With a collective spending power of $44 billion, Generation Z is about to transform your business very soon. Born in the mid-90s to late 2000s, Gen Z already make up more than a quarter of the U.S. population, making it bigger than the millennials or Gen X. Studies also show that Gen Z is the most diverse and multicultural of any generation in the U.S.
While more research needs to be done, companies are starting to get to know this generation. In a new article for MediaPost, I shared how Gen Z will change your business in the immediate future. If you work in the following business areas, getting to know Gen Z should be top priority.
Members of Gen Z are the first true digital natives. They grew up with the wide availability of the internet, and they were raised on multiple screens (smartphone, laptop, desktop, iPod, tablet). Marketing to Gen Z customers requires a digital- and mobile-first strategy.
When it comes to products that they support, Gen Z customers are looking for marketing messaging that speak to their reality rather than the idealized world. In AdAge, Ruth Bernstein, co-founder and chief strategic officer of image-making agency Yard, says Gen Z customers “look for products and messaging that reflect a reality rather than a perfect life.” Bernstein says projecting a “flawless, carefree, perfect world” doesn’t work for the Gen Z audience.
Projecting a flawless, carefree, perfect world doesn't work for the #GenZ audience. (CLICK TO TWEET)
Don’t make the mistake of assuming that millennial employees are the same as Gen Z workers. In the New York Times, workplace consultant and author Alexandra Levit says Gen Z is tends to be more independent than millennials, adding, “Gen Zers are growing up in a healthier economy and appear eager to be cut loose. They don’t wait for their parents to teach them things or tell them how to make decisions.”
Gen Z also tends to have a shorter attention span, which means companies need to structure work strategically for these employees. “They like to digest information faster and faster, often through videos and things like Snapchat, so their attention spans will be even lower than [those of] millennials,” Daria Taylor, co-founder of insight agency Talented Heads, tells BBC. “There will be issues around their ability to concentrate, which employers will have to adapt to.”
Gen Zers are proving to be super entrepreneurial. “Because they grew up in a time when their family members may have been unemployed and money was tight, they’re resourceful and entrepreneurial,” notes the International Business Times. As the rise of peer-to-peer selling among teens show, people born in this generation are more likely to start their own businesses and less likely to work for established companies.
So what’s the implication for your brand? Simply put, Gen Z customers require a new approach to customer engagement. “This market wants to be treated as a consumer who’s a partner, not as a target audience,” says Jeff Fromm, president of marketing consultancy FutureCast. “You’re not going to be marketing to them, you’re going to be co-creating with them.”
Think of ways on how your company can partner with Gen Z entrepreneurs. Consider ways of allowing Gen Z entrepreneurs to promote your brand (or even sell your products) in exchange for a commission or ad revenues. Co-creating products is also a great idea as it allows you to provide more value to Gen Z entrepreneurs. For example, if you’re a beauty brand, consider co-design a line of makeup with YouTube vloggers and social media influencers. Let your brand become an “open source” that Gen Z can adapt, improve and evangelize.
#GenZ will transform marketing, HR and market research. (CLICK TO TWEET)
Engaging with Gen Z and learning about their motivations and attitudes can give your company an enormous amount of competitive advantage. Now is the perfect time to start thinking about the Gen Z customer.