Startups know that the key to winning sales is wooing consumers. Yet sometimes, founders focus too much on generational stereotypes rather than personalized sales strategies. The fever around Generation Z is a perfect example.
Gen-Zers are on the radar of Target and Papa John’s, not to mention that of dozens of other industry heavyweights worried about becoming obsolete. After all, the 68 million-strong cohort has serious purchasing power that is only getting strong, according to Reuters. Accordingly, many companies are adjusting their marketing strategies in an effort to reach Gen Z.
However, this generation is notorious for staying one step ahead of brands, leaving them to chase after them with strategies that are no longer relevant. For example, businesses that are investing all of their marketing dollars into influencers may soon find that method ineffective, as Gen Z finds new influencers to follow or new spaces to occupy.
Even if modern brands can pull off blanket marketing, they won't be able to in 10 or 15 years. This generation is famously fractured, with each member treasuring his or her personal identity. Personalization, not generalization, is key.
So, what's the way to go? The answer is that big brands are investing in customer data platforms, marketing clouds and AI. Smart brands are diversifying their marketing technology and automation to achieve the more personalized one-to-one marketing relationship that this generation expects.
Adjusting your strategy to meet a fractured target market
Many brands have jumped into the digital deep end in an effort to reach younger consumers. It's easy to throw money away on strategies that will not actually connect with the target market. Social media spending skyrocketed by 60 percent between 2016 and 2017, according to Adweek. Similarly, Web Strategies Inc. has noted that most companies expect to spend almost half their annual marketing monies on online campaigns by 2020. All this makes it essential for marketers to carefully evaluate where they are putting their funds.
Lemonade Inc., for example, created its own youth-focused niche in the insurance industry by using AI and mobile-based strategies and doing outreach at colleges. However, one size does not fit all when it comes to how these customers want to interact with brands.
A Fluent Commerce survey found that about a quarter of Gen-Zers surveyed said they enjoyed the act of actually heading to a brick-and-mortar location for some old-fashioned browsing. To satisfy this subgroup of younger consumers, the once-online-based eyeglass behemoth Warby Parker has opened brick-and-mortar stores to create that in-person browsing experience. Consequently, Warby Parker is set to hit the 100-store mark soon, according to CNBC.
Achieving consumer buy-in without falling into traps
If your company wants to improve sales among younger consumers, consider Generation Z as a group consisting of smaller subgroups rather than as a big community. Then, take the following measures to ensure you're helping members of this generation learn about your offerings in a way that suits their needs.
1. Find out where your target consumers want to interact.
Where are your younger audience members spending time online? For an audience that uses platforms to inform identity, where you advertise will matter just as much as the content of the ad itself. Gen Z is notorious for loving YouTube, Snapchat and Instagram, but don’t assume you can create a YouTube ad to reach the entirety of your Gen Z audience. It’s likely that the subset of Gen Z that you want to connect with is spending more time on one of those platforms than the others.