When it comes to content marketing, understanding different generations is the key to success. Learning how to market to Generation Z (the demographic cohort after Millennials) means speaking to them without speaking down to them.
Although there is some dispute about what age group comprises Gen Z, the most commonly held opinion is that the term applies to people born between 1997 and 2012.
With generation marketing, it is equally important to make the distinction between Gen Z and Millennials–the so-called “Generation Y,” who were born from the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s.
Both generations share many characteristics and experiences, most notably, an affinity for technology. But Gen Z’ers have the distinction of being the first generation to have never experienced a world without cell phones or the internet. In a sense, Gen Z is the first actual tech-native generation, which is reflected in their culture, lifestyle and preferences. This is especially apparent in how Gen Z’ers respond and react to digital marketing.
Characteristics of Gen Z
Some of the most distinctive characteristics of Gen Z’ers affect how they perceive and access marketing. Knowing about these characteristics and how to leverage them to your advantage is essential to the success of your marketing. The characteristics are:
- Technology native
- Focused on authenticity
- Socially progressive
As a marketer, you should take all of these characteristics into consideration when targeting Generation Z.
5 Tips for Marketing to a Gen Z Audience
If you’re promoting your business, here are 5 tips to remember:
Tip #1: Keep Your Brand Message Concise
Attention spans are getting shorter with each succeeding generation. Gen Z’ers have the shortest attention spans yet. The average attention span for a Gen Z’er is just over eight seconds. Contrast this with millennials, who can manage to sit still for a full 12 seconds, and you can appreciate the importance of keeping your message short and to the point.
Long-form content is almost entirely wasted on Generation Z, many of whom prefer short and easily digestible tidbits of information. With so much media vying for their attention, Gen Z’ers can’t stand lengthy and wordy content. This is why microcontent works so well with Gen Z’ers.
Tip #2: Don’t Forget Mobile
If your audience consists mainly of Gen Z’ers, there is a strong possibility they are accessing your site exclusively from a mobile device. Generation Z is the most mobile-hungry generation yet, with most Gen Z’ers having been born into a world where smartphones have always existed.
From a marketing standpoint, the significance of this is that websites need to be mobile friendly. In addition, it is essential to provide as much value as possible via mobile access. Your customers should be able to access all of your site’s features just as easily from a mobile phone as they can from a computer. This goes for everything from customer support to exclusive offers, downloadable apps and more.
Your content should also be as mobile-friendly as possible. Short-form content serves another purpose for mobile devices, on which long-form content is too unwieldy and difficult to read. Keeping your content short addresses the needs of Gen Z’ers for quick and easy-to-read content that is especially suited to the mobile experience.
Tip #3: Use Multimedia
The term “visually-oriented” is used to describe every generation that has existed since the advent of the television, but it is especially appropriate for Gen Z. More than anything else, Gen Z’ers are hungry for visuals, whether they are video marketing content, photos, graphics, or infographics. Again, this type of material suits the Gen Z’er preference for all things easily digestible. When you utilize the full power of visual content in your marketing, you are much more likely to capture the attention of your young audience.
Tip #4: Be Personable
Gone are the days when it was sufficient for a company to crank a slick advertising campaign out and have it happily received by a passive audience. Gen Z’ers are a lot savvier when it comes to marketing, and they are much less likely to sit and listen to what you have to say. Instead, today’s audiences expect a much deeper and more intimate degree of engagement. They want one in which they feel they are interacting with a living, breathing human being. Develop a persona of a company that is approachable and accommodating, and you are much more likely to win your audience over.
Tip #5: Be Socially Aware
Finally, keep in mind that Gen Z’ers are much more socially progressive than any other generation. These audiences are intimately involved in issues such as racial and gender equality, ethical business practices, environmental protection, animal welfare, and many others. To be perceived as trustworthy, your company will have to share the same values and communicate them genuinely and convincingly.
It is especially important to maintain your company’s good reputation in this regard, particularly on social media. Gen Z’ers may have short attention spans, but they do have long memories. Get your company’s policies in order and you will be seen as a conscientious and socially-responsible company that Gen Z’ers will be more likely to trust.