Gen Z is a demographic that describes people born after 1995. Members of this demographic are influenced by a cultural, social, and technological landscape that is unlike any previous generation. Generally speaking, members of Gen Z have a limited memory, or no memory at all, of a pre-9/11 world. Further, members of Gen Z grew up and came of age during the great recession in the late 2000s. In addition to this, a considerable segment of Gen Z can’t remember a time when the internet and social media wasn’t a part of their day-to-day life.
While many marketers see Gen Z as nearly identical to millennials, the unique environment they were raised in has influenced their behavior differently than that of millennials. While both demographics have similar digital, social, and mobile behaviors, Gen Z has a shorter attention span while actively participating in many diverse social media platforms. This means that organizations are under additional pressure to tell the right story, in the right way, at the right place - targeting them on the most relevant digital and offline channels.
Targeting and understanding Gen Z’s interactions in the omnichannel marketing landscape is fundamental for today’s marketers. The motivation for this is twofold:
- First, youth culture feeds into consumer culture. By understanding the path that Gen Z takes, your organization can better understand the next wave of market trends.
- Second, Gen Z will represent 40 percent of American consumers by 2020 - a sizeable market share.
Read on to understand how to reach maximum marketing success with Gen Z across the many channels they utilize.
Align with Their Values
As with any other demographic, brands should strive to comprehensively understand the values of Gen Z before launching a targeted campaign. Research has deduced a few key insights regarding Gen Z:
- They’re interested in social activism – ranging from racial and gender equality to a strong concern about the environment.
- They are described as fiscally responsible, independent, hardworking, competitive, and entrepreneurial.
While marketers should try to dive deeper than these descriptors when targeting individuals in the Gen Z demographic, these values can be a good launching point to construct a Gen Z focused campaign.
When constructing a campaign based on values, its important that your brand not only encapsulates these values, but also authentically lives them. Members of Gen Z aren’t impressed by lukewarm brands that aim to appeal to everyone, and expect them to take a specific stand on issues relevant to their values. Messaging that is too utopian or idealistic will likely not resonate with this group, and could even have a negative effect on brand image.
Get an Omnichannel View – Especially with Social Media
While members of Gen Z certainly have lives offline, they are strongly supplemented by their use of technology and social media. This makes comprehensive online targeting strategies more important than ever. Marketers must be active on social media, and optimizing messaging and landing pages for mobile activities.
Additionally, they must nurture relationships with this demographic using multiple touchpoints across both online and offline channels. It’s important to strategically place these touchpoints across the many social media platforms that Gen Z uses every day. In fact, research suggests this demographic checks social media as often as 100 times per day! To execute a marketing strategy with online and offline touchpoints, consider leveraging unified marketing measurement (UMM) for 360 visibility into campaign metrics.
When targeting Gen Z on social media, there are some key considerations to make. First, be sure that your organization advertises on the correct platforms. Many members of Gen Z use a variety of social media platforms for different uses, but some customer segments may use certain platforms more often. For example, Gen Z may broadcast their aspirational selves on Instagram, while using Snapchat to capture real-life moments. As a result, brands should tweak their core messaging to suit the environment of a specific social network. Marketers should realize how members of this generation fragment and focus on aspects of their social media presence, and target omnichannel marketing initiatives accordingly.
Target at the Person-Level on the Right Channel
Members of Gen Z are likely to respond positively to ads that are straight to the point. This is due in part to a shortened attention span, but also a desire to understand a product or service’s value proposition upfront. By creating targeted campaigns using person-level data, marketers can cut out the noise and target members of Gen Z directly with a specific proposition that outright explains the benefits and value of the product.
Personalization efforts are also important due to Gen Z’s individuality. Generally speaking, members of Gen Z do not like to be grouped – and would likely take issue even with being grouped into the “Gen Z” cohort. While grouping and segmenting members of Gen Z is worthwhile for basic targeting or market research purposes, the overwhelming majority of ads pointed at Gen Z should be focused at the person-level.
Members of Gen Z were raised in a unique sociopolitical environment, which has influenced them to gravitate towards certain brands and behaviors. Brands must respond to the demands of this new demographic, which includes brand involvement across multiple websites and social media platforms, as well as offline channels.
To have optimal reach with people in the Gen Z demographic, marketers must embrace an omnichannel approach that can orchestrate multiple touchpoints into a single customer experience. By succeeding in a properly targeted omnichannel strategy, brands will have an advantage in capturing this up-and-coming generation.