December 11, 2019
There is a debate on what years define Gen Z. Generally, it’s covers people born between 1996/1997 and 2010 to as late as 2015. The key points are that Gen Zers are in school or just finishing college and are active consumers with some now entering the workforce. They’ve used computers, tablets, and smartphones for a large majority of their lives. They’re tech-savvy and refer to some form of social media for everything from socialization to news.
Within the next six years, it’s estimated there will be 82 million Gen Zers in the U.S. They’re on track to become the largest group within the U.S, followed only by Millennials and Baby Boomers. If you’re not marketing to the Gen Z population, you’re making a mistake. Plus, the experiential marketing methods you use on everyone from Millennials to the Silent Generation are not going to be as effective on Gen Zers. You need to look at what they want by looking at the unique characteristics of Gen Zers.
Ten Unique Characteristics of the Gen Z Crowd
The Gen Z crowd tend to be in agreement on several things. They’re very interested in music, movies, and food/drink. Those are their top three interests, so you should keep that in mind. When it comes to the issues that matter most, they put healthcare, the cost of college, and it’s a tie between the environment and equality at the top of their lists. Beyond those, they share these characteristics.
#1 – They’re Tired of Highly Edited Images
Natural is honest. Gen Zers aren’t fooled or enthusiastic about overly edited images. They’re tired of excessive use of filters and photo editing. They’re tired of heavily edited images of celebrities looking flawless at every hour of the day. They’re shrewd and do wonder if you need to use Photoshop to drastically improve something’s look, why would they want to buy it? Celebrities aren’t top of their minds either. If you’re marketing a service or product, they trust companies who use real customers in their marketing materials.
#2 – They’re Budget-Minded
Gen Zers grew up after the Recession. They watched their parents and grandparents struggle financially. They saw some in their communities lose homes. They’ve developed a keen sense of making sure they spend money wisely. Before they purchase an item, they’re heading online to read at least three reviews to ensure an item or service is worth the cost. If they can test out the product personally through a sampling event or pop-up, they’re happier.
#3 – They’re Open-Minded and Compassionate
Gen Zers stand for what’s right. They want equality and 7 out of 10 of them believe in being compassionate with others. They’re more likely to align themselves with brands that share their values. They want to see companies putting their promises to action. Saying that you’re for the environment, equality, etc. isn’t enough. They feel that “slacktivism” is a sham. If you’re going to make a promise that aligns with their beliefs, they want to see you follow through. Marketing efforts need to prove it.
#4 – They Don’t Waste Time
Studies find that a Gen Zer’s attention span is 8 seconds. That’s not a lot of time. TikTok has become a key platform for capturing their attention as video clips are often 3 to 15 seconds long with looping videos rarely lasting more than a minute. This social media video app is perfect for the 8-second attention span and approximately half of its users are between the ages of 16 and 24.
#5 – They’re Innovative
Gen Zers love the changes technology has on their lifestyle. They willingly embrace the benefits AI has on their lives and the benefits of smart technology and virtual assistants. More than 80% believe that technology is going to improve their lives. They’re willing to share some information if they get a personalized experience. When it comes to personalized experiences, 64% of them believe brands need to offer them. They’re not ignoring their need for privacy, so they do expect companies to be honest about what happens with the information that’s shared.
#6 – They Crave Sensory Experiences
Online shopping is not favored by Gen Zers. Three-quarters of today’s Gen Z population prefer shopping in a store. They also want that shopping trip to be a sensory experience. They want a chance to sample items, interact with the items they’re looking at, and shop wisely rather than impulsively.
# 7 – They Want to Be Healthier
Anxiety and stress are on their minds. Around 70% of those in the Gen Z age group feel that stress and anxiety are “major problems,” and they blame social media. Yet, they also admit that social media is important to stay in touch with friends and family.
They do what they can to stay healthy. They’re making healthier food choice by opting for alternatives to cow’s milk. They’re choosing poke bowls with kale noodles over white rice. They still have flaws when it comes to some of their habits, but they’re trying hard to improve themselves and are eager to try new foods and flavors.
#8 – They Want to Be Part of the Moment
Instead of having a brand shower them with photo after photo, they want to be part of it. They want to be the ones taking photos and being in the moment. They can then share that moment through a company’s Instagram, Facebook, or other social media platforms. Bird’s Eye took this to heart when they established a pop-up restaurant with meals made from their frozen foods. Instead of paying cash for the meal, people paid by sharing a photo and being part of the moment.
#9 – They Love to Game
Epic Games’ Fortnite proved how active a gaming community can be. When Epic Games hosted the Fortnite World Cup, a prize pool of $30 million drew attention. Brands could target the popularity of gaming by hosting meet-and-greet events both online and at live events across the country. Gen Zers don’t have to participate. They can gather to watch the competition and engage with brands through giveaways and collecting branded freebies like promotional key chains or lip balm.
#10 – They Love Focused Festivals
Ypulse found that 60% of Gen Zers admitted they’d rather attend a food festival over a music festival. Rather than going to a festival where hundreds of brands are sponsors, they enjoy attending micro festivals that celebrate the brands or items they love. They’re also looking at festivals that are better values. High-priced festivals like Coachella aren’t as appealing to this generation that’s focused on getting the most value for their money.
How Do You Best Market to Those Characteristics?
Factory 360 incorporates several techniques to make sure your experiential marketing campaign captures attention. Give us a call to discuss your budget and goals. We know exactly what marketing strategies work best at capturing a Gen Zer’s attention. Give us a call.