Technological Natives | What they mean for the world of Marketing
A couple weeks ago I had the pleasure of visiting with some friends and their little ones for the weekend, something I always look forward to because I can tap into my inner childhood. As soon as I showed up at their home, their 6 year old literally ran up to me with so much excitement I don’t know how he went from being on the ground to slung over my shoulder. “COME PLAY MY NEW GAME!” he ordered. Waving hello quickly to my friends I was pulled by this miniature hand through the house. I was anticipating being lead to the backyard to embark on an adventure from this little minds imagination. I don’t know if it’s the fact that I grew up in the middle of no where and had dial up until I was 16, but his version of playing a game was far different than my 6 year old self’s. Instead, he brought me to … an IPad to play a game called Trucks HD. For those of you sans kids, this game is basically the kids version of Grande Theft Auto.
Not only was he able to recite an entire tutorial of the game to me, he knew how to work the IPad in more of a fluid fashion than I was able to, no hesitation. It was as if this technological platform was just another limb on his body, the brain thought – the IPad performed.
This entire situation had me thinking about what this technological savvy generation, Generation Z (born 1995 and up), means to the world of marketing. How do we inspire, attract and convince a generation, who act as if technology is an extension of their own body, to consume and be brand loyal?
Shaped by growing up surrounded by a handful of global issues (9/11, the recession, the war on terror, etc) Business Insider defines the generation who has never known a world without Wifi, cell phones or tablets as one with some pretty endearing personality traits: they are educated, collaborative, excellent at fishing for information quickly, interested in changing the world (for the better), are frugal and prefer home-cooked meals over microwave and ready to eat dinners.
Here is a checklist created by Sparks & Honey, an agency based out of New York, aimed at connecting with Generation Z.
1. Depict them as diverse: ethically, sexually, fashionably
2. Talk in images: emojis, symbols, pictures, videos
3. Communicate more frequently in shorter bursts of “snackable content”
4. Don’t talk down, talk to them as adults, even about Global issues
5. Assume the have opinions and are vocal, influencing family decisions
6. Make stuff – or help Gen Z make stuff
7. Tap into their “want to be an entrepreneur” spirit
8. Be humble.
9. Give them control and preference settings
10. Collaborate with them – help them collaborate with other
11. Tell your story across multiple screens
12. Live stream with them or give them live streaming access
13. Optimize your search results (they do their internet research)
14. Talk to them about value (they care about the cost of things)
15. Include a social cause that they can fight for
16. Have your house in order (in terms of sustainability)
17. Help them build expertise… they want to be an expert
18. Tease (think: ephemeral, puzzles, surprises and games)
19. Feed their curiosity
20. Feed them
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS?
When I initially started studying technology and it’s effects I must admit I was a bit of a luddite. After subsequent research I think I’m all for it. Generation Z is a generation to fear. Their brains may not be wired the way that ours are, but they have evolved with the times. They can take in a lot more information at one time than the millennials are able to and literally have all the information at their finger tips. There are 2 generation Z’s who have already discovered different methods in which to discover cancer in its early stages; via Macleans. Their eager ability to devise, create and conquer makes it even more important for brands to establish themselves, why should these consumers purchase your good when they can create it on their own? Perhaps this generation may not be as socially intelligent as the ones preceding (need to give the earlier generations some sort of credit), their initiative to invent and better the world is quite strong.
Will this generation create a difficult path for the marketing world, or must we do what they have seamlessly done and adapt & evolve?