My generation has a lot of names, including “post-millennials,” “the homeland generation,” and my personal favorite, “the iGeneration.” Whatever you call us, Generation Z is coming of age—and so are our wallets. Gen Z is the generation born from the mid-1990s to the early 2000s. We grew up in the shadow of millennials, but we won’t stay in that shadow much longer. These teens and young adults are 25.9% of the population and we are projected to account for 40% of the consumer market with an estimated influence on $4 billion of discretionary spending money next year… Wowzah. Naturally, you may be asking: How the heck do we market to Gen Z?
Simple. First you have to understand the qualities that make us different from any other generation: streaming, screens, and short attention spans—right?
Gen Z can be characterized by our ability to multitask with screens, as well as our effort to unplug. A majority actually prefer to receive their news from a physical newspaper, not online. The short attention spans are filters adapted to sort through the constant bombardment of information we receive every day. These contradictions may make Gen Z look like a nightmare for marketers, but if you break down some of our behaviors, communicating with us will be a breeze.
Here are three traits to keep in mind when you’re marketing to Generation Z:
1. We Prefer Print
A recent research study conducted by MNI Targeted Media concluded Gen Z understands the importance of logging off. For trusted news, 83% turn to printed newspapers instead of the internet. This statistic seems very surprising, but when you think of it, Gen Z grew up taking computer classes that taught us to not trust information on the internet unless it comes from a website ending in .org or .edu. The spread of misinformation and “fake news” has only reinforced a culture of skepticism. This wariness of online information has created a movement that champions the view of print media as more trustworthy.
2. We Know How to Filter Content
Generation Z has grown up with the internet almost our entire lives. Having so much entertainment and information constantly at our fingertips has caused eight-second attention spans to develop. Some may view this as a negative, but without this filter, the internet would be too overwhelming. In those eight seconds, Gen Z can decide if that information is relevant to them, whether it’s of importance, and if they want to learn more. This brief window of opportunity is vital for companies looking to market effectively to Gen Z.
3. We Use Multiple Screens at One Time
Multitasking with technology has become a way of life for these internet natives: you’ll often catch us listening to music on our headphones as we scroll through social media on our phones while keeping homework and downloaded textbooks open in tabs on our computers and iPads. This chaotic scene is a common scenario for teens and young adults. Yeah, it’s a lot. On the bright side, this utilization of multiple screens gives marketers ample opportunity to place advertisements in front of Gen Z’s busy eyes.
What Gen Z Traits Mean for Marketers: Don’t Ignore Print OR Digital
Since Gen Z is online so often and uses multiple devices at the same time, the issue isn’t finding a way to get your message in front of us, but making an impression that gets us to remember your ad and trust it. And since we tend to trust printed materials more, this gives an advantage to direct mail, newspaper ads, and any marketing materials Gen Z can physically touch while unplugged.
But to ignore online just because it’s difficult to make a splash is a bad move. Omnichannel marketing is one of the ways to make your company’s name stick. By curating advertisements with remarketing to be viewed by a customer on multiple platforms online, companies can increase their chance for brand recognition later on. To take it one step further, online and printed content can be used dynamically. This strategy has skyrocketed return on investment and is the future for targeting Gen Z.
That doesn’t always mean flashy ads, as those can get drowned out in a crowd. It means marketers need to buckle down and come up with creative content that provides value and stands out among the everyday. This could be Domino’s AI robot for ordering pizza or simply a personalized letter supporting a cause that customers align with.
The possibilities of how you can market to Gen Z are endless, but to do it right you need to understand us. To learn more on this topic please feel free to reach out to me.
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