Digital strategies are many and diverse, but fundamentals remain fundamentals. Few fundamentals are most perennially relevant than audience. Who is the audience, what appeals to them, what motivates them?
These are questions that market researchers have been posing about Gen Z, those individuals born after 1996 and now some 25-30 percent of the U.S. (and international) population. In America, by 2020, Gen Z is expected to be 40 percent of consumers.
Significant surveys have been done, such as A Generation without Borders, by OC&C Consultants, which analyzes responses of some 15,500 respondents in nine countries. Other surveys confirm their chief findings.
For digital marketing, a prime consideration is how Gen Z connects to the internet. There is a one-word answer, "mobile." Indeed, an alternate moniker for Gen Z is "iGen." It is called the first generation overwhelmingly connecting on mobile devices.
Not only that, they grew up "online" and have been described as "born cyber" and "born in the [cyber] cloud."
They know and expect a sophisticated online experience. That means websites adapted to respond to different types of user devices by rapidly and fully adjusting photo size, scrolling, text size, video. The right software can do that. It isn't rocket science, but you need it.
Some things are well known about sites that attract Gen Z (apart from strictly content). They want text brief and to the point. They want high-impact visuals. They were born and bred on videos--action. As native citizens of the web, they have developed immunity to hype, regimentation, and fluff.
The survey and analysis mentioned above were detailed, but a few things stand out (and tend to be confirmed elsewhere):
· Gen Zers are heavily influenced by celebrities and social media peers. They seem to want to hear directly from someone, a "tip-off," not the sales pitch. "Peer-to-peer, social selling models are more powerful for this digital generation and are an increasingly important component of a brand's business model."
· A top finding, rather specific, was that Gen Z demands that clothing be stylish and unique. They are allergic to standardization and yearn to feel individual, unique. "Technology should allow the consumer maximum product personalization and customization, to facilitate engagement with major brands while still expressing individuality."
· They have a take on "social justice" tied up with their view of corporations, corporate ethics, and products. More than previous generations, they reportedly have taken seriously the endless rhetoric about corporate citizenship. "Businesses should take note of their increased consciousness and ethical standards, both when supplying products and services…"
There is much more, and these are by way of illustration, but they are points made repeatedly about Gen Z and exerting a strong influence on digital marketing.
Of course, few companies and brands can afford to target a single generation, so decisions remain: Where to direct marketing efforts specifically at Gen Z? For example, they certainly do not dominate Facebook but are heavily into Instagram. And a relatively very small percentage of Gen Z discovers brands while out shopping. It is all about digital and social media.
At Real-Time Outsource, we are driven to understand and optimize how social networking must continue to transform advertising, marketing, customer relations, and much more. It is a focus relevant for all segments of customers, but almost a definition of Gen Z's style of engagement with brands.
Ask us how we can increase your brand's engagement, likability, and fan base.