Idea Enablers

06 November 2018

​Gen Z 101 for Marketing: As written by a Gen Z

​Gen Z 101 for Marketing: As written by a Gen Z

Gen Z 101 for Marketing: As written by a Gen Z

By Guest Writer: Makenna Downing

Every day the world is advancing in more ways than we can comprehend—new technologies are developed daily, people are voicing their opinions to create a better world, and new lifestyles are being introduced and accepted into our daily society. But what is the cause of this rapidly transforming society? Simple. The rising importance of the newest generation of individuals: Generation Z. Generation Z (Gen Z) is made up of all people born between the year 1995 and the present. This is the generation that was born into a highly mobile world, with things being accessible by the click of a button rather than having to flip through countless pages in an encyclopedia or wait until 5 o’clock to be informed about the latest news. Speaking as a Gen Z member myself: we’ve had it pretty good. However, now is our time to really make an impact on various working industries in the world. As we come closer to our buying power, our views on products and ideas are vital in the success of your business, which may leave you wondering, “How do we reach the newest generation via marketing?” Well, allow me to provide some firsthand insight.

As previously mentioned, Gen Z includes people born in the year 1995 or later. We are the group that:

  • grew up with technology and we absorb information quickly.
  • We tend to focus on the BIG picture, so keep it clear and concise.
  • Studies show that an enticing image and a brief but meaningful description or advertisement are the most effective ways to reach our generation.
  • People often make jokes about us having the attention span of a new puppy, but in some senses this is the honest truth.

Think of it this way: our world is mobile; it is rapid, fluid, and adapts quickly; we have immediate access to information and communication. So we are simply used to absorbing and understanding information quickly. We place big emphasis on personalization and relevance, so it is important to keep us intrigued with the newest, best, and most practical.

Gen Z prefers practical over passion and popular over unique. We were raised by Gen X and also grew up during a recession, so we tend to value work and career, being resourceful and entrepreneurial, and not investing in risky things. If we notice a lack of something in the market, we are more likely to invest if we feel that it could be useful to our own daily lifestyle. While we do adopt the most popular products and services, we also enjoy being trendsetters of our own: we want to take the newest, best, most practical thing and put our own spin on it to adapt the product or service to suit our needs. An important example of this is social media, which is a key part of our social system in this generation.

We all use social media, but in different ways:

  • some strictly endorse social media to communicate with family and friends, others use it as a platform to self-promote, some seek social media as a form of entertainment, and a vast majority use it for promoting and discovering new information.
  • We use social media for social purposes, school, and careers.
  • Recent reports show that consumers 19 years and younger prefer private and quick social networks, such as Snapchat, and that about 25% of 13-17 year olds have left Facebook behind this year.

It is important to know your audience and the networks that are most important to them, so you can better understand how best to reach them.

Let’s talk about those devices. Gen Z tends to self-educate and research via our use of technology.

  • We watch online tutorials and lessons,
  • participate in online schooling,
  • use our devices to study or read textbooks,
  • and use the internet to work with our peers and research information online.

While Millennials (the generation prior to us) tend to use three screens/devices on average, we use about five:

  • a smartphone,
  • TV,
  • laptop,
  • desktop,
  • and an iPad.

This is partly because we like to use every device and resource that is available, and partly because we are constantly interested in the next best gadget or technology. Yes, we do tend to get a bit nervous and stressed out when we are kept away from these devices, because they are an important part in our communication and social skills. We literally use them for EVERYTHING. So one of the best ways to cater your marketing towards our generation is through apps, devices, and social networks, since we view our smartphones as an extra body part: growing up with two arms and suddenly losing one would probably cause you some emotional stress, too, right? Now, this is not to say we are so addicted that we can never be without them, because that is simply not the case and sometimes we really benefit from a social media/devices cleanse. But for the most part, they are always on hand. Devices are just a part of our being.

The era of our buying power is important, because we are such a determined and influential generation.

  • On average, members of Gen Z are getting about $16.90 per week in allowance, translating to $44 Billion per year as a whole.
  • Some of us also have part-time jobs and we are typically practical with our money usage.
  • We tend to save as much as we can for the important things in our lives, like big purchases, education, or fostering our careers.
  • On the other hand, we love to spend the money we have earned on The Next Best Thing, as long as we feel that it is useful enough to be used often in our daily lives.
  • Currently, we make up more than a quarter of America’s population and influence $600 billion in family spending, influence the products that our parents purchase, and are active participants in the idea of “brand loyalty.”
  • We want to work for our success, we value equality, we want real, honest brands so that we can use their products to be unique, we have our own rules and system for using social media.
  • We value time with family and friends as one of the most important elements of our daily lives, and we center a lot of our plans and activities around the people we want to do them with.
  • Because we are adventurous and like to be out experiencing the world, we love being able to make purchases online for clothing and products we need for school or living.

We worry about our future, because we have grown up in an important time filled with cultural diversity. But that idea is important: diversity=differences. And with differences, we have seen a lot of world issues arise over what differences should be accepted and tolerated or not. Our generation has been through eras of war, recession, the first African American President, acceptance of all sexualities, etc. We want our future to be bright and inclusive of all people, and we want to do our part to better the environment and the people living in it. This is why volunteering and participating in service events are so important to our generation and the industries that we support.

From a Gen Z perspective, the way to win us over is by being personable and understanding of our generation and its habits. Be supportive of our device/technology usage, work creatively with us to establish new, innovative products, use our generation as a platform to promote your ideas. We are thrilled to have such buying power in this world because we thoroughly enjoy speaking our minds and pursuing our passions. We want to make a difference, we want to be connected to every part of the world, and we want to impact the lives of others. Thus, as the world continues to rapidly change day by day, we are adapting and changing with it in order to create an even better future for the next generation. We may be the generation that ends the alphabet, but we are determined to be the generation that starts a whole new movement—holding onto traditions, learning from the past, but grabbing onto the newest things and taking them for a spin so that we are the generation that makes its mark. Know your audience: market to us, because we are so excited to adopt your products and services as a way to define Gen Z.

Various facts in this article came from a variety of sources. All information is credited to its rightful owner.

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