The millennial generation has been at the forefront of news, be it in regards to their home buying trends, travel preferences, and even their choices in blue jeans. People have always purchased homes, traveled, and spent cash on jeans (well, since 1873). So why is the millennial generation getting so much attention for things people have been doing for decades?

One reason is because by 2035 they have the potential to become the largest spending generation in history. In addition, a large part of this interest in millennials stems from great interest into what inspires them to buy and how they buy. View our infographic to get additional details!

Well, look out millennials, the spotlight is now moving to Gen Z – the post-millennial generation (roughly, those born between 1995 and 2015). Again, the why and how questions are still applicable.

Before we dive into answering these questions, let’s take a closer look at this generation.


Trend Forecasters Look Z-ward

Companies that are marketing savvy and capture the attention of Gen Z now will be better qualified to continue future engagement with this generation.  For example, such companies could remain on the cutting edge of social media marketing and the newest online marketing technology by closely following Gen Z’s habits as soon as possible.

Did you know that…

  • Gen Z is comprised of 47% ethnic minorities, making them the most ethnically diverse generation in U.S. history.
  • There are roughly 60 million American members of Generation Z.
  • This is the first generation raised in the era of smartphones.
  • They are not aware of a time that did not include social media.
  • 30% use Instagram daily.
  • 25% check Snapchat daily.
  • 20% check Twitter daily.
  • 70 percent of 1,000 Gen Z respondents admitted to watching YouTube for more than two hours every day.
  • Products and services can be seen more as tools for differentiation in an era that values creativity and diversity.
    • Think of Android, Instagram, NikeID, YouTube and many, many more.
  • 84 percent of Generation Z members browse an Internet-connected device while watching TV.
  • 93 percent of Gen Z parents surveyed said their children influence family spending and household purchases.

How do these facts affect businesses and their marketers? Simply put, reaching a younger audience means changing your marketing approach and messaging drastically over the next decade.

Utilizing Z Best Messaging & Marketing Techniques

Millennials have often been labeled as self-absorbed and entitled.  Gen Z is shaping up to think more like their grandparents (or even great grandparents) than their generational predecessors.

They are aware of their own online brand. They know how to “market” themselves through social media platforms. They have specific wants concerning privacy (think safe and secure online technology). They have grown up in an environment of ever-evolving technology and are not afraid of exploring new options that come along.  And brand loyalty? Sure, they have it, but they will go where their needs are met and their values are shared.

A business has a mission, vision, values, and overall messaging they use to reach a target audience. The key to tapping into Gen Z is turning that message on its head to fit into all the new (and constantly changing) mediums they use.

Tips for Winning the Hearts and Minds of Gen Z

  • Be real. Gen Z consumers want to know what a business values. If they share those values, you’re in.
  • Inclusive Messaging Resonates. Zers are not only the most ethnically diverse generation, but many have been raised in “non-traditional households”.
  • Promote a dialogue. Social media comments influence 53 percent of Gen Z.
  • Brevity is the soul of sales. Forget everything you learned about marketing to millennials. Gen Z has an even shorter attention span.
  • Be aware. Respond to their evolving needs.
  • Show them respect and loyalty. Don’t ask them for it.
  • Embrace messaging sincerity. Shampoo ads that promise beauty in a bottle, jeans that will make you the coolest kid in school, or a razor that can make your legs longer?
  • Show Value. Why should they want to spend the cash on your product or service?
  • Make products available online. Your brick and mortar store? Not their first stop to make a purchase, but they like that you have one.
  • Let’s get visual, visual. You want to get visual. Let’s get into visual. (To be sung to the tune of Olivia Newton John’s song hit Let’s Get Physical released in 1981. And if you know this song, this article is a must read for you.)

Z Best Way to Connect

Gen Z has been referred to as “Mobile Mavericks”. Smartphones, tablets, and constant WiFi connectivity means that your message needs to be tailored to various platforms and your products and services need to be easily accessed.

Keep this in mind; the platforms you want to utilize for marketing efforts may not result directly in sales. This is difficult for many business owners to wrap their heads around.  Why spend time, effort, and money in such platforms?

Consider a coupon you can cut out from a paper versus a six-second Vine. You can track who brings in a coupon, right? So, how do you track ROI from a six-second video? Google Analytics can offer insight into referral traffic and conversions, but there’s more to it.

Reach and Engagement

Did you impact people with your message, meaning was your audience reached? Did people engage or interact?

Checking for additional followers, “Likes”, views, website visitors, and more can help you determine the success or failure of your campaigns. Also, most platforms do offer insight to these metrics. You can learn more here.

Let’s take a look at some platforms and strategies companies will want to embrace:

  • Embrace a broad digital approach and a variety of options to connect: emails, texts, events and social media.
  • Connect across multiple social media platforms, including YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Vimeo, Facebook, Pinterest, etc. Determine the success of the platforms you choose. Not getting what you need from it? Learn to pivot. Either revise your messaging or move on to a different platform that may resonate better with for your Gen Z audience.
  • What’s Snapchat? It’s simply one of the primary ways Gen Z communicates. There are over 100 million users that share over 400 million snaps on a daily basis.
  • Got in-App Ads? Apps can allow for geo-targeting and demographic targeting. Plus, you’re not “interrupting” your audience with these ads.

As we continue to learn about Gen Z, the biggest takeaway for a company’s marketing team (and the company itself) is to be flexible. New and diverse marketing and communication platforms pop up every day. Keeping abreast of these resources can only help you engage this latest generation.

Remember to keep it real and Z future will be bright.


Jasmine Paul is a senior client manager at Mad Fish with over 15 years of experience in project management. Connect with her on LinkedIn.