Marketing evolves and adapts to its consumers, and it is what’s happening with the so-called Gen Z.
Strategies and tactics for sales don’t have to adapt only to target, clusters and buyer personas, but also to generations. Every one of them lives and sees the world differently compared to the previous ones, and marketing has to adapt. Until now, the change hasn’t been so profound.
However, Gen Z is an exception – the differences between this generation and the other ones are way more in-depth and more attractive.
There are new kids on the block, kids that will reshape the world with their unique vision and way of living. It is something unseen until now that we still don’t know which changes will bring. We are sure of one thing – marketing is going to change its perception a lot.
Here is why we are going to explain the characteristics of Gen Z, a unique generation. Also, we will give you some tips to adapt your marketing strategy to their way of living, in a different, yet ethical and new way.
Why is Gen Z important for marketing
Short answer: Gen Z is crucial for marketing because its members are between the ages of 0 and 24, which means they are going to be the consumers of tomorrow.
However, the complete answer is more than that.
We are going to find out who the members of Generation Z are, what makes them so unique and what marketers can do to grasp their attention.
Gen Z characteristics: what makes them unique?
Members of Gen Z are peculiar, but why? Why is there so much attention to them, besides the role as future consumers?
Let’s begin by identifying them. According to the Pew Research Center, we can locate Generation Z as all the kids born after 1996. The previous generation, the Millennials, counts people born between 1981 and 1996.
Generation Z born are now 32% of the global population. They are less interested in products per se. Their span attention is shorter than ever – only eight seconds! – and they grew up in an already digital world.
They are more similar to Millennials than everyone else. Yet, some differences between the two also cause any feud, mostly because of habits and different perspectives on life.
Gen-Z is usually progressive, more ethnically diverse than every other generation before; they care about the environment, social protests and equality. They are socially engaged, and they are the best-educated generation until now. They were born with the election of Obama, they knew at least two economic crises, and have to deal with climate change – and they are very good at it.
Digital is their forte. They are the first generation born with the Internet and all the tech we have now – from fast connection to iPad, social media and more.
Moreover, their marketing approach is different from previous generations.
It is not so easy to fool a Gen Z kid. On the other hand, it is more difficult to gain their trust. It means that brands need to be transparent to have a chance to make the young generation listen to them. It is no more the time of fake promises and vague benefits – Gen Z wants facts – and well-verified ones. They also are the ones that use the Internet in the most natural way, which means they can easily disprove any fake news – or worse, defective product.
Awareness is one of the most important keywords of this generation. It happens at every level. They believe in equality and take into account the brands’ commitment – that also is one of the 2021 marketing trends -. They are cautious about the brands they choose. They are more into sustainable, planet-friendly products and brands if they have a manifesto that shows their commitment to the planet and the environment, all the better!
However, remember they also have a short span of attention – eight seconds, as we said before -, which means that brands need to engage them at first sight.
Sharing – and reviewing – is caring
Gen Z people rely a lot on reviews. Not only do they read them, but they also write to them. They believe in other people’s impressions and reactions, and they are likely to write a positive comment if they loved something.
It is a growing community of people that discuss and share their opinions on several platforms. A golden opportunity for marketers to see rewarded their best products by loyal customers!
How can marketers use machine learning to catch Gen Zers?
All of these kinds of communication have something in common – they don’t last. Almost everything is now volatile and fast, and it ends in the time of an Instagram story.
It means that marketers have to focus on sales data to build up analysis that, otherwise, would be impossible or very difficult to obtain.
Marketers can use machine learning to understand Gen Z’s customer habits. Here you can find some reasons why marketers should consider it for their analysis, especially for Gen Z!
Sentiment analysis and prediction
Can you predict the emotions of your customers? The answer is yes, but only if you have machine learning to help you.
First, thanks to Artificial Intelligence, brands can start a sentiment analysis based on the target to see what people say about their products and if Gen Z appreciates them.
Next, brands can use machine learning to develop predictive models based on recursive behaviours and other algorithms more specifically focused on language.
So, brands can gain insights about customers’ emotions, satisfaction or complaints.
If personalization is the key for many customers, for Gen Z, this feature is even more essential.
Machine learning can help to optimize the marketing mix by choosing which offers to show, supported by contextual content and previously collected information. The algorithms predict a combination that could lead to a new sale, cross-sell or recommendations.
If you feel puzzled, think about Netflix: the suggestions it gives you after finishing a tv series are maybe random? Not! The platform uses the watching history of the spectator and confronts it with similar ones.
Chatbots are only one of the many ways in which machine learning can help in the customer journey, and come particularly handy in case of Gen Z.
They answer the questions fast, real-time and tailoring them, thanks to automation. Moreover, machine learning helps to implement other features that will help marketers collect data sets from conversations about customers’ preferences and intent.
Marketing and Gen Z: how to create the perfect ad
That said, which is the most effective way to market Gen Z? How can marketers be sure to attract this new, unique generation that seems more minimalistic than the others? Is it impossible? Is it the end of marketing as we know it?
No, marketers only have to remember Gen Z characteristics – and mix this knowledge with machine learning – to create a remarkable job. Shall we see a couple of them together?
Experiences over products
If you are planning to use classic marketing strategies to sell products to a Gen Z member, it will not work.
This generation grew up with Internet and marketing campaigns. Hence, they are pretty good to ignore them and understand their goal.
The best thing you can do is engage them with genuine experience.
They don’t want to listen to the peculiarities of your product, but they want to know how much it will impact on their lives and which benefits and experience will bring.
Most importantly, they recognize themselves in specific values and imaginary, and it is what they want.
New ways of communicating: the faster, the better
Gen Z communicates in a slightly different way in comparison to other people, and the focus lies in how fast messages are.
Marketers need to adapt not only to the media they use – Tiktok, Instagram stories and more-, but also to their language. There is no time for a long copy or too many details: the central message goes in the first lines, and it has to be engaging and meaningful.
Moreover, another way to communicate Gen Z prefers is video content. According to a Google survey, YouTube is the first platform Gen Z chooses when looking for entertainment.
Engaging is key
If engagement is crucial in any marketing strategy, it becomes even more decisive when it comes to Gen Z.
The power of reviews and an excellent brand-customer relationship is what will make you keep your Gen Z clients. They read tons of reviews before purchase, and they want brands to answer and to give them feedback.
However, they have not to be copy-and-paste, one-size-fits-all answers, but tailored and coherent with the customer and the question.
The more brands will be able to respond to this request of engagement, the more they will conquer young people’s love.
Privacy is a serious issue
The more your brand will guarantee 24-year-old privacy, the more he or she will likely come back to you.
Gen Z people take care of their privacy online, way more than the previous generations – especially the elder ones.
A survey by IBM proved how uncomfortable they are with sharing their data online. However, they feel more secure if they trust the brand they are facing. It means that the more you will gain people’s trust, the more they will give you access to their data – but act careful, and treat these sets with respect unless you aim to lose their loyalty.
Deep meaning is the way to loyalty
We already said that sharing values and purposes are a safe way to engage Gen Z, but why? This generation fights for their – and other people’s – values, is open-minded and engaged. It needs a strong reason to follow a brand, which lies in its core values.
Share your vision and brand manifesto, participate in activities that show your true colours and live your mission as a company!
Conclusions: Marketing Gen Z worths the effort
Gen Z is going to become one of the most peculiar generations of all time, and it is going to change the way we think about marketing and sales.
Change is inevitable, but what brands can do is start to see the world how these boys and girls see it, more ethically and inclusively.
If marketers are going to embrace the change, they will probably be grateful about it.
Here is the trick: listen to the customers and use new technologies. Artificial Intelligence is growing to be the brand’s best friends in trying to understand and engage Gen Z.