I often think about what world we’ll leave behind for our children. In my case, it’s Becca and my 15-year-old son, known affectionately here as “G”, and our 12-year-old daughter, aka “D.”
So … when my friend Angie, who I’d regularly meet for coffee, discussed her passion for our respective kids’ generation (Gen Z) and the macro trends associated with how they approach the world, I was all ears.
After a few of those coffee sit downs, I encouraged her (or prodded her — depends whom you ask) to write a book.
And she did. If you’re not familiar with the term Gen Z, it refers to the generation after Millennial or people born from approximately the mid-1990s through the mid-2000s.
It’s ostensibly a marketing book about Gen Z. But it’s also so much more. Why?
Because Gen Z Is a Force Changing The World
Believe it or not, Gen Z entered the workforce in the last few years. And unless you’ve had your head buried in the sand, Gen Z has largely been the driving force in the #neveragain and March For Our Lives gun control debate. After the recent Parkland, Florida, school shooting, the students took control.
If you know anything about this generation, this is not some situational anomaly.
Gen Z, according to Angie, are “courageous, poised and articulate.” (You really should read her blog post, A Love Letter to Gen Z.).
Gen Zers are years ahead of previous generations in the notion of #adulting.
Angie Read and Jeff Fromm’s book Marketing to Gen Z examines not only how Gen Z thinks about purchasing product and aligning themselves — or not — with brands, but also how they think about and interact in relationships and society.
For we marketers who just got familiar with Millennials, beware. Gen Z often views the world much differently than its predecessors. For example, both groups see social media as an extension of their being, but they use it much differently. And whom they see influencers on those platforms often vary.
For further illustration, I point to this Wall Street Journal article about how real people are gaining favor over celebrities as social media influencers.
In particular, having provided financial education for more than 13 years, I’ve watched how this generation views finances. As the book’s marketing explains, Gen Z’s reflection on finances perfectly demonstrates their dichotomy of old soul and hip tech:
“Having internalized the lessons of the Great Recession, this pivotal generation blends the pragmatism and work ethic of older generations with the high ideals and digital prowess of youth.”
Marketing to Gen Z is For More Than Marketers
First, the window to get their attention gets shorter and shorter. They have an 8-second filter. No wonder we struggle to get either of my kids, particularly “G”, to read a book.
Furthermore, the book highlights the importance of speaking their language (I think the Winter Olympic commentators tried to do this by dropping the word “feels” into every sentence). And, it explains how the message needs to align with their values … or they’re out.
Gen Z’s Influence
Incorporating original quantitative research and interviews as well as secondary research, Marketing to Gen Z creates a captivating picture of the generation that will comprise 40% of all consumers by 2020.
At that, even if they’re not buying, they’re doing more than grumbling about needed change. They’re taking action and changing the world!