They’re the new kids on the block, and by 2020 they will account for 40 percent of the consumer population. That’s almost half of the the country’s purchasing power.
Introducing … Gen Z.
Born after 1995, Generation Z is returning to what some might call “traditional values” combined with an acute technical savvy. This group is efficient, pragmatic, professional and self-motivated.
Ready for the quick study guide?
Gen Z: What They Value
- Individuality and expression
- Hard work, preparation for the future, a reliable plan of action
- Privacy, having witnessed the backlash of oversharing on the internet and social media
- Competition, as opposed to the collaborative millennials
- Momentum and results, which incites them to develop their skills, their brands and their personal leadership within a company
Gen Z: How to Communicate
1. Appeal to the Eight-Second Filter.
Since Gen Z is inundated with a constant barrage of stimuli, it has honed an effective eight-second filter to decide if the message it applicable or interesting. And they can sense an ad a mile away. Rather than “sell,” entertain or educate with your messages. Communicate frequently and in short bursts. Use a relatable spokesperson, couch your message in a short video, and above all make the content funny or entertaining. Once you catch this group’s eye, you will have its focused, long-term attention.
2. Show the data.
Gen Z is a data-driven group who can research its way out of any problem. This is the generation that loves tutorials, how-tos, DIYs and review-based decisions. Gen Z also has cultivated a sense of responsibility for its future, which makes this group eager to invest in professional development and long-term goals. Appeal to their practicality, or as Forbes puts it, “Sell the end game.” Show the end benefit for your audience, backed by clear, concise data or results. Why is your product or service worth their time? Fold it into an instructional video or a DIY context that solves a problem.
3. Communicate with transparency.
Related to #2, Gen Z is turned off by salesy verbiage. Hone your message, your supporting data and your call to action. (Check out this resource for how to write a strong call to action.) This puts an additional premium on the quality of the product or service and makes swift, effective customer service a critical component. If there are issues with your product, Gen Z will find it … and share it widely.
4. Video all the things.
This generation has enjoyed the brevity and immediacy of visual mediums pretty much since birth. Gen Z gravitates toward voice texting, image-based communication and video communication (like the Marco Polo app) instead of email and even text messaging. In addition to communicating via brief one- or two-minute videos, invest marketing time and dollars in video-based social media platforms (anything from YouTube to Insta Stories) to reach this demographic.
5. Use social media correctly.
According to a recent study by Response Media, Gen Z uses various social media platforms for distinctly separate purposes. They use Instagram to curate snippets of their aspirational selves; they share unfiltered, real-life moments on Snapchat; and they use Twitter and Facebook to conduct research or get the news. Be sure to appeal to their separate self-images on the correct platform.
6. Hear it from the peers.
In keeping with its desire to read reviews like crazy, Gen Z will trust peer recommendations from everyday folks far more than celebrities. In fact, according to Hackernoon, Gen Z is 1.3 times more likely to purchase a product recommended by an influencer they follow than a big-time celebrity. This provides a huge opportunity to partner with influencers and micro-influencers to vouch for your product. (See our post above on the power of micro influencers.)
Looking for some ideas to target your brand to Gen Z?