Marketing to “Z” Generation

It Has Been All About Millennials, But No Longer!

In today’s world of marketing and advertising, it seems that all anyone is talking about is the Millennial generation. Companies keep trying to find the silver bullet and crack the code as to what is the best way to target them, find them and entice them. However, while everyone is keying so much on the millennials, there is an entirely new generation coming up right behind them that are completely unique and marketing to them will be just as different as they are.

Yes, the Gen Z or the “New Silent Generation” as they’re called, will still look for reviews, expect technology and speed to assist them in making their buying decisions. But unlike Millennials, Gen Z appear to be more conservative and covets their privacy. They are truly the first generation to experience a world with modern technology like smartphones and tablets since birth, however, the excitement and newness that the previous generations have felt for these things isn’t there. They’re as accustomed to having these tools as they are wearing a pair of sneakers.

They haven’t grown up watching “regular TV” with all its commercials. The people they think of as famous are typically not actors, but rather “YouTubers”. They don’t have a ton of social media feeds where they share everything they are doing, feeling or eating either. They understand that displaying every facet of their life for all to see isn’t necessarily a good thing. And they certainly don’t want to be tracked or monitored, like great whites.

However, it’s not just technology that’s affecting this generation. They’re experiencing such a negative picture of life, full of political, social and environmental crisis. Every day the news tells them that their world is corrupt, cruel, crooked and the planet is unhealthy and dying on them. They witness economic hardships, seeing their older siblings’ shoulder huge college debt, struggling to find jobs with many of them moving back home.

Gen Z will be a generation that looks for jobs that are needed and provide a better quality of life for them, rather just pursuing those that they want. Early signs show they will be a more sensible generation who understands the importance of saving and become more of a “browsing type of shopper” and only purchasing things with discounts, coupons or on sale.

All of these things impact this generation and marketers need to rethink their game plan when they attempt to reach them as a targeted audience in the near future. Based on what we know of them right now, it looks like the simpler the advertising message, the better.

Think “no nonsense” and more formal. This group won’t want bells and whistles. Just get to the point. Video advertising will still be valuable but again, keep things short and simple. Oddly enough what’s old may become new with them, such as traditional advertising with a futuristic twist to it.

Billboard advertising, radio personalities and such will be a good fit for this generation as they won’t have to give up any private information to receive it. I don’t believe social media ads will be as effective as they are on Mils, and much of that budget will prove to be wasted if your company attempts to reach a Gen Z, the same way.

Remember this generation will probably be more private, more causal and less willing to expose themselves to as much public scrutiny as their predecessors. A good alternative and bet if you’re going for this generation will be gaming, podcasts and CTV. Look for the elevation and evolution of tracking metrics, enhancements and opportunities in these media forms.

Author: Frank Gussoni

President & Founder of A3 media. We're Type A. We transform media from an expense into a smart investment.