Generation Z: The Future of Marketing According to Consumer Behavior: Buying, Having, and Being, “An age cohort consists of people of similar ages who have similar experiences. They share many common memories about cultural heroes, important historical events, and so on” (Solomon, 2008, pg. 548). Solomon (2008), also says, that marketers target products and services to a specific age cohort. This being said, I chose Generation Z because as a marketer, this age cohort is the future of marketing.
As I will explain throughout this paper, Generation Z is ever changing the way that they view and absorb media, therefore, marketers will need to evolve their marketing efforts with this generation. What is Generation Z? Generation Z is the newest and most recent generation category. According to Babyboomercaretaker. com, “The generation Z is the latest generation who were born after 1994 and before 2004. Many of them are in their early. This particular generation is still in a stage of evolution and they are yet to learn several things in life. ” (2007).
The generation Z is also called the silent generation, iGeneration, generation quiet and net generation. Generation Z takes up 18 percent of the world’s population. For generation Z, computer technologies and the Internet is the common place. All their communication takes place on the internet and they show very little verbal communication skills. They are very impatient as they desire instant results. The Internet is there and they take it for granted. They do not consider it to be the greatest tool for mankind as it has always been there for them.
They do not believe in personally meeting their friends and developing relationships. They’d rather text than talk. They prefer to communicate online — often with friends they have never met. They don’t spend much time outdoors unless adults organize activities for them. They can’t imagine life without cell phones. They have never known a world without technology or terrorism or Columbine. They prefer computers to books and want instant results. They are growing up in an economic depression and are under tremendous pressure to succeed. Mostly they are growing up fast, and exhibiting behavior far beyond their years.
They are children of Generation X parents, who came of age during the greatest technological leap in history, and they are headed for an even greater leap forward as they come of age this decade. Marketing to Generation Z When looking at Generation Z, brands and marketers need to recognize that the prospective consumer has become an expert brander themselves. Generation Z understands the implications of tagging photos and de-tagging others, and that endorsing products with a simple “Like” button can bring either scrutiny or praise. Generation Z is a generation of self-branders.
They’re not easily impressed with old marketing tactics because they themselves are realizing that there is a new way that is more effective: viral, a self-defining endorsement. In this new world, simplicity and transparency will reign. This information is not necessarily negative. Generation Z is not as skeptical of advertising as previous generations, but they are smarter and savvier. They are multi-taskers, and they are evolving to cope with the ever-increasing volume of media byproducts by becoming astutely skeptical and relentlessly discriminating.
According to an article by imediaconnection. com, there are a few specific characteristics possessed by Generation Z that actually make it easier for marketers to connect to them. Social Media “Generation Z saw the first president within their lifetime become elected through the mass efforts of the social networking technorati” (Cross-Bystrom, 2010). Thanks to Facebook, Skype, Facetime, etc. , they are communicating in a “real” way with family members and friends across the country, or even around the world, without being in the same physical space.
Generation Z has begun to redefine “face-to-face” interaction, and they know how to maximize it, too. Generation Z-ers will mobilize around causes that they care about, and they look to be even more socially and environmentally aware and concerned than Generation Y. It is also very likely that because they are so naturally tech savvy, they will do things bigger, better, and at a younger age than previous generations. As marketers, we should obviously be looking to engage with Generation Z in ways that are not only meaningful, but that are also highly actionable, such as digitally downloadable and socially uploadable.
According to imediaconnection. com, “our challenge will be to embrace these contributions as long-term investments toward building lasting relationships” (Cross-Bystrom, 2010). Generation Z is Younger and Smarter Weened on technology and social media, Generation Z-ers at 20 will also more closely resemble present understandings of the 30-year-old consumer. Because of simulated social media games such as Farmville, Generation Z is practically born business savvy. Imediaconnection. com says, “their mantra might likely become: “Take fewer risks, but take the right risks. They’re calculated and practical, and the most effective marketing aimed at Generation Z will have to be as well” (Cross-Bystrom, 2010). It will be our charge to keep up with them or suffer the wrath of Generation Z ignoring the messages. “Their greatest strength threatens to become one of marketing’s greatest risks: underestimating the maturity of the Generation Z consumer” (Cross-Bystrom, 2010). They are not like the youth of the past. Brand communications need to be mindful of this information. Influences This generation, like those before them, looks to their friends as the authority on products and brands.
While this may not seem to be much of a ground-breaking observation, it becomes interesting when one considers how fast this happens now. Because of the speed with which Generation Z consumes media, it is very likely that the key “moment of discrimination” inevitably will be highly influenced by an almost immediate social response. Simply put, as soon as a brand communication is made live, such as put on Facebook or Twitter, it will immediately come with a publicized reaction. The task then becomes how to best compel Generation Z to market for us. Imediaconnection. om uses the Facebook “like” button as an example, “Consider the “Like” button present on many social networking sites. “Like”-ing a product might provoke friends to do similarly, and spontaneous brand loyalty will be spawned from the consumers themselves” (Cross-Bystrom, 2010). As marketers, we must view Generation Z as marketing allies, be open to their involvement, and work to provide them with increasingly interesting and unique ways to customize, share, and market for us. Conclusion As this generation changes the way they are exposed and absorb media, marketers must change the way they put information out there.
For now, the social media revolution seems to be the direction that Generation Z is going. The fact that the direction can change abruptly and without notice, forces marketers to be on their toes. I think that this evolution is going in a positive direction. The main focus must be to always keep Generation Z in the back of your mind as a marketer. As important as it is to market to the present, it is just as important to be looking into the future.
References Babyboomercaretaker. com. (2007). Generation Z. Retrieved December 17, 2010 from http://www. babyboomercaretaker. om/baby-boomer/generation-z/index. html Cross-Bystrom, Angela. (2010). Imediaconnection. com. What you need to know about Generation Z. Retrieved December 18, 2010 from http://www. imediaconnection. com/content/27425. asp Posnick-Goodwin, Sherry. (2010). California Teachers Association. Meet Generation Z. Retrieved December 17, 2010 from http://www. cta. org/Professional-Development/Publications/Educator-Feb-10/Meet-Generation-Z. aspx Solomon, M. (2008). Consumer behavior: Buying, having and being. (8th ed. ). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.