Millennials have been the talk of the town for the last few years – the “tech-savvy,” “self-absorbed,” and “free spirited” young kids on the block have become an obsession for marketers the world over. The m-word is arguably one of the most popular buzzwords in a marketer’s vocabulary, but 2017 marks the beginning of the end of an era that was all about what makes us tick.
Now millennials are the marketers. The lines between generations are always blurry, but the oldest of the demographic are now married, have kids, and celebrate birthdays with more than 30 candles on their cake.
So step aside grandpa. Here comes Generation Z: The younger, richer version of Gen Y that is about to take our place at the centre of brands’ hearts.
Who Are Gen Z?
Well, they’re true digital natives who learned to swipe before they could walk. Born after the mid-1990’s they’ve never known a world where they couldn’t just ‘Google it’ and they claim they use up to five different screens compared to our three. They have developed the ability to quickly sort through and assess enormous amounts of information, taking no longer than eight seconds to decide if something is worth their attention.
Getting past these filters and winning Gen Z’s attention will mean providing engaging and immediately beneficial experiences. One-way messaging alone will likely get drowned out in the noise.
They’ve been branded “screen addicts” and older generations struggle to understand why they spend so much time online. The fact is that social media and messaging apps are where their peers are, where many of the important conversations happen, and where their favourite sources of entertainment are quickly shifting. But unlike the millennial mentality of broadcasting anything and everything to these platforms, Gen Z are more nuanced and selective in their use of social media.
They often have more-than-one profile on Snapchat, Twitter and Instagram, for example, allowing them to share different content with different audiences (think family vs friends vs public).
Whereas millennials dreamed of changing the world, Gen Z follow a more practical approach to making a positive impact. They’re doers. Hardworking and driven by traditional views of success (such as money, education and career) with 85% believing school grades are the most important thing.
Transparency, Honesty and Value
Gen Z have an amazing nose for bull****. Interruptions are not tolerated and the tricks that worked with millennials and boomers will be see-through to this savvy and cynical group. Brands that try to force their way into conversations to sell a product will be called out and eliminated from online experiences with ad blockers. In order to be engaging, brands must make sure their messaging and communication is authentic, honest and beneficial to its audience. Get it wrong and you will come across like someone’s weird uncle trying to be cool.
77% say they like ads that show real people in real situations and unique, humorous and culturally relevant content works really well with this audience. Influencers that are already producing the content that Gen Z consume every day can help brands bridge the cultural gap.
Today Generation Z comprise a quarter of the population in the UK, and by 2020 they will make up 40% of all consumers. It’s time to stand up and pay attention to this regularly misunderstood demographic.