Written for EO by James Scott.
As marketers, we’ve only started seriously considering Generation Z—the people born between 1995 and the mid-2000s. Until recently, the focus was on Millennials and how we could market to them. The good news is that most people remain focused on Millennials so if you turn your attention to Gen Z, you’ll probably have an edge over your competition.
To help you get started, let’s lay out the basic facts we know about this latest consumer group.
1. THEY’RE OVER FACEBOOK
Facebook may be the overall dominant social media platform, but it’s not for Gen Z. They prefer to use a variety of platforms for different aspects their lives.
What does this mean f0r marketers? To be effective at targeting Gen Z, you’ll have to broaden your efforts across more networks—namely Instagram and Snapchat. Even better, engage with your target Gen Zers to determine where your efforts are best spent.
Once you’ve chosen your platforms, be sure to follow etiquette and privacy rules on them. Otherwise, you risk appearing fake, forced or fraudulent—and that spells failure.
2. THEY INTERACT DIFFERENTLY
They prefer quick bursts of short-form communication. We can’t know whether this is because their attention span is incredibly short (estimated at just eight seconds, compared to 12 seconds for Millennials!) or they are simply multi-tasking even more than previous generations. But if you wish to connect with them, your best bet is to message frequently in bite-sized messages.
3. THEY PREFER TO LISTEN TO THEIR OWN
To reach this generation, you’ll need to genuinely speak their language. In fact, turn to Gen Z to communicate effectively with Gen Z. Consider this advantage: These individuals are still young so you’ll be able to hire them as interns or for relatively low pay.
4. TRADITIONAL ADVERTISING DOESN’T WORK
Like Millennials before them, Gen Z has been exposed to so much advertising that it doesn’t work all that well. Considered “ad-resistant,” they respond better to word-of-mouth recommendations.
For marketers, this means relying on nontraditional marketing—whether that’s influencer marketing, content marketing or guerrilla marketing.
5. THEY ARE SOCIALLY AWARE—AND EXPECT THE SAME FROM BRANDS
A product is no longer simply a product. It represents a way of living and doing business. Individuals in Gen Z consider how that product is made and what their purchasing power is supporting.
Of course, this was also true of the Millennials. The difference, however, is that Millennials weren’t terribly political, while Gen Z seems to be far more likely to take a stand. You’ll win them over by authentically communicating and living your mission.
IS IT WORTH IT?
Gen Z will continue to grow in size and spending power. To ignore them is to set your course on an ever-shrinking market share. So while meeting them where they are may sound like a great amount of work (and it is), it’s best to take the plunge now and start accommodating this new spending force.
James Scott is a marketer and co-founder of Essay Supply. He specializes in targeting, branding and SEO.