You’ve mastered millennial marketing, right? Good. Because there’s a new kid in town. Gen Z has arrived, and they are going to require all of your savvy andcreativity to reach and engage.
Gen Z has grown up with smartphones in their hands, but their online habits may make them harder to reach than preceding generations. For one thing, it turns out that Gen Z was listening when their parents told them about thedangers of sharing information online: this is a generation partial to “finsta”(fake Instagram accounts), ad blockers, and other ways of shielding their identities online.
Gen Z is also peripatetic when it comes to media: they spread their time more evenly across different forms of media and communication, sometimes consuming more than one at a time.
Marketers are already wringing their hands about how Gen Z is forcing them totear up the rule book they just created for millennial marketing. But the outreach strategies that are starting to emerge from Gen Z’s insistence on marketing that feels personal and authentic also seem fresh and honest.We’re excited about this.
Demographics Be Damned
Gen Z, which some demographers define as those born between 1995 and 2005, makes up 25% of the US population and already has $44B of purchasing power. With the oldest Gen Zers starting to enter the workforce, brands are starting to pay attention.
Gen Z presents a number of challenges for marketers: they prefer recommendations from micro-influencers to in-your-face ads, and they ignore brands that don’t fit their values. According to Mattel’s head of consumer insights, old-style traditional demographic segmentation doesn’t work to reach Gen Z either—instead, the marketing vanguard needs to use behavioral and psychographic targeting for better, if more expensive, results.
Unlike generations that grew up with relatively homogeneous media offerings, Gen Z flits from platform to platform. On social media, for instance, Gen Z engages with different platforms for different purposes: Instagram for aspirational showcasing, Twitter for news, Snap and messaging platforms for instantaneous sharing with IRL friends, and so on. Most of these engagements are short “micro-interactions” that may happen hundreds of times each day.
The implications for marketers? Messaging must be short, story-based, seamlessly embedded into feeds, and almost instantly engaging. Click to read more from Gen Z marketing expert Josh Perlstein.
Mind Your Manners
Gen Z is a mix of traditional attitudes such as working hard for success and more progressive attitudes such as an insistence on equality. This will force brands to be more authentic and transparent and to support causes Gen Z cares about.
It's Not About The Ad
Gen Z doesn’t stick to the rules: They buy clothes for a gender not their own. They all know someone gender-neutral. And they would all like to see beauty advertising for someone “just like me.” But it’s also clear that ads alone aren’t going to cut it.
So beauty brands are innovating. They are co-branding with influencers. They are upping their retail game. They are personalizing experiences and creating small-batch offerings. Beauty is about standing out, not blending in for Gen Z.
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