Gen Z is Here – Quick! Pay Attention.

Sep 29 2015

At Mambo Media, we recognize the impact of today’s multi-generational workforce on marketing strategies and tactics. We pride ourselves on understanding and explaining the Millennial cohort to clients, but we realize – given our work with colleges and university clients – that it was time to begin really digging into the next generation, the 60 million-strong Generation Z. These are the first truly digital natives, born in the age of smartphones. Many don’t remember a time before social media.

Generation Z are between about 5 and 18 (some argue 19) years old right now. And, while they won’t have the same direct purchasing power as Millennials until they get a bit older, they are extremely influential in family purchase decisions and show signs of being quite different from Millennials.

In the spirit of sharing some initial Gen Z findings, here is a nice bit of research that we found from Sparks and Honey, a NY-based cultural relevancy agency.

 Meet Generation Z: Forget Everything You Learned About Millennials from sparks & honey

A few of the highlights in the research:

  • Their norm is inclusion, mainstreaming different abilities and classroom diversity
  • Their average attention span is 8 seconds – down from 12 in 2000
  • They’ve always lived in a touch screen world, think in 4D
  • They’re more concerned about privacy than Millennials were. They watched Millennials mess up by posting embarrassing photos on Facebook; and therefore turn away from such public forums in preference for Snapchat, Secret and Whisper.
  • They’re even more socially conscious, but less active than Millennials
  • They are realists vs. the more optimistic Millennials

For marketers, these very important and succinct observations by a Gen Z blogger in a New York Times Sept. 23 article, are eye-opening (emphasis ours):

“We are the first true digital natives,” said Hannah Payne, an 18-year-old U.C.L.A. student and lifestyle blogger. “I can almost simultaneously create a document, edit it, post a photo on Instagram and talk on the phone, all from the user-friendly interface of my iPhone.”

“Generation Z takes in information instantaneously,” she said, “and loses interest just as fast.”

In the spirit of quick information exchanges, we offer a short checklist for connecting with Gen Z, again, from the research:

  • Talk in images – emojis, symbols, pictures, video
  • Communicate in “snackable,” short bursts of content
  • Don’t talk down – talk to them as adults, even about global topics
  • They’re industrious “makers” – help them make stuff
  • Tap into their entrepreneurial spirits
  • Be humble
  • Collaborate with them, and help them collaborate with others

We look forward to sharing even more research on each generation as we explore this fascinating, multi-generational, omnichannel world.


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