For the past few years, the marketing world has largely prioritized millennials, a group dubbed by Digiday as "the most studied generation in history." But there's another group that may prove even more important to reach: Generation Z.
According to The New York Times, this generation includes people born between 1996 and 2010. Though most Gen Zers are still relatively young, The Huffington Post reported that by 2020, this group will account for 40 percent of all customers.
So, how will marketers reach this generation? Here are six strategies you can use to connect with the customers of the future.
1. Focus on Experiences
According to Entrepreneur, members of Gen Z value sharing experiences with peers and favor collecting memories over materials. With this in mind, it's important for marketers to combine product with experience so members of this generation can connect with one another (often through social media). Coca-Cola does this particularly well and has seen great success with their #ShareACoke campaign.
2. Diversify Your Social Media
Many social media managers have mastered both Twitter and Facebook in an effort to reach millennials, but Generation Z isn't so simple. Maintaining a presence on other social media platforms — including Instagram, Tumblr and Snapchat — is becoming an increasingly important method for reaching a young audience. The Drum reported that nearly three-fourths of Gen Zers are active on Snapchat, and over half of those surveyed say they use the app about 11 times per day.
3. Think Mobile First
Gen Z is the first generation to grow up in a world of smartphone ubiquity, which is why many of them use smartphones more than any other digital device, including laptops and tablets. With this in mind, it has never been more important to ensure that campaigns designed to reach this demographic are specifically targeting mobile devices. This allows for the broadest possible exposure to young people.
4. A Different Kind of Conversion
In the past, conversions were all about sales and clicks. Due to the strong mobile focus of Gen Zers, marketers need to broaden their horizons, designing campaigns with diverse goals that focus on the mobile platform. App downloads, Instagram followers or even mobile coupon views can all be used to appeal specifically to this generation.
5. Don't Forget About Digital Video
While millennials have had an overwhelming response to YouTube, Generation Z is even more invested in this digital video platform. Forbes reported that members of Gen Z watch YouTube video content for two to four hours every day. With that metric, it's easy to see why YouTube is a must-have outreach point for marketers who want to connect with this group.
6. Authenticity Is King
Although the popular notion is that mobile-obsessed young people are shallow, evidence shows that Gen Zers increasingly value authenticity. In fact, Inc. found that customers who perceive brands as more honest in their advertising are willing to pay more for identical products.
Some marketing techniques can effectively span across multiple demographics, and maybe your strategy is successful enough that it doesn't need to change. But there's no denying that Generation Z is the future — and they're already showing marketers what they want.