Generation Z and Your 2020 Digital Marketing Strategy

  • Categories:

    Media Strategy

  • Date:

    November 15, 2019

Generation Z and Your 2020 Digital Marketing Strategy

Media Strategy

Idealistic, experiential and the world’s first mobile pioneers, millennials made a big splash in our culture and commerce. And in some ways, they’re just getting started: When it comes to homebuying and home renovation, millennials are now reaching the height of their purchasing power.

Today, Generation Z (born 1996–2010) represents the next disruptive cohort that will create challenges and opportunities for marketing teams. Because they grew up during a recession, this generation tends to be more pragmatic than idealistic and focused on saving money over having more experiences. They’ve never known a time without social media or smartphones, and, while their attention spans are short, they evaluate brands quickly.

But if millennials have the most buying power now, why should you care about Generation Z (whose oldest members are recent college graduates) heading into 2020?

Answer: Gen Z represents the next class of first-time homeowners. That means marketing leaders in the home and building category must understand this audience now in order to begin nurturing the brand awareness, trust and interest that will translate into future sales.

In other words: Don’t sleep on Gen Z!

If you want to capture 2020 buyers and set up your brand for future success, incorporate these three principles into your digital marketing strategy:

1. Develop, live and publicize company values.

    Gen Z is coming of age in a time where consumers are highly critical and wary of how their values can be used against them in marketing and advertising. They’re looking for the real deal — not, for example, greenwashing products that imply they’re sustainable when they’re not. Creating business strategies that push social and environmental causes forward helps companies stand out now and will build loyalty and trust among Gen Z, 63% of whom say they already select brands that mirror their core values. Despite being young, this group spends $140+ billion annually, and 75% of these buyers actively search for sustainable products — a 24% increase over boomers.

    It goes beyond taking a stand for the hot-button issues, too. Companies such as Huber Engineered Woods have exploded onto platforms such as YouTube and Instagram, where smart, curious and ambitious builders have formed a community around their high standards for better building practices. Because Huber Engineered Woods engineers its product lines around that better building value proposition, they’ve found steady traction and engagement in the online building community.

    2. Employ strong, succinct visual branding that meets your audience where they are.

      Attention spans are shortening across the board, but Gen Z takes this trend to the next level.

      Roughly 70% of Gen Zers watch more than two hours of YouTube per day, and they’re often switching between as many as five screens simultaneously. (Unsurprisingly, 80% also report feeling distressed when separated from their electronic devices.) For marketers, this means digital ads must resonate quickly and repeatedly to earn attention and build brand recognition for future purchases.

      On a related note, Gen Z is the most culturally diverse generation to date. They’re also hyperaware of authenticity and values in commerce. This means they want to see themselves and their worlds reflected in entertainment and advertising, and they have the words and the platforms to publicly call out brands that miss the mark. Instead of ignoring changing demographics or relying on ambiguity, marketing leaders must deliberately feature a variety of people from different backgrounds including race and ethnicity, ability, LGBTQ and nonnuclear family structures.

      This sign of the times should also influence your hiring and teambuilding decisions. When a brand makes an ignorant mistake on social media or in an ad, it leaves a lot of consumers assuming, perhaps rightly, that the people on the other side of the ad don’t share their world view and values.

      3. Create a user-friendly, highly searchable online experience.

        Gen Z consumers are digital natives, making them expert online searchers and purchasers. But consumers of all ages are increasingly moving through the discovery and research process online. What remains distinct are the social platforms they’re using, which vary by generation and in style and purpose. Your 2020 focus could build brand awareness with Gen Z on Snapchat while moving millennial users down the purchasing funnel on Instagram.

        Regardless of your social strategy, it’s crucial that your brand remain relevant in search engine results. Search engines are getting smarter, considering not just keywords but also the context behind phrases and questions. Writing conversational website content with relevant keywords will help you rank higher in search results. If your content also provides a valuable, positive user experience, your audience is more likely to think of your brand as a resource later on.

        (Interested in boosting your search engine results? Check out these 15 tips for increasing traffic.)

        Gen Z, millennials, Gen X and boomers have distinct perspectives that inform their cultural values and consumer behavior. These digital marketing best practices can help ensure your brand resonates with younger audiences now and build brand loyalty for the future.

        Explore more articles from Wray Ward.