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Until recently, marketers would just tag millennials and Gen Z as digital natives, using the one-fits-both approach when branding their products. But the further along, the more obvious it became that these two generation groups have different values and so respond to different marketing approaches. It’s also true that both have their similarities — the digital natives nickname, for example, is not that far off the mark. But if millennials have some vague childhood memory of the pre-Internet Stone Age, Gen Zs have never — ever — known life without the Internet. And that affects a lot when mentality and consumer decisions are concerned.
Zoomers, born between 1997 and 2012, may not be the largest consumer group yet, but recent reports indicate that this generation already commands a total of $450 billion of disposable income. Even the latest Zoomers, who are not even in their teens yet, influence the whole family’s buying decisions — especially when it comes to household goods, furniture, food & eating out, and travel. So, even without any disposable income of their own, Gen Z’s voice is easy to hear in today’s marketing world.
As people who grew up truly digitally native, they have been exposed to plenty of information from all sorts of sources. Zoomers are great at switching their attention and analyzing vast amounts of information — better than any previous generation. They are also the most educated consumer group so far and the most ethnically diverse. The search for authenticity, truth, and freedom of expression is at the center of their attention. Sounds a bit abstract? Well, let’s see how to market these truth and freedom-seekers.
Unlike Gen X, driven by status, and Gen Y (millennials), driven by the search for experience, Zoomers are primarily driven by values. Growing up with a tablet in hand, they instantly see through sham facades and pretense advertising. So, a genuine, value-centered approach to branding is the primary thing that can catch (and retain) their attention. In practice, the marketing strategy should rely on the following building blocks.
Lately, it’s been common practice to re-tailor the same content to work for different social media channels. This approach works fine with previous generations of consumers who, compared to Zoomers, spend less time on social media. Zoomers, however, grew up with the Internet and technology, quickly switching from one social platform to another. So, it’s not surprising that they do not want to see the same version of content across different channels.
Instead, they would rather go to TikTok for fun videos, LinkedIn for professional updates, and Twitter for social and political news. Considering this, the role of social media coordinator in your company becomes more important than ever, and creativity in designing channel-specific content is the key to success. Or one of those keys, at least.
Video is another crucial part of reaching Gen Z — and not just on TikTok and YouTube. Zoomers are the most video-hungry group compared to all previous consumer generations. And, even though you will undoubtedly need to hire a video maker, you do not necessarily have to shoot the highest-quality Hollywood blockbuster type of content. In fact, Zoomers are pretty okay with user-generated content (more on that later) and non-professional videos as long as they are short and funny.
Zoomers are great at switching attention but not so great at keeping it. Forget the golden fish’s four-second record and aim for an even shorter attention span of less than three seconds. That may seem like an intimidating figure, but it should not be if you keep in mind that Get Z is also an expert at quickly scanning information. Whatever story you need to tell, do not bury the lead and cut straight to the chase. This is especially true for video content and the main reason why all major social media sites today are embracing short video formats.
Since Zoomers are keen on finding factual, truthful information, transparency is one of the top things they appreciate in a business. In particular, they are more prepared to forgive blunt mistakes than an attempt to cover those. And no brand is fully protected from making a blunder, right? With Gen Z, this is not a disaster if you handle the situation right. The only proper way with Zoomers is to take full accountability, showing your brand transparency and ability to change. No faking! Gen Z sees through the tricks like no other consumer generation.
Remember the part about Zoomers putting little value on professionally-shot videos? Well, the same is true with professionally-made photos. For them, the Internet is the way of communicating with the real world, not with the glossy made-up part of it. That is why they value content created by other users so much, and that is why brands should level the power of user-generated content (UGC). Brands that show pictures of actual users using and enjoying their products have higher chances of attracting Zoomer’s attention. It’s all about truth and facts, remember?
Influencers play a big part in Gen Z’s buying decisions — mainly if these influencers belong to the same generation. Fortunately for marketers, the oldest Zoomers are already in their twenties, so a brand that shows consistency and authenticity should not have much problem attracting Zoomer influencers. And content from an influencer who speaks the same language as your target consumers, without faking it, always works miracles for brand promotion.
For Zoomers, there is really not much difference between the online and offline worlds — they do not separate these two concepts as previous generations did. They love shopping online, just like they love shopping in brick-and-mortar stores. More specifically, Zoomers segregate online and on-site shopping with the same skill as they segregate the use of social media networks — both are necessary, and both serve their distinct purpose. Think about the major retail provider Amazon, which keeps scoring with this new and demanding generation of consumers. The company, which was a fully online enterprise until recently, is now actively embracing the omnipotent marketing strategy by launching physical stores. And as a result, retaining Gen Z customers both online and on-site!
Embracing these strategies will help you effectively market your product because Zoomers are gradually becoming one of the top consumer groups, and their influence over the marketing world will only keep growing in the future. Of course, soon enough, Generation Alpha, born after 2012, will start setting the trend, too. But we will just have to wait and see how different their trends and values will turn out.