Tuesday, December 13, 2011

How to market to Gen Z - reach the young and make them loyal for longer

Marketing is often trying to target the young. Partly because they are the trend setters, and partly because the earlier you "get them", the more loyal they become. 

According to Martin Lindstrom in his book Brandwashed53% of adults and 56% of teens used brands they remembered from their childhoods, especially foods, beverages, and health-care and consumer/household goods. For example: once a boy has tried a Gillette shaver twice, there is a staggering 92% chance he will continue using the brand as an adult.

I did some research on Generation Z (born somewhere from 1991: different researchers, different opinions…) and my conclusion is that if you want to reach this audience your marketing needs to be:

DIGITAL: Gen Z are true digital natives — having grown-up on iPods, text messaging, Facebook, smart phones and YouTube. Internet is a natural part of their life. They are coming of age publicly on the web, are true multi-taskers and have a no-holds-barred attitude about blogging and digital publishing. They'd rather text than talk. They prefer to communicate online — often with friends they have never met. Privacy is for older generations; Gen Z has nothing to hide.

MOBILE: They can’t imagine life without cell (smart) phones. Your brand needs to be found in their mobiles.

FUNNY: Marketers will need to focus on entertaining Gen Z – potentially incorporating self-publishing tools into marketing campaigns — to make a connection, then add a brand message. Let Gen Z take control of your brand by fusing entertainment with user-generated content.

IMMEDIATE: They want instant gratification – I would suggest they need constant entertainment and rewards here and now.

SOCIAL – NOT JUT ABOUT YOU?: Gen Z has grown up with social communities, such as Facebook. Meeting, befriending and interacting with the online community is second nature. They have lots of friends and like sharing.

COMPLEX - "They have been exposed to so much information, music, movies, cultures and photos their capacity to absorb information is breathtaking. They become incredibly knowledgeable about their passions because they have access to a mountain of information that we never had. Co-operating with others and problem-solving will be second nature to Z.” (Mark McCrindle)

CONSCIOUS - SERIOUS (?): They have never known a world without terrorism or Columbine. 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 growing up fast also because their families are smaller, parents are older and most mothers are in the workforce.
McCrindle: "All the research we've done shows gen Y lacks resilience and a work ethic. Generation Z is different."
IBISWorld's Phil Ruthven is also optimistic about Gen Z. He classifies them as "adaptives" - a "silent" generation that is obedient and socially aware and has scruples.

HAPPY? They are fatter than any other generation and their mental health, which is critical, is actually very poor. This suggests that they would be open for messages that makes them smile.

More about marketing/branding to children (from Lindstrom, Brandwashed):
  • Studies have shown that by the time they are 36 months old, American children recognize an average of 100 brand logos. A Nickelodeon study found that by the age of ten, the average child has committed anywhere between 300 and 400 brands to memory. 
  • Newborn babies will actually show a preference for a TV theme song that was heard frequently by their mothers during their pregnancies. 
  • In one study researchers found that mothers who ate a lot of food with the taste of garlic or vanilla during the last 3 months of pregnancy, had babies that chose milk that smelled like garlic or vanilla over milk that didn´t.  A 2001 experiment found that babies whose mothers drank carrot juice during pregnancy later expressed preference for carrot-flavoured cereal over the plain variety. 

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