While millennials still hold much of the consumer power today, there’s a new generation that experts believe will eventually take over: the Z generation.
These people born in 1997 and 2012 or 2015 now have a consumer spending ability of at least $140 billion. They can also heavily influence their parents and friends on their buying choices.
Now is the best time for business owners to consider them in their marketing strategies. But to match their methods to this group, they have to know them by heart. What are they like?
1. They Are the Ultimate Digital Natives
Some millennials, especially those born in the late 1990s, may have grown up mostly with tech. However, it’s Gen Z that are the true-blue digital natives.
They are way past the years of analog and dial-up Internet. Some may have been born post-9/11. They may have also acquired their first phone way earlier than the previous generations including millennials.
Understandably, they spend most of their time connecting with others and interacting with brands online. They spend an average of close to four hours on their smartphone. That’s almost an hour longer than any mobile user.
Thus, the first agenda for a business owner is to create a strong digital presence. Build a website, make social media accounts, and get the target market engaged.
But they also need to go deeper. This generation has experienced the pros and cons of being online most of the time:
- Because they have easy access to vast amounts of information, this generation is likely to approach content with a lot of skepticism and caution. In fact, in a 2016 survey, Gen Z beat baby boomers in spotting misinformation.
- Being exposed to the Internet, particularly social media, also make them susceptible to the harm of bullying and identity theft. They can also be protective of their privacy. This also means that, unlike their predecessor, they may not want to be always reachable or available online.
How can a business translate these points into its marketing strategies? One, educate the audience. Provide social proof, invite experts to contribute articles, and schedule webinars where they can engage with the brand.
Second, secure their privacy. Assure them that their shopping information is 100% safe and will never be sold to third parties. Be sensitive to the content and the products. Avoid anything that may be offensive or triggering—items and descriptions that may increase their anxiety or fear.
When managing social media, provide them the floor to discuss and even argue. However, always moderate the comments to create a safe space for everyone.
2. Gen Z Is All About Self-Identity and Personalization
A growing number of digital marketers go beyond building a well-optimized site for clients. There’s a marketing agency, for example, that factors in consumer psychology and behavior in its strategies.
This works well in the Gen Z age as self-identity plays a huge role in how they shop or choose their brands. But how does this become one of their core traits?
- This generation is the most diverse population right now. At 52%, they have the lowest number of whites than other generations. Meanwhile, the percentages of people who identify themselves as Hispanics, blacks, and Asians are growing. A lot of them are already born mixed-race couples or from immigrant parents.
- They are also the most gender-fluid generation. They are the ones more likely to know someone addressed in gender-neutral pronouns. In a Gallup survey, 1 in every 6 Gen Z adults is part of the LGBT community.
- But they also frown upon stereotypes. Despite being labeled as the most racially diverse or the most gender-fluid, they are not fond of labels. In a report by Deloitte, this group is likely to tick off boxes that compel them to identify their race or gender.
The Internet also has a vital influence on their self-identity. In a few presses, they can learn about other people’s cultures, interact with individuals on the other side of the planet, be aware of societal issues that help define them, and read news and information that further mold their beliefs and values.
Their desire for self-expression then leads to their preference for personalization. In a McKinsey & Company report, over 50% of this generation will pay more for products that allow them to express their personalities.
Meanwhile, Facebook data revealed that at least 45% want to see diversity in the ads they see. Almost 80% feel positive toward a brand that champions gender equality on social media.
When it comes to marketing, there’s no one-size-fits-all strategy. This is especially true with the Z generation. By learning more about who they are, marketers can now tailor their approach to match this group’s values and traits.