Generation Z, also known as Net Gen and iGen, is made up of the 65 million people (in the United States alone) who were born after 1998. Contrary to popular opinion, this generation of students and young professionals has different points of view, behaviors, and priorities than their Millennial counterparts.
While you may have some questions and concerns about marketing to Gen Z, here's something you can't afford to forget: Their spending power is on the rise, and as they assume more power in the professional landscape, their ability to make an impact of brands' bottom lines will only grow.
So, regardless of your thoughts on Gen Z to this point, nothing changes the fact that marketers need to be paying close attention. If you ignore this large group of consumers, you could be selling yourself short.
Here are a few characteristics of Generation Z that should be top of mind to all marketers:
1. They're maturing (as consumers and professionals).
Members of Gen Z were born between 1996 and 2010, meaning that no new people will be joining this generation in the years to come. That ship has sailed.
Even so, the growth amongst this generation is still astonishing, with some studies noting that Gen Z will account for approximately 40 percent of all consumers in the United States. That's a huge number that can't be ignored. It means that almost half of all consumers will be part of this generation.
2. They love video content.
It seems that everyone in today's world is using social media. From grade school kids to senior citizens, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram -- among a variety of other platforms -- are always at the forefront. This is why marketers are spending a lot of time and money on their social media strategy.
While all of these platforms are popular among Gen Zers, its YouTube that's experiencing the biggest boost. Members of this generation practically came of age cutting cords; in many ways, tuning into content on YouTube and social platforms is more natural than watching traditional cable.
Social media as a whole is one of the best places to reach Gen Zers, but a focus on video sharing platforms, such as YouTube, should be top priority.
3. They expect fast delivery.
Gen Z-ers are always on the go. They are here one second, there the next, and somewhere else before you can blink your eyes again.
Thanks to technology, there are more options today than ever before. This holds true with everything from television shows to fashion trends.
If you want to succeed in connecting with Gen Z, it's a must that you focus on speed at all times. You only have so much time to connect with this audience, so you better be fast.
Sticking with the YouTube example, have you ever noticed that you are forced to watch ads for a minimum of five seconds before you can move onto the video itself?
This means one thing: You have five seconds to make a good impression on viewers. If you don't grab the attention of Gen Z-ers during this time, forget about it. They've already moved on.
4. They're entrepreneurial.
The best way to form a solid connection with any audience is to share the same mindset. If Millennials were known (accurately or not) for expecting success right off the bat, Gen Z-ers will be known for working for their success. Many are entering the working world with a wealth of experience, as well as passion projects and side hustles.
This generation wants room to pursue their own ideas and solutions to the problems they see plaguing the world. They don't expect hand-holdings and they (likely) won't wait for someone to give them permission to voice their opinions and spearhead an idea.
It's been clear for the past few years that Gen Z is more entrepreneurial than many other generations. So, if you want to connect with this market, you need to think and act like an entrepreneur. The "same old, same old" approach to marketing will fall on deaf ears.
The earliest members of Gen Z are just now reaching the age of 21. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the youngest are still in elementary school.
It's imperative to keep a beat on this generation, as their wants and needs will change over time. For example, with the oldest members graduating college, wedding companies are beginning to realize that there is a big opportunity staring them in the face, as many Gen Z-ers will be looking to plan the perfect wedding in the years to follow.
You can run, but you can't hide. Gen Z is the next frontier for marketers.