Your Future Customer: What Marketers Need to Know About Gen Z

GenZ, iGen, the Founders – there’s been several names thrown around for the generation post-millennials. These plugged-in, yet grounded digital natives have said, according to MTV, that they plan to “rebuild what millennials disrupted.”

When I first heard this notion it was at Social Media Week in 2016. I remember thinking, “pleeeease.” MTV gathers 1,000 teenagers to disconnect for an hour to name themselves “the Founders” and they’re going to fix everything? As a millennial, it left a bad taste in my mouth (and yes I know millennials tend to bother as well). But you know what, there may be some truth to it…. at least from what I’ve seen this past month.

The circumstances which brought them together on the national stage is tragic. However, witnessing their collective force and natural ability to not just use, but leverage social media to affect real-world change is inspiring. This is the generation defined by community consciousness and they have more tools at their fingertips (literally) to create change than any generation before.

[clickToTweet tweet=”This is the generation defined by community consciousness. #GenZ #socialmedia ” quote=”This is the generation defined by community consciousness and they have more tools at their fingertips (literally) to create change than any generation before.”]

So while some marketers are obsessing over millennials, it’s crucial to start getting to know the habits that define this next batch of consumers. They make up the largest demographic here in the US at 25.9 percent according to research by Sparks & Honey.

So what defines them?

  1. They consume online video at an unprecedented rate – this next generation is watching 2.5x more online video than television according to a survey by Defy Media. That’s over 12 hours of online video per week on channels like YouTube which they say they “can’t live without.” There’s little mystery as to where you can find them.
  2. They know when they’re being advertised to – it may be the countless hours of online video consumed, but these guys know when they’re being served up ads (pre-roll, sponsored content). And apparently they don’t mind, as long as it’s targeted correctly for them and provides engaging content.
  3. They gravitate towards conscious companies – before making a purchase, they want to know their money (yes, it may be their allowance right now) is going to make an impact. That also goes for their future employers with 60 percent of Gen Zers wanting their future job to impact the world for the better (Marketo). So for brands, make sure your mission is clearly highlighted if you want to entice these Gen Zers.
  4. They see social media as a community – it’s less about broadcasting to the world and more about connecting with others (often on a global level). This generation is seeking to make a contribution to the conversation.

So how will your company adapt to engage with this next group of consumers? With social media being their communication of choice, it will require knowledge of this dynamic space from Snap to whatever channel comes next.

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