As posted in the Gaston Gazette
Articles about millennial consumer influence have officially reached the height of absurdity; on any given day, you can hop online and find a new article blaming them for the decline of everything from birth rates to chain restaurants. While there’s no question that milliennials have a lot of purchasing power these days, so does the generation rising right behind them: Generation Z, or people born in 1995 or later. According to Forbes, this generation will account for 40 percent of consumers by 2020. Want to connect with this influential new consumer group? Here are a few ideas how:
- It’s all about mobile. We all know that millennials use their smart phones far more frequently than earlier generations. But according to Global Web Index, a whopping 98 percent of Generation Z owns a smart phone. In order to reach this demographic, it’s increasingly important for businesses to make sure they have a robust mobile presence (which means, at the very least, a website that’s optimized for smart phone usage) as well as some understanding of how to make it as easy as possible for Generation Z to reach you with their phone. It’s worth it to do an analysis of how your business can engage more effectively on mobile platforms and show Generation Z the ways in which you’re worth their time and their dollars.
- Put real people in your advertisements. Gone are the days when consumers are routinely lured in by highly retouched advertisements and high-end models for their ads. According to Josh Perlstein at Adweek, Generation Z would much rather see real people – preferably real teens, the kind of people they might flock to in the hallways of their own schools – that can help them connect with the product or service you’re selling. Even better if you can secure the help of an influencer that they know and can identify with – this demographic, even more than milliennials, tend to prefer marketing from influencers. The name of the game, however, is authenticity, and Generation Z wants you to demonstrate how your business aligns with real life and real issues rather than fantasy. Any influencer must seem genuinely interested in sharing information rather than pushing product or ploy for dollars.
- Grab their attention – fast. Want to get the attention of Generation Z consumers and keep it? Then you’d better be quick about it. According to Deep Patel at Forbes, the average attention span for millennials is 12 seconds, but for members of Generation Z, it’s even shorter – just eight seconds. That means that all of your materials have to be polished, on point and highly engaging. Not only is influencer marketing adept at catching the eye of Generation Z, but any kind of video or visual content is also a strong element in your favor.
- Make the jump to Snapchat. We all know the pull of social media for millennials. But that pull is even stronger for Generation Z, although it’s a bit more selective. According to an online study by the advertising and public relations firm SCG, Snapchat tops the list of the social media Generation Z prefers, both in terms of the number of people who use the platform and the percentage of Generation Z users. Part of the reason for this preference is likely because of Snapchat’s rapid delivery of information and its relative anonymity. If you’re interested in diving into this platform, you might check out several examples of successful Snapchat ad campaigns so that you can determine how your business might use the platform effectively.
- Diversity is key. Given America’s growing demographic changes, it’s no surprise that Generation Z is the most ethnically diverse generation: approximately 47 percent of their population identifies as a minority. As a result, notes Katie Sehl at Hootsuite, this is the demographic that also expects its businesses and brands to represent and appreciate diversity as well. In order to appeal to this diverse population, you’ll need to make sure you’re tapping into their mindset, which means hiring from across the spectrum of diversity and consulting diverse populations in tangible ways. Demonstrate that you understand issues that face diverse clientele and illustrate how your business can facilitate that, and you’ll have them rushing your door (or your online platform).
There’s no question: millennials have long since arrived as a powerhouse purchasing group – it’s Generation Z who are now considered the up-and-comers. Pay attention to their similarities to – and their differences from – millennials, and you’ve got a great shot at getting a few of their dollars, too.