Decades ago, consumers would adapt their wants and needs to what was offered in the market. This dynamic has changed as consumers now have a voice and companies are the ones who must adapt. Companies carefully listen to different consumer segments in the market. Marketers struggled when it came to targeting millennials because of their unique purchasing behaviors. Although millennials continue to drive marketing efforts, we must now welcome our newest generation of consumers: Gen Zers.
Generation Z is the post-millennial generation born between the mid-1990s and early 2000s. This new generation is often referred to as Gen Zers, Centennials, or the iGeneration. Its older members begin to acquire purchasing power as they slowly enter the workforce. Those who are not direct consumers are still valuable to companies because more senior demographics listen to Gen Zers when it comes to purchasing decisions. Gen Zers may not have a significant impact on the market yet, but they will throughout the coming years. It is clear that companies should begin to attract Gen Zers, if they haven’t already.
As marketers, what should we look out for?
- More digital than the “selfie generation.” Gen Zers value online content more than any other generation. The importance of a digital presence lies in the fact that they have not lived in a non-digital world. Online reputation must continue to be a priority for businesses. For purchasing decisions, Gen Zers place high importance on online reviews. Be sure to promote your product or service on the correct platforms! Even though many Gen Zers use Facebook, in their eyes, it has comically become a social media platform “for old people.” Alternatively, they pull information from platforms like Instagram and Snapchat, but most importantly: YouTube. As we dive more into the digital world, TV usage will continue to drop. This means there should be a greater focus towards online content, and social media and streaming platforms, instead of traditional TV ads. The good news is that we already have some experience on this digital note with the “selfie generation” (millennials).
- Content – What do Gen Zers like to see? As influencers are on the rise, companies should look to strategically partner with them to positively impact the business-consumer relationship. Gen Zers are more likely to be persuaded by a small/local Youtuber or Instagram persona (also known as micro-influencers) than any big pop icon. Influencer’s opinions impact Gen Zers even more than millennials. This influencer trend is key in today’s marketing as it helps build trust and connects consumers and brands in more personal ways. Gen Zers have an even shorter attention span than millennials. What does this mean for marketers? The focus on video within marketing efforts is a must to effectively reach Gen Zers. Now there is less time to attract consumers as the attention span has been reduced from 12 seconds (millennials) to 8 seconds (Gen Zers). Additionally, it is important to know that Gen Zers have a preference for “cool products,” in contrast to millennials who value experiences.
- Let’s talk “money moves.” Gen Zers have a strong attitude towards money, entrepreneurship, and technology. They weigh compensation heavily, as they are driven by money. In order to create financial stability, they are less likely to take risks – which is the opposite of millennials. Gen Zers are known as natural entrepreneurs and being tech-savvy. Mobile experience is essential for Gen Zers. We should also consider the arrival of digital wallets, as cryptocurrency and mobile apps like PayPal or Venmo are indispensable. Marketers must understand that this generation has a creative mind, is competitive, and thinks globally.
While marketers continue to develop new ideas to reach millennials and previous generations, they must also prepare for emerging consumers. Younger Gen Zers may not be buying directly, but they do influence their parent’s household purchases. No matter what product, service, or idea your company has to offer, be sure to account for our new group of consumers: Gen Zers.
Veronica Scarlett Lopez Martin is originally from Caracas, Venezuela. Scarlett graduated in May 2018 from The University of Tampa with a Degree in International Business and Marketing. She currently works at CenturyLink as a CSM-Customer Support Manager within the strategic enterprise and government markets division. She is a blogger for the AMA Tampa Bay, with a background in marketing and technology.
Connect with her on LinkedIn.