Generation Z is the demographic group following millennials. Although there is still some debate on what birth years are included, the general consensus is it refers to those born between 1993 and 2010. Now that a part of the Gen Z-ers have reached the age of majority, marketers must think about how this generation differs from millennials in terms of their shopping behaviour and brand loyalty. Gen Z-ers and millennials are extremely technology driven and because millennials are the older brothers and sisters of Generation Z-ers, brands tend to view them as the same generation. However, Generation Z will once again force brands to rethink what it means to connect with consumers in today’s world.

Even though millennials experienced the change of a millennium, Gen Z-ers were the ones to be born in it. Being even more technologically savvy, this generation can’t remember a time without smartphones, computers and the internet. This generation hasn’t even experienced much time without social media or free Wi-Fi. To put things into perspective, this generation is used to retrieving all information from Google when they don’t know something. As technology evolves rapidly, things like smartphones, that were once considered innovative advances for other generations, are taken for granted by Gen Z-ers.

Gen Z-ers are the next widely recognized powerhouse, as they will account for 40 percent of worldwide consumers by 2020. Therefore, understanding this generation will be crucial for brands to succeed among their competitors. Research from Barkley points out major behavioural differences between millennials and Gen Z. Influenced by turbulence and instability like the 9/11 incident, the acts of terrorism in Europe and the Columbine massacre, Gen Z-ers are interested in social activism and working for their own success. According to research from Boston Consulting Group, values that were extremely strong within the Baby Boomer generation, including responsibility, determination, work ethic, dependability, money, intelligence and independence all come again as defining characteristics among Gen Z.

Gen Z-ers use different social media sites for different methods of sharing content. This generation fragments their social media attention between Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Millennials spend an average of 8.5 hours on their devices, while Gen Z-ers spend about 10.6 hours. Forcing this generation to engage with a lot of content through different platforms will make them weary and skeptical about fake news and they are more inclined to only trust qualified and authentic information.

Marketing to Generation Z

Real People, Real Brands

Authenticity has become crucial for marketing to Gen Z. Millennials were the first consumers to show preference for real content but now Gen Z-ers have taken the issue even further. They don’t want to see fake models portraying an unreachable lifestyle. Instead, they want to see real people in order to see behind the brand or the person behind the camera. They don’t want to feel that they are being marketed to, but want to feel as if they are a part of something bigger. This is why so many brands have been inclined to launch relatable marketing campaigns. For example, the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty empowers real women and moves away from the idealized body standards that the media usually portrays. Another example is Aerie and their No Photoshop policy.

Source: Research by Barkley

Gen Z-ers are Digital Pioneers

While millennials use 3 screens on average, Gen Z-ers use five. Gen Z-ers expect brands to move and engage on different platforms which allows them to feel comfortable with different options. Gen Z-ers are used to consuming enormous amounts of advertising and information, making them masters at filtering information that is not relevant or not of interest. It is important for marketers to create a message that resonates and stands out from the hundreds of ads that they see and subconsciously consume on a daily basis.

Show that you care

Gen Z-ers have a strong social responsibility mentality, meaning that they aspire to change the world and they want others to do the same. Beyond that, they are interested in racial, gender, and income equality as well as LGBTQ equality in the market force and in day to day life. Standing up for the Gen Z-ers beliefs and social norms will be a key differentiator between brands that will succeed and brands that will fail.

As Gen Z comes of age, marketers will need to create and engage unique messages that appeal to their values and motives. Customizing socially meaningful messages, portraying real people, humanizing brands and showing that as a company you care will be crucial in successfully engaging a group that is gaining force and will soon lead the market.

About iRISEmedia | Internet Marketing Agency

iRISEmedia is a digital marketing agency servicing companies in Canada and the United States. We specialize in social media marketing and will work with you to create content that will appeal to all generations. So are you looking to market your brand to generation Z but not sure where to start? Contact us today to get started!

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