Marketers have a lot to be excited about. We are moving towards an entirely digital world, where CMOs and industry leaders can access a diversity of information, launch global campaigns, and rapidly test ideas, all from a few clicks. What is even more compelling is that customers are hungry for new information, and are actually driving the direction of industries through their vocal tastes and preferences.
That customer is Generation Z. Born in this age of connectedness, the Gen Z consumer is particularly neat. While many marketers are hyperfocused on the challenge, the problems that come with trying to caputure the attention of this customer, optimistic and determined Marketing Officers are excited by the potential of this consumer group.
And that enthusiasm is driven by the sheer size of this opportunity. Move over millennials, Generation Z is about to make serious waves. They already have a combined buying power of $43 Billion and an additional $600 Billion of family spending money. Those numbers, though they look big, are really just the tip of the iceberg. You see, the oldest of this cohort is just about to start college, meaning there is so much room for them to grow as they gain independence and start entering the workforce. Once they start making money for themselves and their families, you’ll see both of those numbers rise dramatically.
More than a quarter of America’s population currently belongs to Gen Z, with over 350,000 babies born every single day. That number is on the up and up. By 2020, Gen Z will represent 40% of all consumers. Clearly, they are going to be an important stakeholder in the economy for years to come. And in an insightful marketers mind, that means more disposable income, which converts to more revenue.
We know that Gen Z will play a large role in the future, but what does that role really look like?
Consumers, in the traditional sense of the word, digest and take. They utilize resources. But Generation Z has completely disrupted this concept. They are consumers but only in the sense that they interact with brands.
In many cases, these “consumers” are really creators. Children of all ages, today, have access to publishing their ideas through popular media like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat. In just a few clicks, they can broadcast their faces and voices through live video or audio and reach tons of their friends and family.
Never before have we seen such a group eager to share ideas and voice their opinions. CMOs and Marketing Leaders see this as a huge opportunity to create interactions between Gen Z and companies. Gen Z has ideas, brands and companies just have to listen!
The old days of marketing were really tiring and manual. If you wanted to reach one customer, let alone millions, you’d have to individually reach out to them, probably in person, and somehow grab their attention.
Those days are long gone. And any digital marketer will tell you that changing consumer behaviors (also known as the evolution of Generation Z) is responsible for this shift.
Nowadays, marketers go to where the “cool kids” are hanging. And today, that is on popular social networks like Instagram and Snapchat. Through those advertising networks, you can push out messages to the millions from the convenience of your office. How crazy is that? If we look back 20 years at the development of modern advertising, we can clearly see just how far we have come. Now imagine how far we will advance over the next 20 years. How easy will it be to start conversations with consumers?
Gen Z values this transparency. They want to see brands that are open, real, and genuine. 34% of Gen Z consumers wants brands to reach out to them on social media, just as they would their friends. They prefer this sense of intimacy and see through the formality and ingenuity of traditional advertising.
CMOs should be excited about this future - where companies can start building real relationships with customers. They can finally pull down the facade that is covering the imperfections of their brand. They will start interacting with customers as they would treat friends and family members. Gen Z wants to see and hear everything. Technology has enabled and empowered this idea - and popularized brands who prioritize this openness and transparency.