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Does It Matter If I Don’t Have My Driver’s License Yet?

Christina Nathanson |

Let me set the stage.  It’s time to get my son Joe off to school.  I give a five minute warning, “We need to leave in five minutes. You don’t want to miss the bus.” And this goes on…. “We need to leave in four…” Repeat. Joe has the attention span of… well let’s not go there.

This kid is the future shopper; and if a parent is unable to get her child’s attention, how do companies expect to keep this future profitable segment engaged?  These kids influence billions of their parents’  spending dollars, and soon will rule the world (well, at least financially, environmentally, and socially).

GenZ, which some are calling the generation that follows the millenials, is emerging as a demographic with a sense of individuality and drive. You may think it’s too early for marketers to understand their behaviors because they are too young to drive. Not really. Now is time to pay attention to their wants, needs, behaviors, and attitudes as they will shape the evolution of advertising over the next 25 years.

According to IPSOS MediaCT, GenZ users are more actively connected now than they were just three months ago. This demographic changes so quickly, more so than any generation before them, making our lives as marketers even more difficult. If that pattern stays true…brands have a lot of work to do.

Still think they’re too young?  Let’s talk about YouTube.

Nine-in-ten GenZers say they visit YouTube at least once a week and more than half visit multiple times a day.  Some L-O-V-E to share their knowledge, some like to share their opinions and many consume this knowledge. YouTube is a channel for shortcuts and workarounds and they go there because it is entertaining, fun, and they can learn new things. If they’re working on a school project, there is a good chance they’re going to be there anyway.  Hmmm…are we on to something?

Open platform communication? Co-creation online communities? Information sharing? Curated content?

GenZ does not have set times or patterns for viewing and listening so marketers should look past “prime time.”  Infuse a little bit of the unexpected in the brand interaction; make it fun and don’t take your brand too seriously.

Invite them in. Let them participate – don’t persuade. GenZ is attuned to utility and tends to gravitate toward media channels, which provide a sense of community and curation. Offer platforms that permit them to shape with your brand and through shareable content…this will increase their loyalty and influence factor.  Just give them an exchange in which they can easily see the benefit to them.

Generation Z is brand savvy. All they know is a digital playground. If your brand doesn’t want to be the last one hanging on the monkey bars: come out and play today.

Back to Joe. I asked, “What kept your attention from me this morning?”  He stated, “The Battle of Gettysburg.”  I was perplexed. “Mom, this kid made a cool Lego model with stop action. You have to see it on YouTube. Can I do this for my Civil War project?”  I smiled. He’s finally paying attention!

Topics: Economic Outlook

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1 Comment

  1. Janet N. said on April 3, 2013 at 12:31 am | Reply

    Hi, Tina,

    Very well written and informative. Generation Z is technologically savvy enough to absorb knowledge when suitably presented to them, i.e., an entertaining format that speaks to them not at them.

    Look forward to receiving your future entries on this blog.