• Randy Sklar

How To Ensure Your Business Will Survive When Gen Z Becomes Your Customer...

Have you started marketing to Generation Z yet? You should be. The oldest members of this generation — usually defined as people born during the mid- 1990s to early 2000s — are starting to enter the workforce. By 2020, around 40 percent of consumer buying power will come from Generation Z. Companies need to think about how to reach them — preferably without making the same mistakes they made when marketing to millennials.

Learn Where Your Audience Is At and Why

Generation Z grew up in an internet-focused world, but that doesn’t mean you can reach them through Facebook or email. Younger social media users gravitate to video-based platforms like YouTube or TikTok. On these apps, content feels more “real” because it is made by users for users. This preference shapes their buying habits. A survey from Business Insider found that only 49 percent of Gen Zers shop online once a month, a steep decline from the 74 percent of millennials who regularly make online purchases. Fifty-eight percent of the Gen Zers surveyed said they preferred brick-and-mortar shopping because they “wanted to see and feel the product.”

Don’t Be ‘Hip’

There have been countless embarrassing attempts to get “on the level” with millennials, from a pizza company misunderstanding a trending hashtag about domestic violence to a presidential campaign asking people to use emojis to describe how they feel about student loan debt. These disasters produced major backlash because they were inappropriate, condescending, and insincere. Stay true to your brand persona and think twice before you approve an ad that riffs on a popular meme or claims your product is a “big mood.”

Remember That ‘Gen Z’ Isn’t a Demographic

Many of the mistakes companies made when marketing to millennials came from trying to market to “Millennials” — in other words, they relied on stereotypes to plan campaigns. Don’t make the same mistake with the 61 million Gen Zers about to enter the workforce. As president and founder of Red Fan Communications, Kathleen Lucente, puts it, “It’s more about understanding a set of behaviors, communication preferences, spending habits, brand affinities, and loyalties. Using terms like ‘millennial’ or ‘Gen Z’ might be easy, but they shouldn’t be applied to marketing when there are myriad other ways to understand behavior.”

Marketers need to up their game when it comes to reaching this next generation — a generation who spent years watching companies clumsily attempt to connect with their millennial parents or siblings. Gen Zers can spot insincere or manipulative marketing a mile away.

Thanks for reading,

Randy Sklar, CEO

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