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Here’s a fun question: How many eyes does it take to use a smartphone, TV, laptop, desktop and tablet all at the same time? Don’t ask me how, but for Generation Z, it only takes two.
That’s right. Gen Zers, born between 1995 and 2014, typically have their eyes on five screens at once. As the first digital natives ever, it seems they have a unique aptitude for using multiple devices at the same time, even more so than their millennial predecessors.
Some might think of Gen Z as millennials on steroids; their worlds are filled with touch screens and swiping, just like those before them. Unlike millennials, though, these new kids on the block have never known anything different. They’ve lived in a world brimming with internet activity all their lives.
If your company is still focusing entirely on how to reach millennials (the largest generational cohort in the U.S.), consider shifting some of those efforts to Generation Z.
Because by 2020, this group is expected to make up 40 percent of all consumer shopping.
Missing out on that could mean your startup misses the mark entirely.
Getting to know Generation Z
With Gen Zers officially hitting the workforce, there’s a lot to be learned about their lifestyles, work and buying habits.
Take their feelings toward social causes, for example. With a group of kids who spend hours of their days on the phone, swiping until their thumbs go numb, you might find it surprising to hear how strong of a connection they feel toward doing good in the world.
In fact, Gen Zers feel so strongly about making an impact, they won’t think twice about spending more money on a business that supports a worthy cause, as opposed to one that’s just in it for themselves.
And the surprises don’t stop there. Generation Z is also:
If your company isn’t ready and willing to lay everything on the table, consider a different tactic. Gen Z doesn’t like closed doors. They want to know the how and why behind your operations. Are you honest, open, and good?
Great. You’ll do well with these newcomers to the market.
And you thought millennials were all about convenience. Gen Z takes it to an entirely new level. Ever wonder why you don’t see any of these youngsters shopping in department stores or even grocery stores like their older counterparts? It’s because going out in person to buy their clothes, gadgets and necessities just doesn’t make sense anymore. After all, that’s what Amazon is for, right?
Convenience doesn’t just have to do with online orders, though. When it comes to customer service, prepare to be ready at the drop of a hat, but not via phone. Think social media.
Facebook chatbots weren’t born from nothing. They’ve made a name in the customer service world for a reason, and you’d be wise to use them.
Social media minded
But not necessarily in the way you might think. While you probably see Facebook as a platform for connecting with friends and acquaintances, Gen Z sees it as an information hub; a place to catch up on the day’s happenings.
Not only that, in their minds, advertising and celebrity influencers are a thing of the past. To them, big names on YouTube and Twitter are what matter, and those same people are the ones swaying their purchasing decisions. So put Brad Pitt and Casey Neistat next to a Gen Z-ers favorite product, and one of the world’s most famous movie stars might end up feeling a little left out.
How to get a jumpstart on preparing for Gen Z
If you’re ready to start incorporating Generation Z into your marketing tactics, now’s the time. Sure, some of the youngest in this group are just toddlers, but its huge influx of college grads is starting to permeate the workforce, and you’d be wise to avoid falling behind.
- Adopt a mobile-first mindset
Not only should your website be mobile ready, your entire brand should be thinking “mobile” from the start. Responsive pages, mobile support via intelligent chatbots, and a seamless experience from one platform to another is crucial.
- Go public with your values
Tell Gen Z exactly which causes you support. Not only that, develop a business persona this sector of the population can connect with. Are you open about any negative reviews you receive? Do you present yourself with an honesty-first vibe?
Generation Z wants to connect with you. Let them.
- Stay social
At this point, there’s little to no doubt you’ve already made at least some sort of social presence with your startup. If you’ve been dragging your feet with that rigid social media schedule, though, it’s time to start moving a little quicker.
Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, Youtube and Twitter might already be huge, but their full impact is still yet to be seen. Generation Z reportedly has an eight-second attention span, and staying quick and snappy, yet relevant and real, can be difficult.
That being said, this generation also spends over four hours per day online. The more platforms you can reach them on, the more likely they are to take notice.
- Embrace diversity
Generation Z is the most ethnically diverse population in the history of the U.S. That’s not where their openness to diversity stops, though. It would be unusual for a Gen Zer not to have a LGBT friend, and most know at least one person who uses gender neutral pronouns.
Because of that, any company that doesn’t fully embrace diversity in all its shapes and forms will likely struggle over the next decades.
Are you ready for the next generation?
If we’ve learned anything over the years, it’s that time goes by quicker and quicker as each day passes. And when we live in a world where technology advances at the speed of light, even one faltering step could set your startup way back.
The solution? Embrace the current and plan for the future. Generation Z is here, and if they aren’t already, they’re about to be knocking at your doors. Are you ready to let them in?