There is something to be said of the cyclical patterns in nature. The natural course of generations is no different from the progression of the seasons, or the ebb and flow of the tide. As Amy Lynch, generational expert and keynote speaker, states, “An intensely passionate generation is always followed by a cynical one, and cynical gen is always followed by a practical, fix-it gen, and so forth.” (Generational Edge) The exact time-frame that Gen Z falls into isn’t widely agreed upon. The general consensus, however, is that it ranges from 1995-2015. Therefore, the oldest Gen Z’s will be around 22 this year.
Rather than be obsessed with the idea of throwing caution to the wind and following your dreams, Generation Z is more concerned with the concept of pursuing stable careers. They would much rather cultivate their skills based upon what jobs will be the most in-demand. A recent study conducted by Altitude, an innovative consulting firm, has helped the public understand just what Gen Z are really about. Altitude worked with “Over a dozen 16- to 18-year-olds with diverse backgrounds from across the country through a series of in-depth discussions, video diaries, and daily interactive exercises”. (Fast Company)
Many of these teens agreed with the concept of striving for what is known, rather than striking out without any forethought into a world of unexplored possibilities. They tend to exhibit conservative and traditional opinions on things such as careers, relationships and building families. However, there is an overwhelming percentage of Gen Zers calling for equal rights between races, genders and sexual orientation. This is a very interesting contrast to the traditional beliefs held about other aspects in their life.
Contrary to popular belief, Gen Zers fully recognize the importance of connecting with older generations socially. They understand the difference between social networks and social networking within face-to-face situations. They can separate themselves from their online personality and their real personality. Don’t forget this generation is the pragmatic, fix-it generation that is faced with what older generations have broken. They are forced to look at the world through realist filters.
It is true that their predecessors, Millennials, have been known for their obsession with technology. Generation Z has actually evolved to be even more dependent. Their attention spans have greatly reduced to a mere eight seconds. That’s the amount of time marketers have to inform, interest and hook them into their message. It sounds impossible. It isn’t. It is definitely difficult, that much is an undeniable fact. How do you market to a generation that is on average surrounded by five screens? They are constantly switching from their television, desktop, laptop, phone and tablet. How do you get your message across in a way that makes them resist the urge to switch their focus to a different screen while your ad plays before a YouTube video?
The answer lies within the rapid pace of the Internet and the environment it cultivates. The Internet is a weird and wonderful place. Regularly, Reddit users solve real mysteries like missing person cases and even cold case homicides. On the opposite end of the spectrum Gen Z’s are now consuming Tide Pods. There’s really no way to calculate what will go viral. The Internet has produced this unique thing that’s never existed on this scale before. Meme culture. The pace at which memes are produced, shared and dropped is ridiculous. In fact, using meme culture as a means of marketing to Gen Z is impossible if utilizing traditional forms of advertisement or public relations.
That is why implementing social media as a main form of PR and community relations is of the utmost priority. Gen Z’s get their news from their phones. They spend hours of their day utilizing the explore pages of Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter. That is a great place to start. If you can get your product, name or service onto the ads or explore page of an app, then you’ve taken another step toward success. If you can generate a viral hashtag, then you have begun to really market to Gen Z.
Humor is one of the biggest things that cause Gen Z’s to stop what they are doing and pay attention. If you are using humor to market your product, they are more likely to spend the time to learn about it. Ads that are weird and loud and grab your attention immediately take advantage of their eight second attention spans.
Generation Z’s fascinations and interest moves faster than any generation before them. They consume data at rates that were never considered possible. They are the kids faced with the older generations mistakes and problems, and they understand this as a fact. In order to market to these teens, there must be a mutual understanding of the Internet culture that has become their everyday reality.
“5 Data-Backed Strategies for Marketing to Generation Z.” Fluent, http://www.fluentco.com/insight/marketing-generation-z-strategies/.
Finch, Jeremy. “What Is Generation Z, And What Does It Want?” Fast Company, Fast Company, 4 May 2015, http://www.fastcompany.com/3045317/what-is-generation-z-and-what-does-it-want.
Lynch, Amy. “Generations Expert Idea Warrior Entrepreneur.” Gen Z Kids Are Like Their Great-Grandparents. Here’s Why., http://www.generationaledge.com/blog/posts/genz-like-grandparents.
Patel, Deep. “10 Tips For Marketing To Gen Z Consumers.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 1 May 2017, http://www.forbes.com/sites/deeppatel/2017/05/01/10-tips-for-marketing-to-gen-z-consumers/#60ce1a253c50.
Perlstein, Josh. “Engaging Generation Z: Marketing to a New Brand of Consumer.” – Adweek, Adweek, 27 Nov. 2017, http://www.adweek.com/digital/josh-perlstein-response-media-guest-post-generation-z/.