You did it — You created a bold, potentially viral marketing campaign with a catchy hashtag! Your “Young Adult” target audience of 27-year-olds love it, but the 20-year-olds only sort-of relate — they’re both your audience, so what’s the problem? Well, despite their similar attachments to their smartphones, you’re dealing with two very different generational segments — Millennials and Gen Z. And if you’re confused about how to tell the difference, you’re not alone.
Gen Z vs Millennials
Anyone born between the mid-90s and the early 2000s falls under Gen Z. The youngest of them are in high school and the oldest in their early 20s. Like Millennials, their lives are digital, but unlike Millennials, they’ve not had a life without the internet. They’re what we call ‘digital natives’. Millennials look to older platforms like Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram, and Gen Z prefers Instagram and TikTok. Online preferences apart, Gen Z and Millennials also differ in their practical worldview, including their decisions on how they buy and who they buy from.
While Millennials grew up during an economic boom, Gen Z began growing up during the Recession, and watching their parents struggle through the economy had a huge impact on how they now make financial decisions. In fact, according to an article by Fiscal Tiger, while Millennials face economic struggle, Gen Z will inherit it and thus, are already averse to debt and early to save. To quote the article, “the average age for Gen Zers to discuss and research financial planning is 13 years old. That is a very early age, all things considered, but it is also a serious indicator of the times.”
With the first wave of Gen Z graduating college and entering the workforce, their incomes and spending power are set to increase. Millennials changed the way brands existed, with marketers having to innovate constantly and companies having to take stock of how they operate. Now, Gen Z holds an incredible $44 billion in purchasing power according to experts at Forbes. Essentially, this means that brands need to shift their marketing focus towards Gen Z.
What Ticks Gen Z’s Boxes
With this in mind, here are some ways to target Gez Z with your marketing campaigns:
If you’re still on the one-size-fits-all wagon, it’s time to jump off. While Millennials showed marketers that personalization is important, Generation Z can’t do without it. An article by Forbes explains that “Because they have grown up exiting out of pop-up ads and being bombarded by brands at nearly every stage of their day, it does not come as a surprise that Gen Z prefers personalized experiences”.
As a marketer, understanding how to zone in on a customer’s specific interests or needs, through location-specific discounts, similar products, correctly timed-emails, social listening, and more are imperative to tap into this young audience. But how exactly do you do that? One key is to use personalization marketing techniques like historical data analysis and predictive analytics to proactively deliver tailor-made solutions your consumer will appreciate.
With a world of information at the tip of their fingers, Gen Z knows not to judge a brand by its cover. Rather, they are to scratch beneath the surface and find what they really believe in. This generation wants to believe in brands with a strong company ethos. As a result, companies that have a larger purpose, those that work towards making the world better, and those that create a safe workspace and motivate employees are all high on their list.
Before you market to them, consider whether your company values align with theirs. To do so, outline current and future policies, and gauge how you can improve both. A good place to start is by instilling a workplace policy structure that includes aspects like safety and health, data privacy, workplace violence, and emergency situations. Showing you care about your employees’ well-being is definitely something that will get you brownie points with Gen Z’ers.
Gone are the days when a celebrity endorsement was enough to have sales skyrocket. Gen Z now looks to brands that they can relate to, through people they relate to — aka, influencers. And while influencer marketing began with Millennials, it’s about to get even bigger with Gen Z.
In fact, highlights from Morning Consult’s influencer report show that Gen Z considers YouTubers just as popular as mainstream celebrities; and that the market for micro-influencers is about to explode. For brands that aren’t looking to spend a fortune on a single Instagram post, micro-influencers are a marketing godsend. With anywhere between 100 and 100,000 followers, their audience engagement is much higher, their reach, more specific; and their price — much less!
A Commitment to Privacy
In a world where privacy in technology is a huge issue, it’s no wonder the digital natives are concerned. According to an article by WordStream, research by NGen shows that 88% of Gen Z-ers agree that protection of privacy is important to them. The article further references an IBM survey that finds that less than a third of teenagers are comfortable sharing their personal details online unless it’s with a brand they trust will keep that information secure.
This indicates a huge responsibility for brands to commit to privacy protection in order to win the favor of Gen Z customers. Collecting information, using data, and marketing to them based on the same will only work with their permission, as well as a commitment to creating transparent processes.
It’s time to get real. Above everything else, Gen Z appreciates authenticity. CNBC reported that in a survey by consultancy Irregular Labs, 67% of those surveyed agreed that “being true to their values and beliefs makes a person/ brand cool.” For brands that want to catch the Gen Z-ers attention, this means fewer gimmicks, real substance, and a company culture that backs it up.
So the next time you’re thinking up a new campaign for the “youth”, be sure to first know your audience. If it’s mostly Gen Z, then these are a few considerations you will want on your side!