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Generational marketing: How to connect with Gen Z

We’re continuing the series on generational segmentation with Generation Y or Millennials, individuals born between 1977-1995.

min. read

Baby Boomers, Gen X, Y, Z, Alpha. 

We hear these terms all around, but often we aren't entirely sure which generation is which, let alone how real people behind these infamous one-letter generations think, behave, and communicate.  

Segmenting and targeting your markets by age rather than other demographics such as gender, location, or income is called generational marketing. By understanding their underlying generational motivations, challenges, and habits, you can tailor your corporate strategy, products and content accordingly so it "speaks" to a specific generation.  

Every consumer segmentation is an extensive task for the marketing department. On top of many methods and possible sub-groups, COVID has just made segmentation more complicated. It impacted every consumer generation, but with the right knowledge, you can customize your marketing efforts to ensure you're capturing the attention and hitting the right chord of the generation in focus, whether it's Baby Boomers, Millennials, Gen Z, or Alpha.  

To help you gain relevant knowledge of generational marketing, we'll describe and analyze four key generations that are active consumers at this point:  

  1. Baby Boomers
  2. Generation X
  3. Generation Y (Millennials)
  4. Generation Z  

We're continuing the series on generational segmentation with Generation Z, individuals born between 1996 - 2010.

What you need to know about marketing to   Gen Z

Characteristics: Unlike the Millennials – who came of age during the Great Recession – the next generation was brought up in a strong economy with record-low unemployment. However, COVID-19 has reshaped our social, political, and economic aspects. This racially and ethnically diverse generation is focused on achieving financial stability because of the uncertain future. They challenge traditional views of family, work environment, and education.  

Digital Savviness: As the first generation of truly digital natives, Gen Zers are always online. This generation of influencers and content creators wants to consume content within their time on social media. The key is knowing what type of content they want to see on social platforms.

Financial status: According to a Deloitte survey, younger workers are particularly vulnerable to financial anxiety. Only a quarter of Gen Z report that they can comfortably cover their monthly living expenses, and almost half (46%) say they live paycheck to paycheck. To make ends meet, Gen Zers are getting creative. Emerging financial technologies are popular with Gen Z. According to Investopedia, about a quarter of Gen Zers in our survey hold cryptocurrencies and stocks, and one in 10 own NFTs.  

Most responsive to: Like millennials, authenticity and "good cause marketing" resonate with Gen Z. This relates to their concern and activism about environmental and social issues. According to Pew Research Center survey, 67% of Gen Zers believe climate issue is a top priority to ensure a sustainable planet for future generations. They rely heavily on reviews and recommendations through social media than other generations and engage with brands that use engaging social selling techniques. Gen Zers are also less likely to sign up for loyalty programs, despite looking for ways to save money. 

Strategies to help you appeal to Gen Zers:

  • Try marketing strategies like influencer marketing, reviews, social selling, and advertising on their favourite social media platforms: TikTok and Instagram. Be active and creative on all social media. Your brand must remain active on as many social platforms as possible to maximize exposure and reach with Gen Z. Keep content interactive by encouraging them to engage with your brand. 
  • Gen Z gravitates toward video content. YouTube and Instagram are popular, especially as hubs for influencers, but Gen Zers prefer viewing a wide variety of brief, punchy content over anything long-form. 
  • Keep it short and sweet. Make interacting with your brand fun but not tiresome. Short videos and high-quality photos highlighting your brand or products are big reasons why TikTok and Instagram have succeeded with Gen Z.
  • Make promises you can keep and obtain high performance of your products or services. Gen Z likes consistency and stays loyal to trustworthy brands.

Yes, generational marketing matters, but it's only a piece of the puzzle

We'd like to emphasize that, like everything in marketing, it's all about the context. Each generation is different, and their mindset defines who they are as individuals and consumers. Some groups respond well to technology and innovation. Others prefer their comfort zone with products and services they desire to remain the same. Whatever the strategy, brands should focus on a similar approach. For example, honesty and integrity are essential aspects that consumers from all generations look for from brands. Being straightforward with messaging and offers results in a stronger relationship with the market. 

In any case, a generational marketing strategy should not be a company's sole approach to segmenting an audience. At boobook, we believe in a segmentation approach beyond customers' age and the associated - somewhat stigmatizing - generational stamp. Additional customer segmentation factors, such as geography, income, interests, behaviours, personal values, attitudes, etc., are crucial to successful persona-based targeting. Marketing to different generations requires thoughtful implementation, so avoid stereotypes and assumptions about certain ages.  

Instead, learn who your customers are and develop products and communication strategies that resonate with your audience. Reach out to our team, and we'll help you!  

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