Marketing Mysteries Uncovered for Generation Z

Move over millennials, Generation Z has taken flight and, by 2020, will make up half the population with 40% of the purchasing power. Also known as “Post-Millennials,”Generation Z (born mid 1990's to current 2000's), Gen Z shares similar thoughts with Millennials about value, personalization, and authenticity, though the two generations have key differences.

At the risk of falling behind, marketers must learn everything that is important about the powerful consumer that is Generation Z.

Who is Generation Z?

Generation Z is made up of true digital natives who have never lived a life without internet access. Growing up with instant and endless knowledge at the touch of the button has made these consumers more focused about their wants - they expect value, authenticity, personalized messaging, and inclusion in a brand’s identity.

Generation Z and Value

It takes Gen Zers 8 seconds to decide whether content is worth their time. If a marketer cannot communicate the value of their product quickly and effectively, then the consumer will move on (or scroll) to a worthy competitor. Generation Z cares less about brand loyalty and more about how a product can positively benefit them.

Generation Z and Authenticity

Brands gain consumer trust through authenticity. Generation Z consumers appreciate brands who market in accordance with their brand values and personality.

Generation Z grew up watching YouTube influencers. Video content is easily and frequently consumed - Gen Zers watch two to four hours of YouTube videos every day. Gen Z trusts these influencers because their lifestyles are relatable unlike celebrity lifestyles. In fact, Forbes stated that 63% of Generation Z prefer to see real people in advertisements as opposed to famous people.

Generation Z and Activism

March for Our Lives is a movement against gun violence run by Generation Z. They see the change they want for the world and make it happen.

Generation Z is the most diverse and inclusive generation. Raised in a time of terrorism and the 24-hour news cycle, Gen Z wants to make a difference in the world by participating in social activism. Compared to 39% of Millennials, 60% of Generation Z wants to positively impact the future of the world. They want the brands to do the same.

Gen Zers grew up being able to research/disprove accounts quickly, and therefore recognize when a company is pandering or attempting to gain social relevance and praise with campaigns unrelated to their business.

Generation Z and Personalized Messaging

On e-commerce sites, consumers want tailored experiences with brands. This is a prime reason why Amazon continues to be successful. Amazon uses data to guide the buyer’s journey and make recommendations based on previous purchases.

Though Gen Zers do not want to be blatantly targeted in ads, research from MNI Targeted Media and Google shows that Generation Z is more comfortable with personalized targeting and tailored experiences: 

  • 44% of Generation Z expect ads to be relevant

  • 47% appreciate relevant ads

  • 26% of teenage shoppers shared that, based on previous shopping habits, they expected a more personalized experience from retailers

Generation Z and Social Media

Generation Z has grown up with the internet and spent most of their young adult life with smart phones. Social media is just an extension of their day, merely a part of their existence.

Most of Generation Z received smart phones in their teenage years so it is safe to say that social media is integrated into Generation Z’s lifestyle. They communicate and socialize with one another through different platforms which is no different from the way they interact with brands.

Gen Z is also more likely to give feedback or reviews to brands online. Generation Z’s involvement with brands is so high that 44% showed an interest in contributing ideas to favorite brands. Marketers can benefit by centering campaigns around user generated content.

Generation Z and Customer Experience

The customer experience online (mobile) and offline (in-store)  is the most important factor in reaching Generation Z. Research by Mattersight showed that, if a customer experience is positive, 89% of Generation Z members will promote the brand.

The UX team must create a mobile-friendly site that simplifies the customer journey. Generation Z prioritizes speed and convenience online. The UX team must create a mobile-friendly site that simplifies the customer journey. To make a company site more user-friendly, break up paragraphs and use lists and bullet points. Google’s mobile speed test will help improve site speed and Google mobile friendly test will check if the site’s search and font is optimized for mobile.  

Retail Tech News suggested to “add in enhanced interactivity on product pages, nurture and display user-generated content such as reviews and product images, and in-depth ways to explore products (through video, galleries, 360 views and more)” on mobile for optimal mobile engagement with Generation Z.  

The brand needs to be present everywhere online, not just the website. Since Generation Z uses up to five devices at a time and checks social media about 100 times a day, the marketer needs to integrate the brand into the consumer’s everyday life.

In an Adweek article, Josh Perlstein, the CEO of agency partner Response Media, expresses that marketers must understand that each platform is used for a different purpose.

Gen Z discovers brands on Instagram, new products on Facebook, and product recommendations through YouTube. Knowing where to meet and interact with consumers on social could benefit a brand’s exposure and marketing efforts:

  • 85% of Generation Z finds out about new products through social media (Marketing Charts)

  • 59% of Generation Z is likely to connect with brands on social media channels (Nielsen)

  • 51% of Generation Z uses Snapchat 11 times a day and they are likely to Snapchat their buying journey (SCG Advertising)

Natgeo has a snapchat to engage with followers.
ESPN has a snapchat to update and engage followers.

Brands are leveraging Snapchat as quick, bite-size content for consumers to engage with and follow. 

Whether online or offline, if a brand wants to drive loyalty, a study conducted by Ernst & Young showed that Generation Z appreciates when brands offer free shipping and delivery, special sales and discounts, and a flexible return policy.

When surveyed by n-gen People Performance Inc, Generation Z answered that enjoying life, finding a good job, and becoming a better person were their top priorities. If brands can push their consumers to be better and offer products that boost the consumer’s overall well being, then Gen Z will pay attention. Gen Zers just want to experience a personalized and unique customer journey with an honest and invested brand - can you give them that?

Born mid 1990's to current 2000's, Generation Z are digital natives who have never lived a life without internet. By 2020, they'll have 40% of the purchasing power. Here are a few key points to know about them:    Gen Zers take 8 seconds to decide whether content is worth their time and if it benefits them.    60% want to positively impact the future of the world and participate in social activism.    Appreciates free shipping and delivery, special discounts, and a flexible return policy.    They trust influencers because their lives are relatable. 63% of Gen Z prefer to see real people in ads.    They are likely to give feedback or reviews online. 44% showed interest in contributing ideas to brands.    Uses up to five devices at a time and checks social media about 100 times a day.    If experience is positive, 89% will promote the brand. Gen Z prioritizes speed and convenience.