09 Oct Tips on How Marketers Can Connect with Gen Z
Members of Gen Z are true digital natives: since early youth, they have been exposed to the internet, social networks, and mobile systems. They are always connected and constantly evaluate large amounts of information and influences.
Members of Gen Z (loosely, people born from 1995 to 2010) do not define themselves strictly in one way, but rather believe that individuals can experiment with different ways of being themselves and shape their identities over time. Their search for the truth and authenticity generates greater tolerance and openness to understanding different kinds of people. Though 76% belong to a religion, Gen Zers are more liberal and support social issues that are not necessarily aligned with the beliefs of their declared religions.
Gen Zers are more inclusive than previous generations. They are constantly moving between their online and real-life communities, while pragmatically maximizing the advantages of each platform:
- 66% believe that communities are created by causes and interests, not by economic backgrounds or educational levels
- 52% think it is natural for every individual to belong to different groups
Today’s young people differ from yesterday’s:
This is why they value dialogue and open communication and view it as the tool to bring about change. As Gen Zers’ virtual platforms and their real world are blended, it is crucial for companies to practice omnichannel marketing and ensure that the user experience translates from online to offline seamlessly.
- Believe in dialogue
- Place high value on individual identity
- Reject stereotypes
- Seek the truth, value authenticity
- Highly connected and informed
- Pragmatic, realistic, and analytical about decision making
- Less idealistic than millennials (as born and raised under global economic stress)
- Strongly aware of the need to save for the future
- View job stability as more important than a high salary
- Prefer regular employment rather than freelance or part-time work
- Don’t boast about it, but talk about what you stand for
- Raise awareness
- Use your power and platform to engage people for a good cause or more responsible consumer behaviour
- 63% see recommendations from friends as the most trusted source for learning about products and brands
- Gen Zers tends to forgive brands’ mistakes if they are corrected! (simpler for smaller businesses)
- They realize that many marketing agents/influencers are subsidized by the brands they endorse. Therefore, Gen Z prefers personas with a manageable follower community (micro-influencers).
Gen Zers have a different approach to consumption:
1. Consumption as access rather than possession.
They view consumption as having access to products or services, not necessarily owning them (flourishing ‘gig economy’ Uber, Car2go, Airbnb, video streaming).Willing to pay a premium for products that highlight their individuality.
2. Consumption as an expression of individual identity.
Willing to pay a premium for products that highlight their individuality. Willing to pay more for personalized products. Appreciate brands that do not classify items as male or female.
3. Consumption as a matter of ethical concern.
Willing to pay more to purchase from brands that embrace causes close to their hearts. Believe brands should “take a stand” on issues relevant to the brand and its consumers. Prefer buying from “ethical” companies (avoid companies involved in “scandals”). Expect a company’s actions to match its ideals, and those ideals must infiltrate the entire stakeholder system.
Two-thirds (66%) of young consumers say their perception of a brand improves if that brand is associated with a social cause they support…but only 12% of the same consumers clearly associate a brand with the causes they support.
How can we bridge this gap?
Important for marketers:
Along with technological advancement, Gen Z shifts the consumer landscape and creates a ripple effect. Companies can face this shift as an opportunity or as a challenge. They must rethink how they can preserve their business goals while maintaining authenticity and practicing what they preach when addressing marketing issues and work ethics.