When it comes to planning your marketing, you should never take a one-size-fits-all mentality. Generational characteristics have a huge impact on how, why, and where content is consumed. Their experience, likes, dislikes, and habits have shaped their lives, so it’s important to shape our content to fit the niche of our target market.
Although there is no hard-and-fast rule for categorising the generational divide, the general consensus is there are currently four generations in the workplace:
Baby Boomers — born 1945-1964
Generation X — born 1965-1980
Millennials — born 1981-1996
Generation Z — born 1995-2009
But it’s the third group on that list that seems to have been getting all of the attention recently. From avocado toast to Millennial Pink, we can’t escape the stereotype-heavy marketing directed towards those born between 1981 and 1996. Marketers have been laser-focused on the buying power of Millennials for an age now — neglecting the considerably higher spending power of the Baby Boomers and Gen Xers, whilst trying to figure out how best to approach Generation Z.
But things are shifting, and Generation Z are coming of age. Born between 1995 and 2009, Gen Z are a populous and influential group with more sway over consumer spending than any previous generation. As digital natives, they have never known a time without technology.
Gen Z use their digital knowledge to assess price, availability, and reviews for potential household expenditures. They’re like bargain bloodhounds, determined to find the best products, for the best prices. They’re more wary, more cynical, and more likely to use technology to swerve traditional advertising.
But, that doesn’t mean they’re immune to marketing.
Generation Z are also known as the social generation. From Snapchat to Twitter, Instagram to Youtube, they have their finger on the platform pulse, and you can be sure they’re going to talk about the experience they have with your business.
From sharing sushi snaps to using Youtube tutorials and ‘hauls’ as their own personal lifestyle bibles — Gen Z are not afraid to leverage the power of social media as a mouthpiece. The trick is finding a way to harness the collective marketing influence of such a vocal group of tech-savvy individuals.
To do so, it’s vital to stay as nimble, knowledgeable and as up-to-date as possible with digital trends. Keeping an active, updated feed across your social media platforms, is a good start. But remember, there’s an art to effective social media marketing. It’s not just a simple case of tweeting sales pitches and memes when you remember. You need to understand your audience and tailor content to suit their needs and wants.
It’s not just about any old content either. Gen Z spend around 10 hours a day browsing online content, so if you want to get noticed you need to deliver regular, consistent and valuable content.
So, What Does Valuable Content Consist of for a Gen Zer?
To begin with, you should prioritise giving rather than receiving. Gen Z like authentic interactions that leave them with something of value. So, focus on informing and entertaining rather than selling.
Remember to be truthful. Gen Z have lived through an age of data leaks and misuse, they don’t want fancy words and overpromises. They want transparency.
Finally, keep it human — Gen Z are turned off by corporate speech. They’re fluent in emoji, used to the raw appeal of influencers, and the friendly outspoken nature of social media.
If you want to appeal to this powerful set of digital natives — it’s time to learn their language.
The Rise of the Influencer
While past generations have become accustomed to ‘traditional’ mainstream celebrity endorsements in TV or print advertising, Gen Z have their own clique of ‘digital’ celebrities. Social media influencers like Zoella and Huda Kattan are the cultural trendsetters that Gen Z turn to.
It’s no surprise that, at a time when consumer trust is at an all-time low, the digital generation are turning away from traditional marketing techniques and instead relying on the word-of-mouth marketing delivered by influencers. In a recent poll, a huge 44% of Gen Z respondents tried a recommendation from a digital creator.
It makes sense. Influencers pack a powerful punch because of the authentic, human voice they provide. It’s easy to connect to a fellow human sitting in front of a camera and sharing their personal opinions.
Instagram is a market that’s particularly well-equipped for influencer marketing, with it’s integrated analytics, shopping tags, and it’s intuitive and highly accessible app. It’s, therefore, no coincidence that the former photo-blogging site has introduced IGTV and Stories as features.
It’s become the perfect platform for opinion sharing.
Working with influencers can be a possible route for delivering successful marketing to Gen Z. But beware. Paid celebrities are viewed as phony, but honest, unpaid influencers continue to have sway in the market. Peers remain the most important influencers. To really engage with Gen Z, influencer marketing has to be authentic. This is why micro-influencers – those with just a few thousand followers – instead of celebrities with millions of followers, will have a greater appeal to Gen Z.
Authentic Not Impersonal
It may be easy to assume that the hyper-personal experiences Gen Z crave online mean they’re willing to share their details at the drop of a hat. It’s not the case.
Gen Z have seen the impact of data leaks, hacking, and personal information misuse. They’re a wary bunch, with only 42% willing to share their contact details online and a tiny 18% willing to give their payment info.
It’s not all bad news though. The number of Gen Zers prepared to share their personal information rises to 61% if they trust the brand to use and store their data properly. Trust is the key to unlocking the buying power of Gen Z.
For a group that view themselves as savvy, honest, and authentic, it’s clear that the most successful marketing methods need to mirror these values. Swerving the hard-sell to deliver high-quality, personalised content, that can be consumed quickly and often on-the-go, is speaking the native language of Gen Z.
And with the clout they’re packing, they’re a group that marketers and businesses ignore at their own risk.
If you’re interested in finding out how Social INK can help your business, don’t hesitate to reach out here.