Marketing to Generation Z: Transparency and the Bigger Picture

The glory days of Millennials are over, and Generation Z is in. This population of youth, born after the advent of the internet, is just hitting the cusp of 19, but marketers are shifting their aims to capture the untold spending treasures behind this powerful young audience.

While defining Generation Z is hard to do in exact terms, many marketers have used this moniker as a categorical reference to the babies born after 1996—following these standards, they make up a population of 60 million Americans, outnumbering their Millennial predecessors and Baby Boomers by a large margin.

With the bulk of these adolescents growing up in a world rife with connectivity, they have become an audience well-versed in brand development at a ripe young age. These individuals can’t remember a time without social media, are privy to a larger cache of information from childhood, and have never lived without the convenience of a smartphone. Due to their overwhelming Internet access and shifting generational values, this new group of consumers requires an entirely new method of advertising focused on transparency, social good, short form content, and the entrepreneurial spirit.

Get More by Doing Less

Due to this access, they’ve garnered the ability to take in and process bevies of information at lightning speed—and lose interest just as fast. This desire for quick information is reflected in the most popular social media outlets. Snapchat, Twitter, and Instagram are platforms that thrive on quick, easily understood messages. Marketers have had to come up with new ways to get their message across in a matter of seconds, in a minimal amount of words with large, powerful imagery for retention and clarity of brand and service. Marketers need to determine the ways they can communicate their brand in quick, short bursts to create a lasting impression on individuals that are inundated with troves of new information with every minute spent on the Internet.

The Entrepreneurial Spirit

Coined as the first “technology natives”, this generation looks favorably on businesses and brands that can provide what they can’t already do themselves. Generation Z is resourceful, mature, and driven; as such, companies and their marketing schemes need to focus on how they can improve their consumers’ lives. Brands need to advertise with the intent of helping these individuals learn; whether it’s how-tos or educational videos, this generation thrives off the marketing tools which make daily life that much easier.

A good example of that comes from the company called, Uncharted Supply Co, who released a how-to video for their Seventy2 Hour Survival Bag here. Another great example of a how-to video comes from Raskullz, who show kids how to attach training wheels to their bikes and also decorate helmets here. The step-by-step instructional video goes along way for consumers today because of easy way for consumers to learn the ins and outs of the product.

In the same spirit of entrepreneurism, the idea of “being true to themselves” is important and should trickle over into how marketers approach them. This generation prides itself on being nontraditional and nonconformist, and is also one of the most creative, with a cache of outlets in which to express their personally created material. Over 25 percent post an original video or creation online weekly, with a whopping 65 percent expressing interest in creating and sharing social content. Generation Z is more apt to go for a product or service that allows for creativity, and marketing should reflect this.

Transparency is Key

Because of this entrepreneurial spirit, Generation Z is not open to gimmicks, and don’t want to be “sold to” so much as collaborated with. Having seen the rise and fall of the generations before them, transparency and honesty are projected to be favored over popularity—practicality will triumph over promotions and ploys. This transparency relates to authenticity, a value Gen “Z-ers” seek in every facet of their life, including advertising.

Company values directly relate to ROI for a generation of globally conscious individuals. Take Toms Shoes, for example. This socially responsible company appeals to both transparency and to the desire of this generation to make the world a better place. Toms shows consumers where their money goes, with a pair of shoes donated to a deserving child with every sale. Promoting social values can also mean gaining an edge on the competition. As this generation prizes social good, the value of a company like Toms—and their charitable aims—may encourage a consumer to choose their product over the similar offerings of a competitor.

Transparency is also important in industries that are misconstrued as tough or non-consumer friendly. Car dealerships also fall victim to losing customers because of a lack of transparency in their operations. Transparency becomes even more important when branching out into a new market.

For example, at our new venture, Texas Hard Money, we must show any first-time customer that our processes are unique, easily understood, and in the best interest of the market.

This up and coming population of adolescents already hold a strong sense of power over consumer decisions; influencing their parents buying habits and becoming informed at a young age of the power of their money. Marketers looking to capture this audience must revamp their strategy, utilizing social media outlets to their full potential and emphasizing the values Generation Z holds so dear.




Author Bio: Sacha Ferrandi is the founder of Source Capital Funding, Inc., a direct lender specializing in funding loans secured by real estate.