When it comes to the topic of who best to promote your latest ethically manufactured clothing line or sustainably sourced farm goods, look no further than those born between 1997 to 2012.
Long before the pandemic, there has already begun a subtle shift in society and agriculture at a speed never before seen. This is no small feat achieved by emerging technology as well as the growing environmentally-cautious population. This recent trans-generational shift has brought along with it more than just a demographic change.
In the past, it was the millennial age group that brought along transformative changes in the business and production sector. Following their footsteps almost instantly so, are their offsprings who make up most of Generation Z.
Less than a decade since the last of this range was born, we are already seeing significant changes brought about in sectors such as marketing, entertainment, and politics, to name a few.
Generation Z, raised during the height of technological advancements and the inevitable value shift, have developed minds of their own in regards to the values they stand for and their exercise in free speech as encouraged by the internet.
It is certainly worth noting that social media has become synonymous with such a technology-driven generation, and its accessibility has thus made it far easier for Gen Z consumers to stay in tune with the advancing world.
Their willingness to listen to opinion leaders and ultimately follow their words have fashioned an entirely new subgenre of traditional promotion: influencer marketing. Social media agencies and mobile marketers have then strived to come up with a marketing strategy fine-tuned to the delicate needs of the growing generation to reach the influential voices of the enigmatic demographic group.
This brand of marketing especially resonates with “Gen Zers”, who have shown to be slightly more difficult to reach using traditional media channels such as good old-fashioned television or print media. They much prefer Netflix and digi-magazines.
It is an astounding feat in itself to connect with younger consumers, because these certain figureheads have shown to demonstrate immense buying power through the simple mention of brands in their posts or the casual affiliate links tagged in their captions.
Influencer marketing is expected to reach a whopping $15 billion in 2022, according to Business Insider Intelligence. Some established brands like Chobani, Verizon and Alaska Airlines have prioritized working with TikTok influencers as part of their recent marketing efforts, discarding traditional mediums.
Buying behaviour rooted in value
This certain age group, in comparison with its predecessors, have demonstrated time and time again their universal empathy for the social causes going around the world. Growing up in internet culture and normalizing influencer culture has made it possible for them to spend their money on brands that align with their moral ethics.
Generation Z are not fickle with their money, as they have shown to be more consumer-conscious and politically interested. They advocate for more brand transparency, authenticity, and honesty. Gen Zers have also proven they are unafraid to boycott companies over unethical business practices and false advertising, all at the drop of the hat and without preamble.
Gen Z consumers are smart and informed of their purchases, and try as best as they can to be as ethical as possible in doing so. They also take extra care in managing their finances and pay close attention to accounting trends. This can be a delicate line to thread as a brand owner, because at any slight misstep, this generation is also not afraid to call on the power of the internet’s “cancel culture”.
But once brands do manage to authentically empathize with a customer, they will find Gen Z consumers fiercely loyal in their advocacies. While Gen Z is quick to support brands that spotlight them as individuals, their altruistic and eco-conscious views shine through too.
Connecting with this generation means, as a brand, you are willing to be transparent in your business proceedings and staff treatment, all the while voicing practical concern over the many issues plaguing society.
According to a recent study, 98% of Generation Z own a smartphone and average more than 4 hours a day on any given app. However, it has also shown that their platform usage habits have slightly changed.
This generation has seemed to move beyond millennial-favoured e-commerce into one that has fashioned itself along with the booming demographic: social commerce. This is the practice of purchasing entirely through a social media platform, like Facebook’s Marketplace or Instagram’s in-house shopping column.
This is another thing adapted by traditional marketers to cater to their changing needs. The platform’s algorithm learns a user’s preferences, and in turn, suggests relevant recommendations.
This personalized shopping experience reduces the friction between purchase desire and checkout, making the entire buying experience more engaging as platforms continuously innovate using in-app filters, augmented reality, or live streams.
Social commerce platforms for Gen Z include Instagram, TikTok and Pinterest, to name a few. As a brand, you should bear in mind providing these customers with as much of a seamless experience as possible. Minimizing distraction and developing strategies that will reel in Gen Z is a sure way to secure a sale.
Instagram swipe-ups that take you directly to the product have been around for quite some time. However, it is their built-in shopping tab, that has managed to make real waves in the direction of social commerce. This has made brand visibility more accessible, making product promotion easier to showcase to a larger audience.
More than changing the healthcare model to significant leaps, the pandemic has also brought radical changes in the way consumers across age groups purchase just about anything.
The consumer patterns have been changing along with the shifting times, and no such catalyst can be better observed than Generation Z, whose evolving buying behaviour and purchasing decisions are as good as a textbook marketing blueprint for any modern-day marketer.