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Good-bye Millennials, hello Generation Z

Posted by Maricelle Gouws on August 31, 2016 at 8:30 AM
Maricelle Gouws
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If you’re finally clued up on Millennials, we’ve got news for you. There’s a new kid on the block: Generation Z, and they’re creating quite a stir.

Generation Z, similar to Millennials, have grown up with technology, is highly connected and uses social media to communicate. They are born after 1995- just before the start of the Millennium. According to Small Business Trends, “born after 1995, members of the emerging Gen Z are expected to become the dominant business influencers of tomorrow. Thanks to social media, these teens of today are accustomed to engaging with friends all over the world, which means they are well prepared for a global business environment.”

This new force will soon be entering the marketplace with its purchasing power and businesses will have to keep up to date with the impact this generation will have on the market and how marketing will require a new set of rules.

The differences between Gen Z and Millennials


The Goldman Sachs Group, an investment banking, securities and investment group, notes that they already represent 22 percent of the US population, putting them behind Millennials (23 percent) and ahead of Generation X on 21 percent. This means that they will make up a large part of our consumers in years to come.

Christopher Wolf, an analyst in Goldman Sachs Research, explains why Gen Z’s diversity, obsession with technology and conservative attitudes toward money will have profound social and economic implications.

Contently has compiled a list of 5 things marketers need to know about Generation Z that we find very useful. Here is our overview:

  • Personal marketing

Getting and keeping the attention of this generation becomes more difficult as they choose to consume media in bite sizes. Generation Z are demanding more personalised, unique content and need validation in the form of self-expression. The key is to embrace your brand and show them that you want to positively contribute in changing the world and the content it consumes. According to a Deep Focus Cassandra Report, “it seems that Gen Z inherits its love of good storytelling from the millennials...and are more interested in narratives and content that have realistic endings. Further, they are nearly twice as likely to want to see “real people” rather than celebrities endorse products and brands.”

  • Facebook fans

Although Facebook is largely used by Gen Z’s parents, it’s important to remember that this generation is still concerned with privacy. Luckily Facebook has attempted to take care of this in their privacy settings. “They don’t separate their online and offline lives the way older generations might, but they are concerned with sharing information with a selective group of trusted friends or brands,” says Richard Yao, content and strategy associate at IPG Media Lab. These kids are at a prime age where they start forming perceptions of brands, products and marketing. Forbes notes that “with the sheer size of Gen Z, it is likely that their “likes” (which they are already quite used to showing via Facebook, for example) and dislikes, how they live and how they view health and wellness will be highly influential.”

  • Brand advocates

Generation Z is ambitious, engaged and emerging. An article on Campaign Live states that “Generation Z have a great interest in the world around them and are increasingly conscious consumers. As a result, brands need to be open and transparent.” Companies should spend more time growing brand advocates by interacting and engaging with them in a two-way conversation.

  • Mad about video

Growing up with visual images and videos, Gen Z communicates via symbols, emoji’s and emoticons and have the online world at their fingertips. They consume video across a range of platforms and mobile devices. Video has become more than just amusement as it is now widely used to connect young people to friends and family. Research conducted by Defy in 2015 finds that “the needs of video content went well beyond the entertainment factor, it also educated, became a source of stress relief, and keeps young people connected and included among their peer group.”

  • Short attention span

Respecting Generation Z’s need for speed is very important when it comes to marketing. These kids are distracted and only drawn to engaged pieces of content. So, when you’re still reading about the release of a new movie on your Twitter feed, Gen Z has shared numerous photographs of the movie on Instagram and is already watching another video on YouTube. For brands, this means creating bite-sized content moving them further along their path to purchase.

While we do not need to employ every single tactic, Gen Z are a generation to keep our eyes on. They are digitally savvy, smart and engaging. What more do we need when it comes to marketing?

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