The Interconnected, Highly Critical Generation Z
The Interconnected, Highly Critical Generation Z

What marketers need to know about this social media savvy group of newcomers

Over the last decade, the term ‘millennials’ has grown to represent a group that’s been shaped by the rise of social media. Millennials – ranging in age from 22 to 37 – are fast-paced, tech-savvy and globally interconnected. Marketers categorize millennials as the online generation of consumers; they shop using their cell phones and look toward social media platforms like Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, etc. to form new opinions on trends and brands.

By 2020, the next group, Generation Z – ranging from seven to 21-years-old – will account for roughly 40 percent of consumers. However, not much thought has gone into this next group of buyers and how to effectively connect with them to gain brand loyalty. MOOYAH Burgers, Fries & Shakes is one franchise that’s already thinking ahead and sees the opportunity Generation Z presents.

“Gen Z lives and breathes mobile, which is an opportunity more than a challenge. The lion’s share of our digital presence is mobile-based and specifically tailored to reach this audience. We’ve also learned Gen Z loves to create content, so we’re working on programs that encourage them to represent our brand versus us creating content and pushing it outbound,” says Natalie Anderson-Liu, vice president of marketing at MOOYAH Burgers, Fries & Shakes. “Relevance and distinction are two present challenges with this group. That’s why we’re actively working to find social media influencers in this age group who can represent the brand in the genuine, authentic way their counterparts are seeking.”

Many in Generation Z were exposed to smartphones and screens at an early age, meaning their fluent and extremely savvy with technology. More than ever before, it’s vital for brands to have a mobile-friendly website and marketing that’s appealing to the eye and gets to the point – fast.

“We try to minimize the gap between sponsored brand content and content Gen Z might see from friends. Our goal for social media is to create relevant content that inspires shares and likes. We have also made an investment to increase video content, which is very popular with this age group. Brand loyalty is another important aspect, so we are constantly evaluating the benefits and ease of use of our loyalty app and testing various offers with this group,” says Anderson-Liu.

Owen Albrecht, an 18-year-old teen from Chicago, agrees that it’s hard for brands to standout in this ever-competitive social media era and says the most eye-catching ads are those that are relatable and eye-catching.

 “I spend so much time on Instagram, so when marketers produce creative, inventive ways to showcase their product specifically for that space, I’ll stop scrolling and flip through the pictures and read the description. If it’s to the point and I like what I see, I’ll follow the brand,” says Albrecht. “When marketing to our age group, I think it’s important for companies to not take themselves too seriously. Be informal and focus more on the visual production rather than long, descriptive explanations.”

Those in Generation Z have an attention span of about eight seconds on average. In effect, marketers need to get across how it will help and why consumers should care in the first few seconds or it’s over. More so, charitable partnerships and initiatives are important to gaining ground with Generation Z as many are active participants in social activism and cognizant of the ever-present need within the U.S. and across the globe through their online presence.

The social media powerhouse that’s Generation Z is quickly approaching – will you be ready?