In recent years, there’s been a lot of talk about the importance of marketing to millennials. But has your business made it a point to target the next generation of consumers dubbed Gen Z? If that’s not the case, it’s high time you start paying attention to their unique buying habits and attitudes and learn ways to market to Gen Z.
Gen Zers, or those born after 1995, represent an estimated 72 million teens and young adults. To date, this cohort represents $44 million in estimated buying power, and by 2020, they will constitute 40 percent of all consumers. But despite the similarities in age between Gen Z and millennials, these two wholly-separate generations shouldn’t simply be lumped together.
In fact, companies that identify Gen Z and millennials as one will have a hard time capturing the former’s attention — and that’s not simply because these young people are known for having notoriously short attention spans. Research has shown this demographic is more entrepreneurial in spirit and is getting an earlier start in the workforce than generations before them.
Additionally, they set a higher premium on individuality, diversity and authenticity than millennials. And because Gen Z has literally never known a world without the Internet, they have high expectations about the technology they use — and will pick up and drop what they’re doing if those requests cannot be met.
With so much research and effort focused on marketing to millennials, how can businesses effortlessly shift gears and learn ways to market to Gen Z? Here are four effective ways to market to this budding generation.
1. Don’t Advertise to Them Too Overtly
With so many demands and options to choose from in today’s digital age, it’s no wonder Gen Zers’ short attention spans all but forces them to use their DVR religiously in order to avoid watching countless — and, in their minds, meaningless — TV ads. Additionally, their online savviness means they can spot heavily sponsored content from a mile away.
So why develop this feckless content to begin with? In reality, Gen Zers desire some form of value, including engaging, inspiring and knowledge-based content and entertainment, to capture their attention. Case in point: Last year, fans of Chipotle could score free chips and guacamole after playing Guac Hunter, the fast casual restaurant’s online game.
By gamifying the rewards experience, Chipotle caught the attention of Gen Zers — and other generations alike — and ultimately created higher levels of brand engagement and loyalty.
2. Invest in Gen Z-Focused Customer Service
When it comes to technology, Gen Z has high expectations — and that’s nowhere more apparent than when this generation wants to resolve a customer service issue. Research indicates slow customer service response times via phone, online chat or social media could lead to Gen Zers electing to drop that company’s product or service altogether — especially if they know another company can make their life that much easier.
Additionally, this generation appreciates receiving timely and efficient customer service that an omnichannel experience can deliver. To that end, Gen Zers want the ability to interact with customer service reps on multiple platforms, including phone, online chat and social media, via a cloud contact center without any interruptions in service.
3. To Learn More Ways to Market to Gen Z, Meet This Generation Halfway
Due to the novelty of social apps like Snapchat, Gen Zers tend to feel more comfortable engaging in and using a platform that hasn’t — at least yet — been overrun by nosy parents and other authority figures. In fact, an estimated 80 percent of all Gen Zers use Snapchat at least once a day.
If your company can find innovative and authentic ways to reach them on this popular platform, your business can gain new, loyal followers, while also creating massive brand appeal across various generations of consumers. But its just one of the ways to market to Gen Z.
4. Make a Real Impact
Gen Z is idealistic. Not only does this cohort want to save and protect the world, they also want the companies they do business with to care about important social and environmental causes, too. Brands that can show a big impact in making a difference — and not just talk a big game — tend to appeal better to Gen Z.
Boxed Water has taken this to heart by aligning its brand with a cause its employees care about deeply. Beyond hydrating thousands upon thousands of consumers, Boxed Water has also pledged to plant one million trees by 2020 in national forests throughout the U.S. in need of reforestation. So how can the public get involved? Simply snap a photo of your Boxed Water bottle, make an Instagram post that includes the #ReTree hashtag, and the company will plant two trees on your behalf.
Ultimately, to better appeal to this budding generation, businesses must ensure their marketing efforts are sincere. Messaging matters, as Gen Zers know how to do their homework and will be instantly turned off by inauthentic or overblown claims.