Gen Zers, the Next Phase!
Still seeing Millennials as the biggest challenge? No, open your eyes wide and look at the bigger picture. The future has arrived! The new generation looming on the horizon, the Gen Z is here! Most of the people would still see them as children, teen or youth who are obsessed with their smartphones. But their presence must not be viewed in such an insignificant manner. Beware! They possess much more advanced set of needs and they demand value for money. This is the most diverse generation in the world history who hold a very untraditional set of views on gender and equality. They are informed and much more powerful than Millennials. No matter in which business you are engaged in, it is a must for you to get to know about Gen Z; who they are? What they think? And what they want?
Gen Y was born in between 1982-1994 and Gen Z was born in between 1995- 2012. It is a common misconception among many to think that these two generations are almost the same. No, they have completely 2 different viewpoints. This is because Gen Y was the first generation of the Post Industrial Era ushered in the computer age. Whereas, Gen Zers came of age during an era of disruption. So a breakthrough of new technology is not a wow factor for them who have dealt with immense number of tech tools.
The interesting fact is that the Gen Zers were born into a world which is fighting against climatic change, terrorism and economic recessions. These dark forces have made them more pragmatic and cautious. At the same time these has provided them with the inspiration to change the world, which is more likely that they would actually take a step ahead to achieve it. The last letter of the alphabet, Z is being used as their code name because the world believes that these new thinkers will mark the end of clearly defined roles, traditions and experiences. Something which is already found, already taught, and already seen is boring for them. They always seek for new challenges and experiences which will amaze them in their daily lives.
Majority of the Gen Zers were born into nuclear families where gender roles have been overlapped. They are experiencing a world where everything physical has its own digital equivalent. Gen Zers have the vision to see a digital layer in everything that they encounter. Simply they don’t distinguish the physical world from the digital world but, simply see them as one. Plus, they are also referred to as the “always online” generation who has never seen a world without smartphones, internet, computers and specially Google! Their brains have the extraordinary capacity to stare at screens and absorb a large amount of information. Social media (Instergram, Whatsapp, Snapchat, and Facebook etc.) are like their body parts. They have begun to socialize through digital platforms. But some researches indicate that their information sectors of the brain have greatly expanded and sectors responsible for social skill development has been delayed when compared to previous generations. Gen Zers tend to be sincere, reflective, thick skinned, and self-directed and will likely approach work in much the same way. In a mirror view, Gen Zers at workplace are; HackerZ who are fixing, changing, creating better solutions and finding better ways to do things! ; CuratorZ who doesn't consume content, but create it! ; GreekZ who aren't followers, but preferring to be offbeat and quirky! ; HeroZ who shuns social conformity and wants to make a difference in the world! ; BuilderZ who are driven to build but, seek to conserve! Therefore Gen Z, in a more optimistic viewpoint, is an asset to any organization. So how do you embrace Gen Z at your workplace? You must provide them with these appetizers; opportunity to continually collaborate, create, lead and learn (they are Problem Solvers); structure, goals, challenges, and a way to measure their progress (they are a Stressful Workforce); time and freedom to come up with innovations (they possess Creativity); multi-faceted, avoiding clearly defined labels and linear thinking (they need Skill Analysis).
Here are some interesting American survey findings about Gen Z;
Gen Z wants to be challenged Gen Z prefer face-to-face communication Gen Z is carrier focused Gen Z is college bound Gen Z are interactive learners Gen Z is seeking financial security Gen Z values leaders who are positive and trustworthy
Another important aspect is marketing to Gen Zers. If your brand relies on younger audience then it is high time that you get to know their needs. Developing you marketing program to catch the attention of these Gen Zers is actually a challenge. For them relevancy matters. They have an “eight second filter” which requires information to prove its relevancy fast or they will remove it from their attention. Being grown in a generation with digital flood of information they are experts to cut through noise. Survey studies shows 60% of Gen Z shoppers won’t use apps or websites that load slowly and difficult to navigate. And 60% of them will hang up if their call to a business isn’t answered within 45 seconds. They often rely on influencers and curators to filter what they need.
Gen Zers are naturally resistant to traditional sales and marketing approaches. In order to get through their “eight second filter’, marketers need to arm themselves with smart, engaging and authentic tactics. Interestingly they are more attracted to ads which are funny and humorous, with good music, which has an interesting story and uses special effects. Their purchase decision depends on price, shared values, social media presence and friends’ influence. Also, they are not fond of paying the full price and expects discounts, rewards etc. And they want very few products to be ever out of stock. Gen Zers by their nature are less loyal to brands coz they favor cost over image. They seamlessly shift in between digital and physical channels when they shop. They enjoy shopping in stores but for convenience they shop online. What matters most for them are availability, experience and value. Most of the time they carry purchases through their smartphone, laptop, tablet or wearable devices. Social media tends to be the most cost effective advertising media to reach the Gen Z consumers.
By understanding these it is necessary to think how to optimize your marketing content to reach Gen Z;
In order to become a successful businessman, both now and in future you must pay your attention to these key areas; Gen Z is fresh, informative and possess many distinguishing features from Millennials hence never under-estimate their presence and needs in the marketplace; having prepared to embrace them, they can actually become an asset for your business; optimize your marketing program to meet the ever evolving standards of Gen Z. Having done these still, it won’t guarantee you a sustainable competitive advantage. Continue your research and keep your senses open because, the next on line is Generation Alpha who is absolutely much more advanced and challenging than Gen Zers! By; Sapna Ravishika BA(Hons) International Business & Finance – University of the West of Scotland