2019 is the year that there will be more Gen Zers than millennials, according to research published by Bloomberg. According to the article, "Gen Z will comprise 32 percent of the global population of 7.7 billion in 2019, nudging ahead of millennials, who will account for a 31.5 percent share, based on Bloomberg Analysis of United Nations data, and using 2000/2001 as the generational split."
These true digital natives will be turning 18 in 2019, which means they will be taking on bigger decisions related to attending college, voting, and other life issues. The oldest Gen Z consumer is around 23 years of age, some of whom could already be parents themselves.
This demographic has its own distinct perspectives and behaviors. This requires a specific marketing strategy for next year to address those perspectives and behaviors. And, although millennials and other generations are still important to your overall marketing strategy, this newest large pool of opportunity will take center stage in 2019 and beyond. Here are some insights on how to market to Gen Z in 2019:
Focus on Conversations, Not Mass Communication on Social Media Channels
In many ways, Gen Z is returning to the philosophy of generations that existed prior to social media and mobile devices in their need for authentic conversations versus millennials' focus on friend count and virtual relationships.
Gen Z is looking for personal connections through anything they do on social media even opting to use new social media options like Islands. This messaging app is directed at the college community for conversations about shared interests. It's important to be aware of these new platforms, understand how they work, and add them to your list of tactics to reach Gen Zers in your audience.
Sell Less, Help More
Your marketing efforts should not focus on the product or service you offer. Gen Z doesn't respond to selling no matter what channel you are using. Instead, they want a brand to help them. Or, they want to collaborate with a brand. Either way, it's a different approach to how you interact with them.
Focus on their problems and feelings, acknowledging and explaining how you understand them. You can create guides, tutorials, and tip-based articles that are directly related to the problems and concerns of this generation.
Deepen Your Mobile Marketing Efforts
Despite wanting to deepen the meaning of each online interaction, Gen Z is still attached to their mobile devices just as much as millennials. According to a 2017 study on Gen Z conducted by The Center for Generational Kinetics, nearly half of Gen Z already uses a money or payment app on their phone, as well as tools like social payments. Therefore, they expect to be able to work with any brand in a seamless manner.
That means you have to ensure that your mobile efforts respond to those expectations and provide ways to get an instantaneous page load, readable and visual mobile view, and secure payment option. Also, consider using push notifications to enhance the mobile experience for your Gen Z customer.
Don't Look or Act Old
Gen Z is full of savvy consumers who are up-to-date on everything thanks to their digital connection since birth. When they visit your website, this younger audience can instantly tell if your website was last updated a decade ago. And, if you show your age, Gen Z consumers will not select your brand. Instead, they will go with a brand that offers current content, valuable advice, and continually updated information directed at their interests.
Change Your Language
Although you can't be like the parent who tries to use all the same slang words their kids use in an attempt to connect, you can adapt the language you use in your marketing so that it resonates with Gen Z. That means using different language for products and services.
For example, Gen Z doesn't necessarily use a checking account anymore since they are only accustomed to cash or debit and credit cards. Instead, you'll need to focus on language for mobile payments. Likewise, you'll be using phrases like "on-demand orders" and "tap and pay."
And, if you want to know what type of relevant language to use, ask Gen Z or hire them to help you update your marketing content.
Be More Visual
It also helps to be more visual with your marketing. This is a way to acknowledge Gen Z's preference for the mobile channel while addressing language differences. Both images and video content can achieve this Gen Z marketing objective. There's so much to show in the eight seconds that Instagram and Snapchat offer in a visual story. Deliver information that is detailed and relevant to their problems through the video.
Use these social media mechanisms to share more information and educate your Gen Z audience, which is what they want from these videos. Also, create a YouTube channel if you don't already have one. This is a good place to store all the videos you create. Since the video posts on Instagram and Snapchat are only temporary, the YouTube channel can catch all the Gen Zers who missed it on your other channels.
Focus on the Positive
Gen Z likes collaboration and social causes because they like focusing on positive experiences. If they choose a particular brand, it's because that company does an exceptional job of doing positive things like helping a group of individuals in need. That's why campaigns like Honda's "helpful" campaign works so well. It shows real people getting assistance from a brand for many kinds of things. Those feel-good moments are important and create a connection and bond to the brand.