Are You Ready for Gen Z?


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Generation Z is here whether you like it or not. So it’s best to understand their mannerisms, characteristics, and preferences in order to develop your best marketing strategy. They are here to stay and their loyalty to your company or brand is critical.

Who makes up Generation Z?

Generation Z typically includes those born in the mid-1990s to the early 2000s. More specifically, Gen Z is today’s teenagers and those in their early 20s. That means the oldest members of Generation Z are in college or just graduating. As they start to enter the workforce, and as their earning power increases, so will their buying power. Making up 25.9% of the U.S. population now, Generation Z is expected to account for about 40% of all consumer markets by 2020.
So how do you market to Generation Z? Read on for our best strategies.

1. Have a Purpose
Generation Z cares about the world. They’re aware of environmental, political, and socio-economic problems that societies face today and 55% of Gen Z choose brands that are eco-friendly and socially responsible.
What does this mean for your business? Start with your core values and find a way to contribute to society and the world. Then, clearly communicate your purpose and values to Generation Z. Ugmonk does this by partnering with Rice Bowls to provide a meal for a kid in need for every product purchased.
“We’ve received lots of great feedback from customers about our charity efforts,” explains Ugmonk founder Jeff Sheldon. “People like to know that part of their purchase is going to a good cause so it’s a win-win for everyone. It’s been fun to see so many of our customers embrace the cause and give very generous donations during our charity drives.”

2. Communicate in a Relatable Way
Talk to them like they talk to each other. They can spot “fake” gimmicks and savvy sales pitches from a mile away. Domino’s Easy Order webpage is a great example. Here’s how they explain their ordering service:
“Setting up your Easy Order means I have your favorite order at the ready. All it needs is one click from you. Handy for when you’re exhausted from killing it at the gym, re-inventing the wheel or in the unlikely case that you just CBA typing.”
According to Google’s report on Gen Z, 26% of teenage shoppers said they expect retailers to offer a more personalized experience based on the customer’s shopping habits and preferences. Do this and you create a customer for life.

3. Optimize Your Mobile Experience
According to a survey by IBM, 75% of Generation Z selected a mobile phone or smartphone as the device they use most, and especially for making online purchases. Not surprisingly, teens prefer shopping online in general simply due to convenience. So make sure your business is optimized for mobile devices by using a mobile-optimized website theme, simplifying your checkout process, and creating content with mobile devices in mind, such as using vertical videos.

4. Forget About Facebook and Focus on Snapchat
Although Generation Z still uses Facebook, 34% percent of US teens think it is for “old people.” It’s still a legitimate way to reach Generation Z, but your focus should now be Snapchat and Instagram. According to the Taking Stock with Teens survey, Snapchat is overwhelmingly U.S. teens’ favorite platform at 45%, with Instagram coming in second place. 71% of Generation Z uses Snapchat on a daily basis, with 51% of this group using it about 11 times per day. So instead of advertising on Facebook, start spending your money on Snapchat, Instagram stories, and Instagram ads.

5. Focus on Video Content
Did you know the average attention span of a Millennial is 12 seconds? Well for Generation Z it’s only 8 seconds! Because of their shorter attention spans and desire for constant stimulation, people in Generation Z dislike non-skippable ads and pop-ups and avoid long-form content. On average, Generation Z clicks “Skip” on skippable video ads after only 9.5 seconds. For marketing purposes it’s best to use short format YouTube bumper ads, which are restricted to a mere 6 seconds. This is where channels like Snapchat, Instagram Stories, or Facebook Stories can help. These content channels are especially effective because Gen Z loves video.

6. Partner with Micro-Influencers
Influencer marketing is a powerful way to build your brand and business. Google reports that 70% of teenage YouTube subscribers now relate to YouTube creators more than traditional celebrities. This is great news for small businesses because these influencers are far more accessible than celebrity influencers. So reach out to micro-influencers in your niche.

If your business is not targeting Generation Z, you are missing out. Now is the time to develop a marketing strategy directly reflecting their preferences. Find avenues where you can make a social statement or improve the world, create authentic and meaningful interactions, focus on Snapchat and Instagram, and partner with micro-influencers, as they hold more sway than celebrities. Do this and you just might create brand loyalty with Generation Z.

Kathy Doering
CEO of Ann Michaels & Associates, Ltd. Experienced in evaluating the customer journey for business. I believe in using and trying new technologies to interact with the consumer, offer new and exciting engagement that no one else is doing. There has not been a better time to jump in and make the most of all the ways to listen, engage and measure the customer experience. After doing this work for over 25 years I have learned what works and what doesn't.


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