As Gen-Z grows into the predominant market consumer, businesses across every front will need to adjust to their needs when developing generation Z marketing campaigns, and those needs are unprecedented. Gen-Z is a consumer generation that is the most informed and demanding in terms of quality yet. The members of this generation expect quality across, personalization, and products customized to their needs. As a growing generation of digital-native consumers is redefining the rules of social commerce.
Gen-Z has blurred the lines between the real world and the digital sphere. Existing in both their natural, tangible state, as well as in a digital realm through social media, live-streams, messaging, and video games. They naturally gravitate to early adoption and drive to influence other generations (Gen-X, Gen-Y, Millenials, and even their subsequent generation of youngsters), yet they are also historically elusive consumers.
As this generation defines digital commerce in every measure, brands are picking up on the signals, and are trying to urgently adapt to cater to the needs and requirements of this influential sector of the market. To some brands, this feels like an intimidation tactic, but by resisting or being overly concerned about catering to their consumers in a fashion Gen-Z demands, they might be missing out on an important opportunity.
If you are planning to do marketing to gen Z, pay attention to these characteristics that drive this generation.
The Importance of Digital Privacy
Gen-Z is paradoxical in that while they spend an average of 10 hours per day online, they are actually quite concerned about their digital privacy, being more reluctant than any generations before them to hand over any personal data to companies that will likely sell it for profit or even use it in exploitative ways.
It is important to remember that Gen Z grew up with technology, and while they appreciate the conveniences it affords them, they are also skeptical of the pitfalls and disadvantages. In fact, as many as 78% are very selective about the apps that they will allow to access their location, and 58% of Gen-Z are even skeptical of social media platforms like Facebook. Those brands that they suspect or verify as selling their personal data, are quickly cast out from usage consideration as well.
Duplicitous marketing is failing against Gen-Z at every turn. A generation that spends 74% of their free time connected to the internet is bound to be informed. Apps are used by nearly 90% of the vast number of teenagers currently utilize a mobile device, with about 2/3rds using multiple devices at once.
Of these numbers, roughly 64% browse products, 52% price compare, 52% verify item availability, 58% thoroughly research the products they are considering, with 46% using their mobile devices to store locations. But mobile access is not always the preferred method for online purchases and research, with as many as 60% wishing to use desktop computers for purchasing instead.
An Ambitious Generation
Gen-Z has achieved an unprecedented level of maturity, a characteristic that drives both their open-mindedness, productivity, practicality, and willingness to better their world through the exertion of effort and positive actions.
Their empathy is significant and far outweighs those of generations that came before them. Gen-Z is far more likely to engage in productive discourse than Millenials and is far more willing to entertain a variance of opinions.
This behavior transcends across the spectrum of lives of Gen-Z-ers. As the COVID-19 pandemic forced many out of work, as many as three-quarters of Gen-Z members financially assisted family, friends, and loved ones during this difficult time. Over a quarter of 16 to 19-year-olds volunteer on a regular basis and 32% give to various charities. 10% even aim to start their own non-profit business to help people in all walks of life.
Charities have benefited greatly from Gen-Z’s generosity and willingness to do their part to improve the world. For charities, acceptance of such actions should be made easier with apps and websites making the ability to donate simple and intuitive.
Gen-Z is not interested in just paying the bills with a 9-5 job, they want something that fulfills them and gives their work meaning. They are also aware of the power carried by attending colleges, which is evidenced by them being more likely to attend an institution to earn a degree.
While 57% of Gen-Z members between the ages of 18 and 21 are enrolled in a 2 or 4-year degree programs, some seek less traditional educational routes to better their standing in employment. While about 25% dedicate themselves to a four-year college degree, 70% believe in creating their own “education journey” instead.
Economics of Empathy
Gen-Z seeks authenticity from the brands they explore beyond anything else, so those brands who do marketing to generation Z correctly, do so through meaningful and engaging storytelling methods. A large part of the interest in them wishing to learn how businesses, brands, charities, and non-profit groups express empathy for the world and give back to society.
The focus on the charitable work is extensive for Gen-Z, as is the brand’s overall stance and mission. If Gen-Z cares about a particular cost, they are happy to put their money forward to back their convictions by supporting businesses that are both authentic and dedicated to certain important causes.
Conversely, those brands that pander to an unrealistic standard of beauty or lifestyle could see a significant support dip from Gen-Z consumers. In fact, Gen-Z consumers are drawn to marketing campaigns that are focused on diversification, inclusivity and sustainability.
Above all, the Gen Z generation values honesty and authenticity, as well as privacy and philanthropy more than anything else. They are also quite adept at detecting marketers who are not genuine with their messaging. Gen-Z’s overall goal is to make the world a better place, so they will support brands that share those morals and are likely to disregard brands that do not.