Marketing to Gen Z Myths & Truths BY A GEN Z

31st August 2017

By Abigail Dunne

If you’re on our website there is a chance that you would like marketing support, or just general hints and tips on how to move forward with your marketing. If this is the case then I am sure you’ve come across many articles on how to market to specific audiences; what used to be gender orientated 10 years ago is now saturated with generations, whether that’s Millennials, X and Y or the highly sought-after Generation Z.

Generation Z is the latest obsession in the marketing world as they’re now coming into buying power, with the eldest being 22 years old (this group were born 1995 – 2012 according to research by Forbes). Now, as someone who is now 20 years old (born in 1997) and apparently falls into the Gen Z category, I’d like to address some of the stereotypes we’ve been labelled with, as quite frankly I don’t think we’re as square as we’ve been portrayed.

  1. Myth: Gen Z are the first generation to have never spent a single day without the internet, mobile phone or computer.

In my office I’ve jokingly been called the “baby boomer” of Generation Z. While we banter about being old fashioned, I've asked among peers my age and the majority of them had parental restrictions on mobiles and the internet until at least the age of 13, some as late as 16. This equates to 4,745 single days (if not more) without internet and mobile phone usage.

  1. Myth: Members of Gen Z spend an average of 74% of their free time online.

Full disclosure, I don’t have hard data to disprove or prove this, I can only go by my personal experience. Since I work in digital marketing, I’d assume I spend significantly more time than most online, and after a day of sitting on a computer the last thing I want to do is go onto another internet device. Research shows that businesses are being overrun by Generation Zers (mwah ha ha) who are presumably also spending a minimum of seven hours a day on computers. (Unless most other businesses are still using typewriters? No, thought not.) So, we might spend a fair amount of time online, but I’d question whether this is as clear-cut as it’s been written. 

  1. Truth: Social media is one of the best channels to connect with Gen Z.

I am aware of my surroundings and I can see that when I do my monthly check of Twitter that I’ve missed a lot of activity from my friends who are also Gen Z, and I do check Facebook 5-10 times a day (excluding messenger) so I don’t doubt this is true.

  1. Myth: Generation Z love using Snapchat and Instagram stories.

My standard personal usage goes something like this: I’ll check my friend’s activity once a day, usually at bedtime when I know activity will be at its lowest, and I won’t post anything at all. Looking across their activity, it’s all fairly sporadic. Activity will be high during festival season, which happens periodically throughout the year, or at weekends when my friends will be going clubbing. Other than this, there are on average one or two pictures a day, often featuring a cat or a selfie with the word “bored” captioned. Conclusion: I’d say the word love is a bit strong. 

  1. Sorry what? Think mobile first, Gen Z spend most of their digital lives on smartphones.

You should be thinking mobile first full stop. Regardless of generation. Most generations are now exposed to mobile. Most generations are using mobile. I mean, come on, smartphones became the most popular device to get online back in 2015

  1. Myth: Gen Z use multiple screens.

I use a desktop to do my work and that’s it. Other than that, I will use my smartphone to do every other part of my daily online activity because I’ll either be on social media or using safari or retail apps to do everything else. I mostly associate tablets with older generations and desktops with gaming activity. 

  1. Truth: Generation Z is the most ethnically diverse population in history.

There is no doubt about this. If you want us to buy your products, you’d better make everyone feel included. 

  1. Truth: Gen Z are highly entrepreneurial and are more likely than previous generations to skip university in order to enter the working world sooner.

Only because university is now so expensive. 

  1. Truth: Gen Z gurus are extremely young, hyper-connected, fluent in meme culture and armed with a competitive nature. 

The word “young” (and patronising qualifiers like “extremely”) are almost insulting to my generation because we don’t see why our age should define what we know and the things we’ve accomplished. However, I will agree that we are hyper-connected, since our social circles extend further than the people we went to school with. Due to the saturation of Gen Z’s entering the workplace and the condescension we can encounter from older colleagues when voicing our opinions (threatened much?), we’ve got to be competitive to be taken seriously.

Meme culture? What meme culture?

Want to tailor your marketing strategy to resonate with Generation Z? Have a chat with us about how to get started. 

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