Marketing to the Generations: 4 Tips for Getting – and Keeping – Gen Z’s Attention

Posted by Emily Lange Rodecker on September 19, 2014


You’ve mastered marketing to Generations X and Y. Now it’s time to gear up for the next generation – Gen Z – the post-Millennials who grew up with the internet and will redefine the way you reach your future audience.

First, let’s get a better understanding of the people that make up Generation Z. Defined as those born between 1992-2010, Generation Z-ers are currently in their teens and early twenties. According to Mashable, “Nearly half of teens who use the Internet buy things online, more than four in five will use social networks this year, and 96% of U.S. teens ages 12 to 17 will use the Internet at least monthly.”

This generation spends an exorbitant time online and on their personal devices – it’s not uncommon for those in Gen Z to spend upwards of 10 hours a day online. They’re multitask-ers, information seekers, and taste makers. Their opinion matters – they rely on reviews from their peers, and want to share their thoughts on the products and services they use as well. They’re entrepreneurial, compassionate, and want to change the world.

As we mentioned in our mobile banking post, the younger generations may not currently have the money to spend to make them high-value clients at the moment, but they are redefining the current model with their complete reliance on technology, immediacy, and communication. And just as Millennials will continue to grow in terms of wealth and influence, Generation Z will be right on their heels. As a generation that has grown up amidst political and economic difficulty, they are aware that they need to be careful with their money -- and will expect to be able to safely monitor, protect, and grow their financial assets online.

While they may not be ideal clients at the moment, they certainly will be when they get older. Banks and financial advisors need to be ready to grow with them. Gen Z is not beholden to brand loyalty, so financial professionals and institutions will have to rely on providing the absolute best products and services in order to keep these future bankers invested – as allegiance alone will not be enough to keep them staying with one institution over another.

What can you do to make this happen? First and foremost, you want to target the younger generations and meet them where they are. Here are a few pointers!

1. Take Charge With Mobile Marketing and Social Media

It goes without saying that your online presence should be mobile-friendly, and that you should be active and engaged on social media. Invest time and energy into staying on top of the latest trends in mobile banking, mobile marketing, and reaching your audience on the channels where they spend the most time. Show that you are willing to embrace technology, truly understand it, and actively work to be ahead of the curve. Providing the tools and services that Generation Z needs to make their online banking experience easier and more secure will prove to these digital natives that you are willing and able to keep their attention and earn their business.

This generation is more likely than their predecessors to value what’s promoted via social media and mobile marketing efforts – according to MarketingProfs, “Some 22% of surveyed Gen-Z consumers say they trust somewhat or trust completely posts by companies or brands on social networking sites. That level is roughly 49% higher than other generations. … Gen-Z consumers are 48% more likely than other generations to trust somewhat or completely the content on mobile applications from brands, as well as text messages from brands.”

2. The Medium IS the Message – Communicate on Their Level

Keep it short and simple – 140 characters or less – and use images and videos to get your point across. If it takes too long to explain or understand, you’ve already lost Gen Z’s attention. In most cases – the medium IS the message. (Emoji is a language to this generation.) If you’re writing paragraph-long posts on Facebook, you’re not proving to this tech-savvy generation that you “get” what they need. In fact, there’s a pretty small chance they will ever see that post, as they spend less and less time on Facebook itself. But if you put a witty Vine or Hyperlapse video together, use an on-brand hashtag that is carried throughout your marketing efforts, and get your point across quickly and concisely – you have a much better likelihood of piquing Gen Z’s interest. Just don’t wait too long before you jump on the bandwagon – or they’ll already be on to the next new network.

3. Put a Premium on Privacy

While data collection is undoubtedly helpful to business – financial and otherwise – Gen Z-ers are likely to be increasingly protective of their online profiles when it comes to their finances, and tech-savvy enough to set safety measures in place to help guard themselves against unwarranted data collection and identity theft. While they may be “open books” on their social profiles, Gen Z-ers expect the ability to control their privacy settings, and won’t stand for archaic approaches to their personal information. If you can’t promise them privacy and control, they’ll get it somewhere else.

4. Access & Affirmation – At Once!

Gen Z wants what instant gratification – they’ve never known a time when they couldn’t communicate instantaneously with anyone in the world, so why would that change with their financial institution? They expect immediate answers to their questions, immediate thanks for their positive reviews, and instant access to any aspect of a company that is available to them. They expect online connections to be as genuine and authentic as those they experience in person – and they like being praised for playing their part.

If a Gen Z-er has a positive experience with a brand, product, or service – they’ll tell their friends and family. So make it easy for them to share their positive experience with your brand with their networks! They may not be highly brand-loyal, but they do appreciate a job well done, and recognize how much their opinion matters to their peers. They also look to their peers for recommendations and reviews on products or services – so the more you help your audience share with their networks, the more likely you’ll be able to expand your customer base amongst Generation Z.

Really, the key to reaching Generation Z is ease. Keep your information easily digestible, easy to find, and easy to share with others – and you’ll be able to keep their attention. The more verbose you get in talking about how great your products and services are, the more likely you are to lose this generation’s focus.

Topics: Business, generation z, social media, social media for banking, Social Media for Banking, social media marketing, Social Media Marketing, strategy

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