Generational Marketing: Gen Z

Generational Marketing is a series on working with and marketing to the five primary generations in the U.S. population: the Silent Generation, Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials and Generation Z.We haven't quite agreed on a name for this generation-Gen Z, Boomlets and, my personal favorite, iGen. For the sake of ease, I will use Gen Z throughout this blog post.

About the Generation

Born in the late 1990s or early 2000s, Gen Z is the post-Millennial generation. As with most other generations, cut-off dates fluctuate but the defining moment for this generation is 9/11/01. Their entire reality has been defined by living in a post-9/11 world.Another significant impact on Gen Z's lives was the invention of Facebook, Twitter and social media in general. This youngest generation is the most technologically savvy simply because they have had access to modern conveniences such as smartphones, cable and internet since birth. Gen Z spends large amounts of time on social networks including Snapchat, YouTube, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. On average, teens are spending nine hours a day using media.With all this technology, Gen Z lives in an intertwined reality. They see no difference between online and offline; it is all part of the same world for them. Additionally, technology has defined their worldview, creating a global perspective not shared by previous generations.

Working with the Generation

With only the oldest of this generation having entered the workforce, members of Gen Z quite frequently get lumped together with Millennials. This isn't necessarily wrong since the two generations share so many of the same traits.Based on a survey by Morar Consulting, both Gen Z and Millennials prefer to communicate in person when it comes to the workplace, followed closely by email. The qualities they value in a leader are very similar, too-communication, supportiveness and honesty rank the highest.This generation is ambitious and collaborative; they want to advance quickly through their career. Today's college students ranked opportunity for career growth as the most important aspect of their first job.Strikingly, Gen Z is more interested in entrepreneurship and creating their own businesses than any previous generation. As many as 72 percent want to run their own start-up.

Marketing to the Generation

Gen Z already represents more than $44 billion in spending power, which will continue to grow as they get older, graduate from school and enter the workforce. Marketing to Gen Z is a challenge. Messaging aimed at Gen Z needs to be real-time and immediate. This generation expects fast, reliable, bite-sized information.Additionally, they gravitate to visual and sharable messages. We can expect the number of videos, memes and gifs in the marketing space to continue to grow as this generation becomes more important in the marketing space.Gen Z values authenticity. They want brands to be transparent, honest, real and approachable. They will call you out on overly photoshopped models and, while they might pay attention to marketing messages, they might not necessarily develop brand loyalty.It is also important to know that, just like Millennials, Gen Z will turn to online reviews, bloggers and product experts to learn about products. What does this mean for marketers? Bloggers, online influencers, brand advocates and brand ambassadors are going to become more important in gaining the loyalty of Gen Z.Right now, Snapchat is hot for reaching this generation. Snapchat has made inroads with Millennials and Gen Z faster than any other social network. It's important to note that this won't always be the case and it will be important for marketers to watch the trends as to where Gen Z is spending their media time.

Stay tuned to our Generational Marketing Series-next up Millennials.

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