Speaking To Generation Z Online
Having to write a post about a generation is a tough ask, especially if it’s not yours. This post covers generation z (Gen-Z), the youngest and most recent generation. I thought to myself, where do I start? I mean, as a millennial I am sure I can relate to this generation. How different are we? We couldn’t be that different, right? Coming from a mid-size family with two siblings, I realised that I had first-hand experience living with someone who falls into this category, someone who has no experience with life pre-mobile and the struggles of dial-up internet. I asked myself a few questions about these always-on, always-connected, self-taught know-it-alls shaped by technology and social media. Who is Gen-Z? Gen-Z is the 7th generation, arriving after the most recent Gen-X and Gen-Y (Millennials). They are born in the mid 90s (1995/6) and after and are also known as, iGen, Post-millennials, and Centennials. The first generation that has never known life without high-quality internet access, social media and mobile technology. According to GenHQ “This emerging generation brings a new worldview and different expectations as customers, employees, and citizens.” – GenHQ They live a fast paced, on the go lifestyle contributing to a huge digital footprint and are extremely adept with the latest forms of technology. Their primary form of communication is their mobile devices, and they are predominantly cross-device consumers. Ok, so what are cross device consumers? They are those who consume content through numerous devices and at any given time. An interesting statastic on this generation is that on average, Gen-Z uses five devices at any given time: mobile, TV, laptop, desktop and tablet. Even though they use so many devices, their primary device is their mobile phone and the main form of communication is instant messaging services such as Whatsapp and Facebook messenger. Where do they live and what platforms they frequent? Due to their fast paced, on the go lifestyle, Gen-Z frequent and are targeted through social media platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter as well as messaging apps. Brand managers and marketers are taking advantage of the opportunities afforded by these platforms, through well-timed messaging to custom audiences. These messages are delivered through targeted text, visual (images) and video content as well as online gaming environments and mobile applications. They choose to “live” in these environments because it’s an instant, cost effective form of communication that links them to their friends, family and like-minded individuals and communities. Buying Power and what they want to hear Due to the amount of content consumed, Gen-Z is immune and not influenced by the same marketing techniques that previously worked on other generations. To market to this demographic, a personal marketing strategy is needed where the main focus is content - what the content is about and how it can benefit them will hold their attention and how they relate to marketing efforts. Basically, they want to be exposed to content that gives them what they’re looking for and what they want at that moment in time. A key difference between previous generations and Gen-Z is that they feel the need to be part of the decision-making process, to be part of a collaboration instead of being told what product they need and how this product will make them feel. Due to the shift in thinking, brands and marketers have to work extra hard on tailoring messages to capture their attention. Research shows that brands have eight seconds within which to capture their attention or lose them. Due to their content consumption habits, Gen-Z is extremely critical on user experience especially within the mobile environment – brands are judged by how clean, up to date, engaging and responsive the mobile experience is. Cashing in on Their Brand This generation is driven by their personal brands, individuality, uniqueness and impact. This means that there is a desire for self-growth and societal impact. They are keen followers of content producers and influencers they feel a connection to. This gives them an opportunity to aspire to be influencers themselves and to garner a following of their own. That said it would be a miss for a brand to ignore this generation who amasses a huge chunk of the market, especially in the digital environment.