Always Thinking

We think (a lot) about everything from sushi to voter registration to SNL skits. Mostly, though, we think about all things branding and marketing. Dive in to some of our latest thoughts.

Marketing to Media-Saturated Generation Z

In this day and age, consumers are inundated by a constant cycle of content being pushed. (It’s estimated that the average person encounters anywhere between 6,000 to 10,000 advertisements each day.) This is especially true for younger generations: as a member of Gen-Z, I can personally attest to the fact that we’re faced with way more content and information than anyone could possibly process. Burdened with an inbox brimful with promotional emails, a social feed overladen with brain-eating content, and a pop culture that is insatiable and ever-changing, we have very little attention to spare. Catching – and keeping – the attention of Gen Z is a tall order.


So. How do you cut through the extra noise and ensure you are producing content that will reach, interest, and benefit your young media-saturated audience?


Some things to think about:


What makes you, you?

Generation Z is also more cognizant of when we are being advertised to. As digital natives, many of us, especially younger members, have never known a time before modern technology and social media. This means we have grown up hyperaware and hypervigilant of what is real and what is not. Even as a more senior member of Gen Z who remembers a time before the iPhone and Instagram, I am still innately ill-disposed to anything that feels fake, staged, or contrived.


When addressing Gen Z, being genuine is absolutely paramount. To get, and hold, their attention, start by differentiating yourself (not simply for the purpose of being unique, but to garner attention and participation). Make use of emotions and concerns that are important to your target audience. Consider a normal day in their life. Ask yourself, what value can you provide that will improve their day, week, or career? And keep in mind that you’re not operating in a vacuum: your competitors will always be right there with you, attempting to influence the same audience.


Am I meeting them where they are?

Gone are the days of conventional marketing tactics. While traditional mediums like print and TV advertisements can still have benefits, Gen Z gravitates towards gamified processes or procedures; we are native to global communication and collaboration across virtual platforms. Gen Zs are quick to adopt new communication channels and prefer real-time, transparent, and collaborative digital communications – and will expect that from your organization as well. The overwhelming majority of Gen Z consumers increased their social media use in the last year, and their use is expected to continue increasing over the next three years. This will be an ongoing trend driver across the marketing landscape. As an institution, this means familiarizing yourself with all relevant platforms – not just Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook, but TikTok, Twitch, and Snapchat as well.


What is your “why?”

It’s important to identify why what you are producing is valuable. When you’re in the process of creating content, ask yourself, “Why does my Gen Z audience need this?” To answer that, you need to understand their motivations. Their difficulties. Their possibilities.  Does your audience see themselves in your content? How do they experience it? What action does it inspire or motivate? Don’t let your personal voice or point of view override what you know (or think you know) your audience wants and needs to hear.


How can you leverage and reinforce community?

Influencer marketing is an undeniably effective strategy for targeting Millennial and Generation Z customers, and smart brands are making the most of the intrinsic social capital of micro- influencers. According to one Nielsen study, 83 percent of individuals prefer peer referrals over formal advertising. Micro-influencers have already earned the confidence of their social followers. When they produce content about organizations they support on their social platforms, they are communicating directly to their devoted community of peers. A referral from an influential peer has a significantly greater impact than a polished piece of marketing because it’s real. Authenticity is key to a brand's social media image – and involving your micro-community is one of the most effective ways to garner that authenticity.


Bottom line?

Young people are always going to be pioneers, powerfully impacting both what is new and what is next. Technology has enabled and facilitated connection in ways we could never have imagined, and the impact of the first generation of real digital natives is just beginning to show. No question, this transition will present obstacles for organizations that are just now playing catch-up. However, it also serves as a major opportunity for those who stay ahead of the curve. By making a concerted effort to learn about the motivations, desires, and nuances of Gen Z, organizations have the opportunity to foster profitable (and more importantly, authentic) relationships with the next generation.

Posted under MARKETING

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