This is a guest post from Technology Advice.
Who is Generation Z? Though they are often mislabeled as Millennials, the 72 million people comprise a unique generation on their own. Made up of the 72 million people born between 1996 and 2010, Gen Z is young, connected, and natives of the internet. Through their consumer power and their growing presence in business and retail as they age, Gen Z truly is changing the marketing industry. Here are 5 ways they’re doing it:
1. They like email.
Sure, Gen Z-ers might be doing other things on the internet more often than they are checking email. They do have a preference for texting, social media, and other apps. But they are open to using email, and they consider it an important tool for staying in touch, particularly with businesses and retailers. In fact, in a recent survey, 46 percent of them cited email marketing as an important factor in their buying decisions.
They are also incredibly open to their own future email use, even more so than other generations. While only 23 percent of members of Generation X and 36 percent of Millennials foresee their personal email use increasing over the next five years, 48 percent of Gen Z was able to say the same.
2. They are results-driven…and they can’t be tricked.
As net natives, Generation Z grew up with technology at its fingertips. They never experienced a world free of smartphones and social media like those in the generations before them. So they know how the internet works. They can spot sponsored content better than anyone else, but they still want to feel a connection with the companies they are buying from.
An IBM and National Retail Federation study found that “Gen Z-ers want to actively share their opinions, collaborate and co-create with brands.” Because of this, a personal approach is important when marketing to Generation Z. You need to really reach, and that isn’t always necessarily achieved solely through the product you are trying to pitch.
Truly unique products or services are rare these days. And the number of different places to buy online seems without limits. Whatever it is you are selling, your Gen Z buyers can likely get something similar from somewhere else. Because of this, you never want to focus on selling only the product. Instead, sell the results, the experience, and what you can do for them.
As you sell, and as they correspond with you directly, make sure you’re tracking the growth of those relationships through your customer relationship management system. By some estimates, a confirmed email contact, even if they haven’t purchased from you yet, is worth up to $30 in future revenue (or more, depending on what you’re selling.) Those contacts are incredibly valuable, so make sure you treat them that way.
3. You have to make it count.
Because they know they live, it is imperative to be strategic when marketing to Gen Z. To get—and more importantly, to keep—their attention, you have to ensure you are providing good quality content, with no filler.
Strategic timing is another key element of successful email marketing to Gen Z. Time your email blasts carefully, and make sure you aren’t sending out too many. They don’t check it all that often, and you want to have a meaningful presence in their inbox when they finally do open it. Too many emails will overwhelm and they will all get tossed in the trash.
Instead, use smart analytics to understand how your emails are being received, what subject lines will pique their interest, how often they are being opened, and when.
4. If it doesn’t work on mobile, it doesn’t work—period.
Chances are good your Gen Z recipients are checking their email, texts, and social media not on a desktop or laptop, but on mobile. That’s how they access most of the web. So your content is only going to get the job done if it functions flawlessly on that platform.
Ideally, your sites, emails and apps are mobile-first designed. At the very least, you need to ensure that all your text, photos, graphics, links and embedded videos all look great and load quickly when opened on a smartphone or tablet device.
With 85 percent of Generation Z citing an easy mobile experience as the most important element of making a purchase, optimizing your mobile display in every email is a step you definitely cannot skip.
We should assume no one will take the time to read through an email that is formatted poorly or doesn’t show up well on a phone. And, since they likely won’t take time to reread it later on a computer, make sure you get it right the first time, every time.
5. They are the future…
…and as such, they represent the coming New Normal. Though some Gen Zers are still pretty young, overall their generation is the one we should start tailoring our marketing strategies to.
They do—or are at least starting to—hold buying power. A recent survey of digital marketers found that 62 percent of digital advertising’s decision makers have their sights set on Gen Z. They consider them a top priority, more so even than Baby Boomers or Millennials, perhaps in part because they know Gen Zers are starting to act on brand preferences now.
Though members of Generation Z are still young—the oldest among them are just now entering their 20s—they are starting to make buying decisions that will shape the brand landscape for years to come. Now is the time to be making plans for how to meet the demands of this connected, force-to-be-reckoned-with generation.
Laura Hudgens is a writer for TechnologyAdvice.com. She is a communications instructor and freelance writer who studies and writes about technology, media, science, and health.