’s fashion trends in styles that literally sell out in minutes, but they pride themselves on their leaps forward in sustainability and societal benevolence. One visit to their website and you’ll find that they operate locally in Los Angeles, offer on-site training and competitive benefits to employees, produce clothing with revolutionarily low amounts of water, advocate low carbon emissions, and continue to reform the fashion industry with green practices. And while they may not have the lowest price points, the quality of production and dedication to humanity that they embody has built them a cult following based on more than just fashion trends.
The big positive: Show that you care to make them care about your brand.
Gen Z isn’t all bad – we’re simply moving forward with the pace of all the technology around us. And while adjusting your marketing strategy to keep up with it may seem daunting or frustrating, there’s a very bright light at the end of the tunnel: you have an entire new generation of consumers that you can reach with the ease of just a good Instagram account.