Generation Z versus Millennials
Have you ever watched a toddler playing on an iPad? I have. And I was in awe. Here I am—a Millennial—struggling to figure out why my app won’t update, while this two-year-old is putting me to shame. By the age of five he’ll probably be far more tech-savvy than I’ll ever be.
Generation Z and Technology
Generation Z is synonymous with technology. While Millennials were digital, Generation Z is the first generation to grow up with technology from the start. That’s why audience segmentation is so important when marketing to Generation Z; they shouldn’t be lumped in with Millennials. Marketers need to understand who they are, and use audience segmentation to customize their generation Z marketing strategies accordingly.
Who is Generation Z?
As Millennials are getting older, the Generation Z population is growing, and growing fast. Gen Zers—ages 19 and under—currently make up more than a quarter of America’s population, and are projected to account for 40% of all consumers by 2020. The generation is growing fast, and marketers need to understand them.
Generation Z Characteristics:
- Diverse, and are the most multicultural generation yet.
- Open-minded in many ways, such as acceptance of all sexual orientations.
- Gender-neutral when it comes to traditional job roles and transgender issues.
- Changemakers, interested in innovation and entrepreneurship.
- Dreamers, who want to follow their passions.
- Independent learners, who have the desire and know-how to self-educate.
- Do-gooders, who want to make a difference.
Generation Z's Buying Power
Gen Zers represent a buying power of $44 billion, and influence an additional $600 billion of family spending. They influence the way their parents spend more than Millennials did, including over 70% of family food choices and 80% to 90% of items purchased for them. They’re willing to challenge their parents, questioning things like how much they’re going to pay for something, trying to evoke their own price-sensitivity. Gen Zers have high expectations. With that said, if marketers focus on Gen Zers over Millennials, using them as the barometer, they’re likely to please other generations as well.
10 Tips for Marketing to Generation Z
1. They’re digital natives, so marketers must act that way, too.
While Millennials use three screens on average, Generation Z uses five. Gen Zers expect brands to move as seamlessly around digital devices as they do, and to create a unified experience across in-store, digital, and mobile.
2. Make the message quick, to the point, and in their language.
The average Gen Zer has an attention span of about eight seconds. They’ve grown up constantly being served enormous amounts information, and are accustomed to quickly filtering through it. In this emoji-era, brands must communicate with snackable content that captures their attention.
3. Social media is important, but differs from Millennials’ usage.
While Millennials pioneered Facebook, Generation Z prefers privacy and anonymous social networks like Snapchat, Secret, and Whisper. They have seen the social mishaps of Millennials and don’t want an ever-lasting social footprint.
4. Authentic experiences and two-way conversations are a must.
Initiate two-way conversations online, and create a social presence that Gen Zers can engage with. They value the opinions of their peers, making influencer marketing a very powerful tool, but it must appear genuine in order to be effective.
5. Humanize your brand.
Gen Zers don’t want a faceless company. Marketers need to showcase the personality of their brand. Consider a YouTube star or Vine personality.
6. They want realistic and relatable.
They look for products that embody their beliefs, and prefer brands that reflect independence (like Free People), rather than unrealistic messaging that projects perfection (like Abercrombie & Fitch).
7. Let them make it their own.
Market to Gen Zers with an understanding that they’ll want to personalize products and fashions; help them express their individuality.
8. Quality matters.
With a world of information at their fingertips, Gen Zers conduct extensive research before buying, and are selective in their purchase decisions.
9. Show you care, too.
Generation Z wants to make the world a better place, and they want to see that you’re truly committed to that cause.
10. Video content and cord-cutting is big.
In a recent study, nine-out-of-ten respondents watch YouTube daily, 70% prefer streaming over broadcast or cable TV, and more than a quarter post their own original video content on social sites weekly.