Ah, the illustrious millennials. Both a group that marketers seek out to target implicitly, for their social influence, and a group that are derided as the burden to mankind. Millennials this, millennials that, but, as a millennial will be likely to tell you, there's a newer, fresher class of consumers popping up to join them: Generation Z.
Encompassing those walking and talking after Y2K was a thing, Gen Z is an enigma wrapped in a riddle. Voted most likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis from constant phone use, to revere those who are famous for being famous, and to whom dial-up-connection is a joke old people make.
Making up 25% of the workforce - and thus outnumbering the Baby Boomers and Millennials - Gen Z are the gleaming diamonds in the crown of the future. But what can we learn about Gen Z and how can this be applied to marketing?
Perks and Benefits
Gen Z don’t want job perks: they want job benefits. The most important factors are health insurance (70%), a competitive salary (63%), and a boss they respect (61%). Growing up through a recession, and in increasingly frustrating social times has instilled in Gen Z the importance of stability. Winning a trip to Hawaii is less important than, say, getting a free breakfast, or winning a trip to the dentist.
The Me Generation
They don't call it the iPhone because it's a group activity, Gen Z are firm believers in stewarding their own destinies. 74% believe a job should be more than just the money and 76% believe they are the owners of their career development. 49% want to be their own boss, and 56% are willing to slog at it with overtime and personal sacrifice to make it. Companies can focus strongly on personal development, how the individual can benefit.
An impressive 81% of Gen Z don't believe in a gender binary in advertising and platforms for discussion on issues are wildfire for debate about un-gendering small cars that race around a track and a miniature baking oven (let's call them Warm Tyres and a Simple Roast Cooker to save on copyright). This social liberty can be utilized by brands showing that they get it, they understand that times are a changing and that the gender binary is only good for....body wash? wine? brunch?
With 81% standing behind the view that profit factory companies should publicly make a stance on corporate citizenship, and 61% being actively concerned about the way the world is heading. Companies should vehemently pick a hill and stand on it and show that they do care and the days of exploitation are out with the hand loom.
So wait, why should we be pandering to these people? They're just kids. They should just get on with it and settle for what they get, right? Wrong.
Gen Z are the generation of word of mouth. There are an infinite combination of ways in which the word can spread from mouth to mouth. 84% don't trust advertising and 44% are more likely to trust bloggers and vloggers. Gen Z are a whopping 247% more likely to be influenced by blogs of social networking. 89% favour word of mouth recommendations over brand promises. You see where this is going? Brands and companies should focus on how they can create a positive buzz about themselves to be shared, liked, and have the word spread organically. Whether marketers like it or not, Gen Z are the future of consuming and the most important marketing mix tool is understanding your target demographic.
What do you think? Are Gen Z asking too much, or are the changing values just reflective of the zeitgeist?
See what I can do to help you connect with the bleary-eyed millennials and square-eyed Gen Z.