Gen Zers are ready to tell marketers how to reach out to them properly, says Business Insider’s article “Forget About Millennials — Experts Are Now Going After Marketing to Generation Z.”
The advice from these teenage consultants is simple to understand. But it's complex to follow.
It requires a whole new way of thinking about mobile devices, social media marketing and more. The tools and channels marketers need to use may be the same, but Gen Zers expect different things out of them because the generation thinks differently, the consultants tell marketers.
Don’t Treat Them Like Millennials
Marketers need to think of phones as computers, marketing messages as needing to reach them as striving individuals and social media as a work tool.
Don’t tell Gen Zers to adapt to old ways of thinking and, for instance, to put their phones down, as previous generations told Millennials. Know that this generation is competitive, not collaborative like Gen Y, says Jonah Stillman, an 18-year-old Gen Z consultant from Minneapolis, to Business Insider for its July 16 article.
Another teenage Gen Z consultant tells Business Insider that he doesn’t make friends in high school, he uses the building to network with other students.
Stillman writes in “I’m Not Texting. I’m Taking Notes.” in The New York Times on April 7:
“My friends and I are glued to our phones all day long. That’s just the way we are. Phones are crucial to our identities and lifestyle. Telling people in my generation to put our phones away is not a solution. Just ask our teachers how that has worked for them.”
— Jonah Stillman (@Jstillman17) April 9, 2017
Know Each Individual As a Brand
Business Insider quotes Melinda Guo, an 18-year-old soon-to-be freshman at Stanford, who co-founded Gen Z consulting firm, JÜV Consulting. She thinks being a “super-brander” is a characteristic of her generation:
“We grew up in a world where we had access to all these online tools at the tips of our fingers and Gen Z is more inclined to brand ourselves. We’re so used to creating our images on Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat. For us, to brand ourselves on a personal website or via a business is just second-nature.”
— Peter Tyras (@PeterTyras) June 26, 2017
Gen Z Understands This Is Its 15 Minutes of Fame
Even the teenage marketing consultants speaking with Business Insider know they’re only the new thing for now. “Influencers” have ephemeral shelf-lives.
“Though they’re still young, the Gen Z consultants we spoke to say they are acutely aware of how fast things can change and how quickly their skills can become irrelevant. Because of this, many of these teen entrepreneurs are hyper-focused on networking, hedging their bets and keeping their options open.”
Still, this is their time, says Connor Blakley, a Gen Z thought leader based in Cleveland. He tells Business Insider:
“I have cell phone numbers of billionaires and CEOs in my phone right now, all because of this thing. If I ever want to start something else, I’ll easily be able to. I honestly think I could do anything. If I started a company that specialized in making office supplies cool to Gen Z tomorrow, I could be a millionaire.”
What do you think, marketers?
Please respond in the comments section below.
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