Mary Anne Keane

Generation Z: Marketing at the Speed of Light

By: Mary Anne Keane | July 17, 2014 | 
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Generation Z: Marketing at the Speed of LightBy Mary Anne Keane

Just when you think you’ve learned all there is to know about marketing to Millennials, in walks a new set of consumers: Generation Z.

And this generation has digital in their DNA.

While there are no precise dates as to when a generation begins or ends, Generation Z has been defined by some as being those born after 1990.

According to a recent survey conducted by Sparks & Honey, Generation Z accounts for more than one quarter of the world’s population, and that number continues to grow with every birth.

This generation already influences buying decisions – and it’ll get stronger, across the board, in the coming years. And, while Millennials currently hold the award for the most researched generation, it is likely that Generation Z will steal their thunder.

Generation Z: The Online Independents

A couple interesting statistics gleaned from the survey:

  • They are influential in household purchases.
  • They receive $16.90 per week in allowance which translates to $44 billion per year of disposable income.
  • They love to shop and prefer online to offline.
  • They are very driven, independent, and in control.
  • Sixty percent are determined to have significant influence on the world.

All this information is great, but what do we do with it?

We strategize and plan.

Here are a few things to consider when reaching out to the newest generation of consumers.

Keep Information Simple and Concise

These digital natives have grown up in a 140 character world, where verbal communications has given way to emoticons and emojis.

When developing messaging keep it brief, but comprehensive.

Stay away from explaining what it is you want them to know, and instead focus on what it is you want them to do.

Follow the Ebbs and Flows

Generation Z is all about the latest and greatest online communities.

When Facebook became mainstream, Gen Z moved to Instagram and Snapchat to engage in conversations.

Social networking sites will come and go in popularity.

As Generation Z begins to move away from the favorite sites of today, follow them to where they naturally gravitate and build a strategy to connect with them on these new platforms.

All too often, brands wait to engage with consumers as they move to newer platforms, holding off to determine if it takes off in popularity.

Generation Z moves at the speed of light.

If you wait, you may miss a golden opportunity to connect.

Why not commit to starting out small?

Test the platform out on a limited basis and track the analytics to determine its viability with your brand before committing to a full-blown campaign.

Forgoing Mobile is Not an Option

Generation Z is attached to mobile – more so than any other generation.

And, while they consume information across multiple devices, mobile remains the social lifeline for Generation Z.

Providing content that is consumable on the go is a must.

Thumbs Up to Social Responsibility

This new generation of consumers likely will connect with companies that place a strong emphasis on social responsibility. This is the generation that wants to save the world.

Jon Sundt, president and CEO of Altegris, recently wrote:

When we match a digital relationship with the influence of storytelling, we have the ability to empower young people to make a difference.

I couldn’t agree more.

Undoubtedly, Generation Z will continue to ignite conversations among marketing communications professionals for decades to come.

Taking a close look at how this generation continues to evolve and strategically planning to meet their needs will pay off in dividends.

About Mary Anne Keane


Mary Anne is a marketing communications professional with more than 20 years experience serving a diverse client base, from international not-for-profits to some of the country's largest corporations. She specializes in project management where she is skilled at assessing clients' needs, incorporating their direction, and ultimately producing results.