Larger, more diverse and empowered than any other generation, Gen Z is challenging marketers’ methods and strategies from past decades. With new generations come changes, trends and opportunities, but with the most diverse, pragmatic, entrepreneurial consumer group yet, figuring them out may just be the most complex task marketers have encountered. Not to mention, Gen Z arrived at the most interesting time in history.
Gen Z is on track to become the largest generation, representing around 40% of consumers and approximately $44 billion in direct buying power. Setting high expectations for themselves and brands, figuring out their consumer behaviors, patterns and motivations will not be easy. Businesses that adapt to meet their expectations are those that will resonate with this consumer group during the challenging, fast-paced and opportunity-rich years to come.
The book “Marketing to Gen Z” by Jeff Fromm and Angie Read used 1996-2010 as the parameters for research in uncovering the separate views, ideas, need states and expectations of this consumer group. The authors find the most fitting term for this generation to be “Pivotals,” referring to these individuals pivoting away from common millennial behaviors and attitudes and veering toward a socially conscious and diverse era.
In essence, this 1996-2010 cohort has arrived and is here to change the world. Reaching Gen Z during this digital age has already been quite a demanding task, but it is presenting to be a brand’s time for discovery, trial and adventure.
Gen Z individuals are multitaskers, risk averse, adept learners, socially and technologically empowered, and driven by conservative views of success regarding money, education, and career advancement. They value personal success, desire active participation and concretion with brands, want to make a difference and are not afraid to be the ones that create change.
Young consumers are influencing spending and behaviors across all generations. Modern brands must not only keep pace with technological advancements in such a rapidly evolving market but also stay at least one step ahead of consumer needs and expectations.
Gen Z uses social media to amplify their social lives, educate themselves, make the world a better place and have fun. Going forward, social media should allow users to be even more fluid and to get the most valuable content the quickest without having to navigate so manually.
Ultimately, Gen Z consumers aren’t just buying what you do — they’re buying why you do it. Effective brands not only tell others what their brand purpose is but make a priority to show others your purpose and invite them into your community. Using visual-centric platforms to inform, engage and interact best with this consumer group is what will make you best suited in reaching this generation. Gaining Gen Z’s trust and providing real-life experiences will resonate with these consumers in a personal way that digital advertising cannot.
To this generation, a brand that stands out is one that actively studies the latest rules of social media and finds the appropriate balance of authenticity, frequency, humor and brand messaging. As marketers know, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to different generations when it comes to targeting consumer groups. Gen Z holds a plethora of new opportunities along with high influencing power, so you don’t want to overlook this large consumer group!