Today’s teenagers are tomorrow’s trendsetters as has been a saying for some time now (maybe this is why the world has always been in a mess!)

This is what entrepreneurs, sellers, advertisers and other businesses should know if they want to connect with Generation Z. A lot of research has been done on the attributes of specific “personas” and age groups to more readily empower a business to market services and products that address their needs.

One interesting categorisation of people is by age. The youngest group to emerge as important is what’s called Gen Z or Generation Z, more or less defined as those born between 1995 and 2012. What this means is that Gen Z has become a significant part of the population to consider when creating and marketing products and services. With that in mind, this article will help you create valuable customer relationships and prepare your business for the future.

Generation Z Business Affinity
Create A Business Affinity With Generation Z

Here’s what you need to know if you want to make any meaningful connection with the next most important generation of people in the marketplace Generation Z.

Gen Z is the first generation that is considered to be true digital natives. They are profiled as having cautious optimism, wanting to be connected, seeking more of a community and wanting to create and control things themselves. Earlier generations, including millennials, watched TV an ever-increasing number of hours, often multitasking while they did, like ironing the clothes or eating their dinner. Gen Z has replaced much of TV watching with device “screen time”, a device in this instance is usually an internet-enabled mobile phone, just for your future reference.

table 1 Generation Z persona prfile
Different Generations Explanation Table

Gen Z has now become a significant sector of the population to consider when creating and marketing products.

table2 persona Generation Z profiling 2
Research Shows The Differences with Generations

Generation Z Value Individual Expression

Never has a truer phrase been spoken as ‘be yourself’ as with Generation Z. The act of buying products or services isn’t necessarily about fitting in with any trends or ‘hey what’s the latest fashion’. It’s about expressing personal identity. “Generation Z is not only eager for more personalised products, but also willing to pay a premium for products that highlight their individuality,”
Previous generations to Gen Z respond well to email marketing while the Gen Z needs are more ideally reached through social media.

With Social Media, connect with the likes of the incredibly popular emerging Tick Tock, pretty much everyone including Gen Z uses YouTube, Snapchat for some even here in Ireland, creative types through Pinterest, Twitch for the gamers and to a lesser degree Instagram.

Funny enough rarely through Facebook which appeals to an older generation, often grandparents trying to keep in touch, bless their little cotton socks and those unfortunate younger ones that are just not with it yet and probably never will be if they are using Facebook.

Protective Of Their Privacy

Less than one third of teens say they are comfortable sharing personal details other than contact information and purchase history, according to IBM’s survey Uniquely Gen Z.
Gen Z has little tolerance for barriers of entry for reaching a website and will just move on. So, when targeting new customers (especially Gen Z) remove barriers to entry like requiring registration before a user becomes a customer or pop up mania before you can see any worthwhile content. It is important to demonstrate value to them first.

Love To Buy Online

While older consumers still have some hesitations about sharing their credit card and personal or financial information online, Generation Z is not so disconcerted. 72% of Generation Z’ers have bought something online in the last month, with 6 out of 10 making purchases on their mobile devices.

Gen Z Attach Their Values To Their Money

Generation Z isn’t content to simply post about causes they believe in. They’re putting their money where their beliefs are and voting with their Euros.
“This generation often puts aside its differences and rallies around causes that will benefit the greater good,” research by Facebook explains. “Gen Z expects brands to do the same—to live their own values and to offer value. In fact, 68% of Gen Z’ers expect brands to contribute to society.”

Take special note of this one! 61% of Gen Z also says they’d pay more for products or services that are produced in an ethical and sustainable way. Among other things, Gen Z is most concerned about climate change.

Brands and marketers are slowly realising they can no longer get away with dull and uninspiring or anything that is void of environmental and ethical commitments. If brands want to appeal to Gen Z (and the greater good) they need to ensure their ethics align with this progressive generation.

If your business doesn’t know where to start, look at Affinity Wholesale Ethical Sourcing & Social Responsibility policies as well as our Green Energy Use and our Reuse And Recycle policy as good examples to incorporate into your business strategy. And believe me, this is not something that is static, it is fluid and dynamic and constantly evolving to enable improvements all the time in Affinity Wholesale’s ethics policy.

Diversity And Equality Reign Supreme

Due to the increasing level of mobilisation made possible by technology, Gen Z does not distinguish between friends they have “in real life” and friends they have on the internet.

“Generation Z’ers value online communities because they allow people of different economic circumstances to connect and mobilise around causes and interests,” research from McKinsey (McKinsey Research For Business) finds.

“66% of surveyed Generation Z’ers believe that communities are created by causes and interests, not by economic backgrounds or educational levels.”

This number is way bigger than the ones reported by baby boomers, Gen X’ers, and even millennials.

When it comes to gender equality, 77% of Gen Z say they feel more positive towards a brand when it promotes equality on social media. 71% said they’d like to see more diversity in advertising. Seems like bone idle marketing and business practices have finally met their match in Generation Z.

Generation Z Are Smart. Like, Smartphone Smart

Gen Z grew up in an era where the internet is taken for granted as a part of everyday life with smartphones being viewed as essential… instead of a luxury. They don’t know a world without the internet, so they know how to use it better than previous generations. Before buying anything, Gen Z expects to assess and evaluate information, reviews, and do their own research.

McKinsey finds that “65% of Gen Z’ers said they particularly value knowing what is going on around them and being in control. They’re more comfortable absorbing knowledge online than in traditional institutions of learning.”

Marketers need to ensure that information about their company is transparent and readily available online. You’ll also want to make sure that information shines an honest, but positive light on your business.

On average they spend 40% of their free time on screens. What is even more eye-popping is that 91% go to bed with their devices. Advertisers have responded to these trends by gradually shifting more of their financial spend online. This age group greatly prefers the on-the-go convenience of their mobile devices over PCs and even laptops.

Whether accessing social networks, chatting, watching videos, or looking at maps, Gen Z is most likely doing it on their mobile devices.

YouTube is also the platform of preference when it comes to shopping recommendations, ranking first among Generation Z with 24%, followed by Instagram at 17% and Facebook at 16%.
Meanwhile, in those old-fashioned places constructed out of real brick-and-mortar, shops I believe they are going by the name of, teens are more likely to turn to Snapchat to document their shopping experiences.

Understanding how teens use social media throughout their shopping process is key to engaging them on the right platforms with the right message that you are trying to convey.

Personalise And Individualise For The Free-Spirited

With current research consumers today, in general, and notably Gen Z, are demanding that brands do more to personalise products to their needs and interests.

Ads certainly can be a way to get traffic quickly (as well as easily lose control of your budget) but you do also have to keep up with those ads. It’s not something that you can stop doing because if you do, your traffic dies off because you haven’t built that community around the product. You run the risk of being addicted to paid advertising.

If you want to market your ideas and products to Gen Z then:

  1. Business startups need to diversify their marketing spend away from Facebook, start to prepare now!
  2. If Generation Z’ers are being targeted, YouTube, Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest, TickTock and Twitch are likely better places to market your business services.
  3. When targeting new customers (especially Gen Z) remove any barriers to entry like requiring registration before a user becomes a customer or those darn website pop-ups as soon as anyone lands on your website. It is important to demonstrate the value and merit of what you have to offer to them first.
  4. Build useful apps if you must for iPhones and Android phones but what is singularly the most important aspect is making sure that smartphones work well on your site without requiring an app, as most Gen Z’ers will use their phones for access. When they do, the mobile web version needs to be tip-top spot on so that they don’t need to download anything else like an app before discovering the value you offer.
  5. Involve customers as much as you can in the design, choice and creation of your products as this will help in a better personalisation co-creation feel-good cause and increase overall satisfaction. One idea is to create competitions that feature design elements and images that then become part of your website.

Now that you know these key statistics and facts about Generation Z, you’re equipped to not only reach them with your marketing but to make a lasting impact.

Remember: you are not just looking to create a valuable business relationship with Generation Z at this point in their lives, but also as they grow and age. This article is far from over, you have not seen the last of Generation Z.

Interesting references:

patagonia.com/environmentalism

McKinsey Research For Business

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