Millennials have drawn an inordinate amount of attention from businesses and marketers in recent years, as their buying behavior and brand loyalty patterns are quite different from the generations preceding them. Born between 1981 and 1995, these mysterious social media-loving, community-oriented creatures seem to always be making a buzz.
But Millennials have grown up (the oldest Millennials are now 38!), and the next generation, Generation Z, mustn’t be undervalued by businesses.
Post-Millennials, born between 1996 and 2010, have grown up surrounded by smartphones, tablets and digital technology. Having never known life without the internet or social media, the average Gen Z consumer will be exposed to around 200,000 marketing messages before they hit the age of 15! That means companies targeting these consumers need to work harder than ever to “cut through the noise.”
The Value of Generational Marketing
Generational marketing is a marketing approach that uses generational segmentation in marketing communication. So, instead of sending out a mass marketing message, businesses target a specific generation (individuals born within a particular era, typically sharing similar values, beliefs, attitudes, etc.).
Generational marketing is often more effective because one size doesn’t fit all. Messaging that engages Generation X won’t likely see the same traction with Baby Boomers.
And businesses are quickly learning that Generation Z is a totally different breed of consumer!
“But why,” you ask, “should I care about this strange, young generation?”
So, what makes Generation Z different—and how do brands capture their loyalty?
The world of social media is Gen Zers’ world.
Communicating and engaging through technology is ingrained in this generation’s culture, with 44 percent of Gen Zers checking their social media profiles on an hourly basis. They also tend to gravitate more toward video content, streaming a staggering average of 23 hours of video a week!
To effectively engage with these digital native, mobile-first thinkers, a comprehensive online marketing strategy is an absolute must!
Gen Z’s attention span is shorter than that of a goldfish.
Younger generations’ attention spans are often called into question. And it’s true that they are, in fact, getting shorter! Gen Zers have an average attention span of 8 seconds as compared to the 12-second attention span of Millennials.
If your marketing content fails to quickly capture their attention and hold it, they’ll be hastily scrolling right past it.
Traditional advertising won’t be as effective.
Due to their short attention spans and viewing habits, Gen Zers won’t sit through television commercials and will likely be annoyed by a YouTube ad. Brand-focused, non-promotional videos that tell a story—like Take Note’s video below—are a better way to make an impact with this audience.
Eco-friendliness and corporate social responsibility matter.
With Generation Z, a great product or service isn’t enough. They expect brands to stand for something bigger. They aspire to make an impact in the world and are doing so with their dollars. And with goals of creating a more hopeful future for the planet and society, they seek out products/services that share their values and vision. If your company isn’t championing a cause larger than itself, it could be challenging to resonate with this generation.
Gen Zers are loyal to loyal companies.
They are passionately loyal to brands that honor their commitments. Connected to a wide network of online peers, they are more willing than previous generations to act as advocates for businesses that deliver on their promises. But let them down, and they’ll “swipe you left” in a heartbeat!
As with any marketing plan, there is a period of trial and error as new tactics are rolled out. Both A/B testing and market research can help uncover ways to improve your efforts and better connect with this new generation.
And while many studies have corroborated trends amongst Gen Zers, it’s important to note that habits always change as a generation ages and their spending power grows.