Innumerable articles have been written on the millennial generation — who they are, how to reach them, what they want from their brands and so much more. We’ve been inundated with thought pieces on this group — defined as those who came to young adulthood around the year 2000 — but far less has been written on the next upcoming generation of consumers — Generation Z. This group, generally considered to be those who were born in 1995 or later, is the largest percentage of the U.S. population — more than 25%. This group contributes approximately $44 billion to the American economy, and by 2020 they will account for one-third of the U.S. population. It’s time to take this group seriously and begin customizing sales strategies exclusively to their habits and preferences.
At Pink Lily, teens and people in their young 20s are a major subset of our customer base, and working with them has taught us some important lessons on the ways they differ from older generations. We know that applying marketing and sales strategies that have historically worked for millennials, Generation X or boomers will simply not be as effective as making special considerations specifically for Generation Z. To that end, I’d like to share a few actionable ideas for reaching this key group of consumers.
1. Improve Brand Building
For Generation Z consumers, simple engagement via social media isn’t enough. To reach this group, businesses must take it a step further and begin offering tools, platforms and opportunities to support this group in their ongoing personal brand building. Many Gen Zers are actively managing a personal social media presence and are always on the lookout for fun, thoughtful, eye-catching and intriguing ways to increase their number of followers and enhance their personal image. An example of helping Generation Z consumers build their own brands might be setting up a compelling “Insta wall” in your store, complete with a novel and interesting backdrop, photo props and creative hashtags to encourage in-store Instagram photos and posts. As consumers are interacting with your brand, they’re also growing their own personal brands. It’s a win-win scenario.
2. Offer Partnerships
As a highly entrepreneurial generation, many members of Gen Z constantly look for opportunities to work independently, even in a part-time capacity. Brainstorm opportunities to engage assistance from this business-minded and creative group of consumers by offering paid partnerships, part-time brand ambassadors, sales generators, social media influencer swaps and other avenues for personal income generation. Even if the opportunity for pay is small or dependent on factors like sales or social engagement, the concept will be intensely appealing to many people in this entrepreneurship-focused group. By creating new channels for Gen Z entrepreneurs to partner with your brand, you’ll attract more customers and build brand loyalty over time.
3. Be Quick About It
One of the primary differentiators between millennials and Generation Z is the latter’s reputation of having a shorter attention span. Generation Z has been painted as an unfocused group that can’t finish what it starts, but the truth isn’t quite that bleak. In reality, this group of young people has cultivated an ability to discern value and interest at a faster pace than any previous generation. Generation Z is flipping through and analyzing content at light speed, so in order to stand out your brand must present its value as quickly and efficiently as possible. When it comes to selling, a 30-second commercial is simply too long-winded for many members of this generation. Instead, think in terms of Snapchat and similar short-format promotions. You have a very brief window to catch this audience’s attention, so you better make your content sing.
If your brand or product targets or seeks to target our youngest generation, attention must be paid to these specialized recommendations. By considering many of those in Generation Z’s individual social media priorities, limited attention span and entrepreneurial spirit, your company will elevate its approach above that of your competition. This strategy takes time, careful thought and investment, but the return in sales is well worth the effort.
About the Author
Chris Gerbig is Co-Founder, President and COO of Pink Lily, one of the fastest-growing online retailers of women’s clothing in the US. Read the original article on Forbes.com