The Z Factor – How to Prepare Your Brand and Marketing to Survive the Gen Z Invasion

By Ida Cheinman posted 02-21-2019 09:11


If You Thought Millennials Were a Marketing Challenge, Meet Gen Z

Although every generation presents unique challenges, it took companies an especially long time to learn how to market to Millennials. The Millennials were the impetus behind what was perhaps the most significant shift in how companies market themselves to attract, engage and retain both clients and employees.  

This generation was very different and also very tough to figure out. In fact, many companies are only starting to crack the code on how to market to and work with Millennials effectively. Unfortunately, the generation on Millennial’s heals, Gen Z, is proving to be an even more daunting challenge for marketers. 

Gen Z, which outnumbers Millennials, is starting to enter the workforce and soon will become an influencer in business buying decisions, which means now is the time to invest in getting to know them starting to develop and test branding and marketing strategies and campaigns that will earn their attention and capture their business.

The differences between the two generations are quite significant, and companies will be forced to radically shift their thinking and marketing approaches as a result of the Gen Z invasion.
This primer on Gen Z will help your company get ready to take on this new generation.

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The Gen Z Dossier

  • Time Stamp: Gen Z includes those born between 1995 and 2012
  • Footprint: Gen Z is 32% of the population (outnumbers Millennials)
  • Analog vs. Digital: Gen Z is the first generation to come of age in a fully digital world (An anecdote demonstrating the impact of this point is the story of the toddler who was spied swiping left on a magazine page. She held up the offending “device” to her father with the words, “Daddy, broken.”)
  • DNA: They’ve been described as “old souls in young bodies” by FutureCast President Jeff Fromm who explains that while Gen Zers are “digital, social, and mobile to the core, their values are more strongly aligned with baby boomers than those of the generation that came directly before them (Millennials).” This dichotomy stems from this generation of digital natives watching their parents go through the 2008 recession, making them more pragmatic, frugal and cautious. It’s much more difficult to earn their trust.
  • Inner Workings: Compassionate, Skeptical, Pragmatic, Inclusive, Purpose Driven, Private
  • Values: Transparency, Experience, Authenticity
  • Super Power: Multitasking
  • Mode: Mobile
  • Kryptonite: Talking on the phone
  • Antidote: Text and in-app messaging
  • Seeking: Personal validation

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Gen Z Marketing Mandates

With Gen Z entering the workforce, future-forward marketing approaches move out of the “things to think about … later” category and into “must act on … now.”  

Here’s what you need to know to reach, connect with and convert your new customer base – internal and external – called Gen Z.

  • Relevancy Rules. Gen Zers are not only adept at finding the information they need but also instantly discerning whether or not something is relevant to them. Immediate relevancy will be essential for making certain your company lands on their radar.
  • Purpose Attracts. The purpose-driven nature of Gen Z means they want to do business with – and work for – companies, people, and brands that seek to create a meaningful impact on the world around them
  • Authenticity Builds Trust. Trust is key for Gen Z, and authenticity is the path to building trust with this generation.
  • Creative Counts More than Ever. Capturing Gen Z’s attention calls for raising your game when it comes to creative execution and for developing unique marketing communications that engage.
  • Automation Solves Complexity. Tactics such as providing self-directed online options for initial information intake; automating the new client onboarding process; and adding chatbots, messaging and context-specific online forms for customer engagement and support align perfectly with how Gen Z likes to connect, engage and conduct business.

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Footnotes for Thriving with Gen Z

  • Content Needs to “Edutain”
  • Social Has to Evolve
  • Social Listening Is Ground Zero
  • Diversity Must Be Front and Center

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Substance151 helps companies develop and execute brands and marketing campaigns that are relevant to today’s audiences and build connection, trust and loyalty. Contact us and let’s discuss how we can help you build your brand in way that will attract the generations that are now in the limelight and the ones that are yet to come.