Get ready to market to Generation Z

Thu, 25/10/2018 - 15:00

Suddenly it seems like everyone is talking about Generation Z. It might be coincidental. But it’s most likely not. People, particularly marketers, are realising just how important this generation is.

Perhaps it’s a slow news day in the content marketing world. Maybe it’s because a bunch of them are writing their matric exams right now. It very possibly could be a case of the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon.

Whatever the reason, this post-Millennial generation, born in the early 1990s until about 2012 (depending on who you ask), is attracting plenty of attention. As they should. And it’s important that the best marketing agencies in South Africa understand what makes this generation tick. We wrote about them a few years ago, discussing their influence on the economy, business and marketing. We discussed how they’re a generation that’s never known a world without the internet.

Role in the future

Back when we first wrote about Generation Z, they were dubbed The Founders after MTV had asked members of this generation to name themselves. They said then that they were optimistic about the future and their role in helping to create it. Now they appear to be keeping it simple, going by Generation Z. 

These young people, aged about 25- to six-years-old, account for about 35 percent of South Africa’s population. They have the spending and decision-making power to wield, with more disposable income than their parents, and this will only become more prevalent as this generation comes of age.

Important players in the economy

Earlier this week, the Content Marketing Institute published an article highlighting the importance of Generation Z. This generation, its Director of Editorial Content & Curation, Jodi Harris wrote, were in their early years or on the cusp of adulthood, entering the workforce and becoming important players in the economy. In the article, she argued that companies must rethink their attitudes toward and relationships with Generation Z.

“One thing about Gen Z – or any other generation – is that the best way to learn who they are and what content experiences they want brands to provide is to spend some time engaging with them on a personal level.
“Deploying an audience survey through email; sparking a community discussion on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter; organizing a focus group; or even just asking Gen Z coworkers for their ideas and opinions are a few ways you can gain valuable, real-world insights to inform your content efforts.”

The most important step for all marketers, Harris said, is to truly understand this generation and their wants and needs before adding to the noise.

Closer to home, earlier this month youth agency Student Village released the results of its latest Youth Culture Report. Calling this generation the Centennials, it dispelled previously long-held perceptions that they were “lazy and entitled; defiant of authority and therefore unemployable”.

Influence on brands

The report detailed this generation’s massive impact on the economy, their influence on deciding which brands succeeded and which didn’t, and their entrepreneurial hustle.

"Our research shows that this generation has serious spending power, spending R32-billion per annum, which is more than the average South African," Student Village CEO Marc Kornberger said.

"We know that brands want to target them, but don’t know how to be relevant. The research aimed to dive deeper into the new youth generation, looking at their drivers, values and what makes them tick."

This was the generation, he said, that was willing to take risks and start their own businesses. 

Benefits of online savvy

And it’s their online savvy which is helping them to do exactly that. Knowing how to navigate the ins and outs of social media means that this generation, whether they’re earning their rands as the country’s hottest young entrepreneurial success story, as a creative director in Cape Town or at a performance marketing agency in Johannesburg, will succeed. Because they’ll make sure of that.

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