Millennials have been on the minds of marketers for years. The target of generational criticism and praise alike, noted as both the generation that lacks work ethic and the one that’s going to save the world – this group has been a cornerstone to the cultural zeitgeist for nearly two decades. Spanning anyone born between 1981 to 1995, marketing firms and ad agencies have spent billions trying to shape a narrative that drives Millennials to action. It’s time, however, take Generation Z into account as we develop our marketing strategies.
The Buying Power of Generation Z
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Generation Z (Gen Z) consumers make up 61 million individuals in the US alone and are expected to make up at least 30% of the labor force by 2030. Currently between the ages of 7 and 22, they’re the most diverse generation in history (Adobe) and their spending power reaches over $140 billion. (Business Insider) Most importantly, Gen Z has a deeper understanding from their predecessors of how technology can transform the way we work and live. (Adobe) According to a survey conducted by Dell, 80 percent of Gen Zers say they aspired to work with cutting-edge technology and 91 percent say technology will influence their job choices. In fact, as Forbes points out “… this social group [Generation Z] incorporates media into a present day where they, more than other generations, are more hooked into electronic devices and virtual spaces more than any other group thus far.”
But Isn’t it All About TikTok?
We’ve heard it all before – this generation is all about their phones. Specifically, the meteoric rise of social sharing apps like TikTok. Unlike the monolith of Facebook and Instagram, TikTok offers a diverse platform for people to share creative content – from makeup tutorials to chiropractic advice to dance trends.
What began as a platform for lip synching videos, has grown into a fast-paced version of YouTube where over 800 million monthly active users share their lives in 15 to 60 second clips. (Business Insider) The truth is, it’s not so much about what TikTok is, it’s more about how this innovative generation is uniquely using this platform to drive emotive connection, build a following in an instant, and deliver home-grown branded content that feels more like entertainment and less like marketing.
Helping Young Consumers Drive Marketing Strategy
TikTok is just one of several apps that give Gen Zers a canvas to be creative and major brands are taking note. The platform inspires users to watch, like, and comment on videos, but also provides easy-to-use tools to help users create them. As Business Insider points out in their article TikTok Marketing Trend Predictions for 2020 TikTok is “…giving brands an entirely new approach to getting their products seen through user generated content.”
Rather than dictating trends to the public, socially savvy brands are allowing the public to shape their own marketing experience. MAC Cosmetics worked with three TikTok influencers in September of 2019 to create the hashtag challenge ad campaign #YouOwnIt. What started with just three influencers drove the creation of over 635,000 unique user-generated videos with an approximate total of 1.6 billion views. (Business Insider) This brilliant play by MAC had hundreds of thousands of users creating unique content, tailored for and by their key target audiences, while fostering genuine connection.
Leveraging social sharing apps allows their users to take control of their own narrative, back the brands they trust, and facilitates an environment that lets consumers market to themselves. It’s genius.
It All Comes Down to Tailored Marketing and Brand Experience
We probably sound like a broken record at this point, but younger generations, Millennials and Gen Z alike, are searching for genuine connection. The best way to reach these consumers is through tailored content marketing – leveraging your products or services in genuine ways that truly speak to this market. Gone are the days of one-size-fits-all marketing. Now is not the time to fight against trends, but to embrace them and make the most of it. As Gen Z moves into early adulthood, their buying power will only grow – it’s time to adapt. We strongly encourage diversifying your social media strategy to include new forms of social sharing like TikTok to reach new audiences. As market changes occur, it’s best to be an early adapter and show authentic interest in consumer-driven trends rather than join late and appear disingenuous.
Ocreative is a Milwaukee marketing agency, with expertise and broad experience in developing digital marketing strategies, and growing their online presence, for their clients. The company’s core values include offering the highest level of customer service, award-worthy quality, and performance that surpasses client expectations. Ocreative is located just outside Milwaukee, and works with clients locally, nationally, and globally. Their clients have access to some of the most fun and knowledgeable professionals around – ones who inspire, educate, and problem solve. The agency provides marketing and brand strategy, advertising and design, website design and social media, and video expertise to their clients, fulfilling their desire for business growth, and their aspiration to make a mark on their industry.