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Move Over, Millennials: Gen Z is Here…and We Need to Get Their Attention

By Snap Agency March 15, 2019

We’ve all seen Generation Y (aka millennials) taking some serious shade from the media these past few years over the ways they’re so different from previous generations. As a cutting-edge company with a number of proudly millennial team members, Snap loves our people and understands the value that millennials bring to the workplace. With their multitasking abilities, tech-savviness, and the way they refuse to settle for outdated ways of getting things done, the millennial generation provides a unique challenge for the business world, which was forced to adapt quickly and totally to keep this generation’s attention and gain support. Today, just as businesses have millennials figured out, the next generation has arrived, bringing a new set of challenges and strengths.

Who’s Taking Over?

Dubbed Generation Z, those born between the late 1990s and 2010 are starting to graduate college and join the world as independent adults. Just as the rise of millennials rocked the boat by forcing big companies to reexamine the way they approach branding, marketing and sales, Gen Z’ers have already gained a reputation for being different—even from millennials—in the ways they learn, work, and relax. As marketers and business owners, it’s imperative that we understand the characteristics, struggles, and goals of Gen Z as our next target market so that we can best meet the needs of this new generation.

What You Need to Know about Gen Z’ers

They Grew Up with Instant, Mobile Technology

Most millennials can still remember the days of dial-up internet and think back on the wonder of receiving their first iPod Nano. In comparison, 45 percent of Gen Z’ers had their own smartphone by age 10-12. In a world filled with mobile conveniences like Google Maps and Amazon Prime, they value instant gratification and accessibility. Due to their active online presence, social media marketing is booming like never before—and it’s here to stay.

They’re Frugal and Financially Aware

Taking note from the massive debts accumulated by the millennials before them, Gen Z’ers are approaching their finances (concerns such as debt, income, and financial planning) with savings in mind. In fact, research shows that 86 percent of Gen Z’ers feel empowered by planning for their financial future, and 72 percent say cost is the primary factor they consider before making a purchase. The financial awareness of this new target market forces marketers to think differently: how do we get a generation set on saving to keep spending money?

They Care More About Individuality than Popularity

Unfortunately, brand loyalty has taken a huge hit in the transition from the millennial to Gen Z consumer base. While today’s 20-somethings used to rely highly on status, shopping at high-profile stores (think: Abercrombie, Hollister, Starbucks, etc.) to gain confirmation from their peers, Gen Z has shifted focus to social media-friendly brands that reflect personal styles and ideals. To build an effective Gen Z marketing strategy, we can no longer count on a big brand name to seal the deal.

If Gen Z is Unlike Any Consumer Generation We’ve Seen, How Do We Market to Them?

As you and your team work to capture the attention and dollars of this upcoming demographic, here are a few points to keep in mind.

Simple Engagement is Key

If your marketing and sales funnels are too complicated or require Gen Z’ers to jump through hoops to reach your desired end result, they’ll opt out faster than you can blink. One-click deliverables are your new best friend when it comes to an effective digital marketing strategy.

Authentic Beats Flashy, Every Time

Even big brands are not immune to Gen Z’s commitment to quality products over brand loyalty. Don’t try to sell to Gen Z’ers with an expensive digital marketing campaign that feels anything less than genuine. Instead, work to strengthen your overall brand so you can confidently and authentically endorse your services or products.

Don’t Tell Them What to Do

Gen Z is refusing to settle for the goals and ideals of previous generations. Any social media marketing or digital campaign geared around a concept like, “You NEED this product to ____,” will come off as patronizing and result in the opposite of your desired effect. Because Gen Z’ers want to decide their own future, the key to winning this target market is to run campaigns that help them feel empowered to make their own smart decisions.

Work Hard, Play Harder is Their Goal

Work-life balance has been a buzz phrase since millennials entered the scene, but Gen Z is taking it to the next level. These people are entrepreneurial, multi-tasking team workers who value things like independence, effective communication, face-to-face interaction, and flexibility. Successful Gen Z-based marketing should incorporate the best of all these characteristics to get and keep attention.

Greet the Next Generation With Confidence

As Gen Z’ers transition into the workforce and consumer world, we find ourselves entering into a new era of marketing that requires bold moves and clever marketing tactics. Don’t sweat the details. Instead, contact Snap to ensure your brand is ready to face these impending changes and come out on top.