Move over millennials, here comes Gen Z …

Really?

Yes. That was the mission statement every attendee at the Youth Marketing Summit 2019 walked away with, indelibly inscribed into the backs of their minds. Gen Z’s are taking center stage everywhere; just look at Greta Thunberg in Sweden this week.

I think it’s fair to say that every marketeer spent two days at the event feeling slightly baffled and left with sheer panic at the thought of concocting new marketing strategies aimed at this age group.

The big question on everyone’s lips: how can brands keep up and adapt? Panic not. We’re going to share a few of the tips that came out of the event to help you on your way …

For those of you not in the know, Gen Z is the generation on their way up the ranks now – that generation AFTER the millennials. Think those born after 1995. These Gen Z’s could already be in their mid-20’s, with spending power and brand loyalty. I know – where does the time go? We have Gen Alpha and Beta following FYI. The look of confusion when someone dropped ‘Gen Alpha’ into a key note, was a funny distraction. Sorry … I digress.

These Gen Z’s grew up in a very different time. Millennials have silver spoon syndrome (I’ve newly coined this and think we should trademark it really), while research shows that given Gen Z’s grew (and are still growing!) up in a recession, they want to work harder and are willing to graft. This research also states that Gen Z’s aspire to work in creative, interesting and rewarding roles and that they are ready for business at a young age. This new generation has technical knowledge and creative vision – easy to nurture if spending your time creating memes and cultivating a social fan base. Okay, enough on setting the scene, let’s get down to business …

The resounding message that came out of last week’s conference, was that brands need to deliver personalized – and relevant – messages that resonate with this new generation.

Brands should go to where the action is. Not Facebook, but Instagram, and more specifically Instagram stories. Brands that can create creative and personalized content that is easy to consume are winning. YouTube is also key with 50 per cent of Gen Z’s not being ‘able to live without YouTube’ (I’m sorry – what?! GO AND PLAY OUTSIDE IN THE GARDEN)

Make sure you’re automating and testing EVERYTHING. Test ad variations, images, different influencers and the rest. The more you test, the more data you’ll get and the more accurate you can be with your content and messaging. You won’t know what works until you give it a go. This holds true for any brand, and it’s something we’re doing at Insight TV on a daily basis.

Work with the right influencers. Gen Z has redefined the word ‘celebrity’. Gone are the days of Brangelina and Kate Hudson (ehrmagod I’m so old!) Instead they relate to internet ‘celebs’ who are closer to their age and experience. Indeed, did you know that 40% of Gen Z say that their favorite YouTuber understands them better than their own friends? SHOCKING, but true. But, a word to the wise – avoid the mega ‘influencers’ who are clearly paid for each post by different bands and cost a lot of money. Instead, explore working with micro influencers who have approx. 10,000 followers that are authentic and have high engagement.

And, going back to the setting of the scene – play to the Gen Z’s entrepreneurial spirit. Gen Z’s want brands to understand who they are, and they are more likely to get behind a brand if they share and practice similar values. A simple way of doing this is using relevant hashtags such as #girlboss or choosing young business owners as brand ambassadors.

I like to think we are ahead of the game. At Insight TV we’re creating content targeted at millennials, but we’re also looking ahead at the future. We have an exciting new show with younger YouTube talent coming up later in the year which will appeal directly to this Gen Z we speak of. We are constantly testing and reviewing our content and social strategy. We ensure all our content sits naturally on linear, SVOD and social. We work closely with millennial and Gen Z influencers in our key markets and are always looking for new ways to engage with these important audiences. But we are always looking to improve, and we’ll take these learning and implement them – as should you.

Go forth and start marketing to these Gen Z’s – as I said, we’re getting old, and these are the newbies on the block. It’s time to start engaging with them … even if they do seem like aliens right now!

Poppy Mason Watts

Poppy Mason Watts

With nearly 10 years’ experience in PR and Marketing across Asia and Europe, Poppy looks after the global PR, events and affiliate marketing at Insight TV.