This is a guest post by Scott Mason.
With the arrival of a new generation of consumers, commonly referred to as Generation Z, into adulthood, the world of marketing is in the midst of a revolution. Generation Z, which now includes individuals as old as the age of 21, is a group that has never known a world without high-speed internet access, mobile phones and other technologies that were once thought of as cutting-edge.
The new generation also has very different values than previous generations, and those values are often reflected in the brands they choose to align themselves. Let’s take a look at some of the challenges and opportunities that come with meeting this new group of consumers.
Authenticity And Values
Generation Z members often see the alignment of a corporate brand with their values as indispensable. If a company is seen as a uncool or irrelevant in their world, these consumers simply won’t push their money toward it. They have access to large amounts information via the internet, and they are very motivated toward activism.
Authenticity is important, too. It’s not enough that a company markets itself as thoughtful and engaged. The engagement must be serious and real. This is why firms like Apple have shown to be willing to throw their brands into the fray in support of the values of Generation Z, such as supporting gay marriage. These enterprises are not only worried about losing customers; in many case, they’re worried about losing investors and even potential employees.
Along with a desire for authenticity, Generation Z members tend to respond better to brands that can be self-aware and speak with a human voice. Constantly involved in social media so that they can be engaged in conversations about themselves, they expect companies to behave in a similar fashion. Firms that engage in light-hearted social media wars with their competitors are frequently seen as more normal and with-it.
Strong statements and strong relationships matter. Boring and stately corporate brands will struggle more as Millennials overtake Generation X as the most coveted demographic in marketing. Retaining the interest of Generation Z is the key to keep continual growth of business. The future belongs to those organizations that can clearly state who they are and convey those feelings in an approachable and interactive manner.
It was all that long ago that a company that had marketing campaigns running on TV, on radio and in print felt like it was running a massive undertaking. In the 21st Century, many of these kinds of media are not even tuned into the lifeline of young consumers. Generation Z is engaged with social media platforms of all kinds, from watching videos on YouTube to checking news on Reddit.
Any dedicated marketing effort aimed toward Generation Z has to be presented on a platform of variety. Companies also have to be prepared to retain interest. Young consumers, more than older ones, expect announcements, and they want to engage with what they learn as soon as they learn about it.
A post on Instagram can’t simply be fired and forgotten, unlike the press releases of old. Where a company in the 1980s might’ve taken months to detect customer dissatisfaction, today it might see blowback within minutes.
The upside is that consumers who used to spread ideas by word-of-mouth can now put them on blast to hundreds, thousands or even millions of followers at little to no cost. With a little insight and creativity, a business can establish a strong, lasting and profitable relationship with members of Generation Z.
Author Bio: I’m Scott Mason and I am a SEO Specialist for Conklin Media. I analyze, review, and make changes to websites so that they are optimized for search engines.