This is an article ‘Should we listen to the young ones preach about marketing?’ by Marc Primo
In today's fast-paced world, there's a shifting focus away from the material aspects of one’s purchases and towards more meaningful experiences. That's because these days, more consumers, specifically from the younger generations of Millennials and Gen Z, want experiential marketing over fluff-filled promises that traditional ads used to feed us. With a newfound appreciation for the present moment and a desire to live life to the fullest, more young consumers are leading everyone into a whole new world of modern marketing. This transformation tweaks the standard marketing funnel into something relatively unheard of.
Along with how unorthodox every company today seems to approach their respective marketing strategies, particular challenges arise, both in social listening and advertising to Gen Z'ers. However, the truth is that connecting with this youthful demographic is much simpler than it seems.
If you have the right tools and mindset, understanding the unique traits of these "digital natives" makes it easier to reach, engage, and convert new loyal customers. Getting to know Gen Zers is complicated. Ask any parent, LOL. But from their progressive mindset to diverse backgrounds or how they employ careful decision-making to who among them are poised to make the more intelligent purchases, reviewing relevant data can help brands determine the correct formula to engage them.
What is the easiest way to connect with them?
Stop. Look. Listen.
STOP and review the data
These days, data is much more like currencies. Having said that, marketing to young customers has been challenging over the years. Considering the ever-changing demographic data and marketing trends sprouting out of the woodwork faster than anyone can imagine, things can get complicated.
However, the good thing about how Gen Z'ers share data is that it makes most other things easier to understand their purchasing habits and preferences. With their outspoken and online nature, brands can effectively connect with younger consumers by not treating them as a monolithic group.
Instead, brands should stop, take a moment, and recalibrate toward understanding subsets and each one's unique online behavior and social lifestyle. The first and most important thing to remember is how to bridge the gap between Gen Z and other generations, such as the Millennials.
Of course, there are several ways brands can move away from traditional marketing for older generations and focus more on experiential marketing for Generation Z audiences.
For one, brands should shift the focus to creating unique and immersive experiences that reflect the interests and values of this demographic. Today's digital platforms, from Web3 immersive experiences to conveniences in e-commerce, are morphing into more tech innovations that use augmented and virtual realities to market their products and services. Such innovations appeal to younger digital natives, who now comprise 83% of those who shop via social media.
LOOK at how they behave
Gen Z'ers are not only tech-savvy or hungry for experiential marketing, but they also are more concerned about people, the planet, and products. Given such data that tell brands how 64% of the younger generation prefer sustainable products changes the entire marketing game in an instant.
Fostering a sense of community and authenticity by partnering with reliable influencers and allowing for real-time customer engagement and feedback is the best way to engage your social media followers into being walking and talking ambassadors of your brand. Providing them with opportunities to personalize and customize their online experiences according to their preferences will go a long way in word-of-mouth marketing.
It's easy to note the preferred channels where brands can reach Gen Z'ers. Whether they be Meta or Google brands, wherein a good 81% are very active. Marketers should always consider what formats they prefer in terms of content.
Short-form videos are today's latest craze thanks to TikTok, Instagram Reels, Facebook Stories, and YouTube Shorts. Brands that utilize less than a minute short videos in their strategies reportedly engage 53.9% of their followers on social media. However, making it longer to up to five minutes will still give you a 48.9% engagement rate.
LISTEN to what they're saying
As a generation that values experiences and social validation, the fear of missing out (FOMO) can be a strong motivator for brands that want to drive engagement on social media. Instagram Reels, for example, can allow your brand to become a constant presence in users' feeds through notifications. Once you've earned their following, it will be easier to keep abreast of what they like, are interested in, or otherwise.
Instagram has also introduced a new feature called Drops, which helps brands generate excitement for limited-time launches, campaigns, promotions, and events. Tapping the FOMO in everyone helps these push unique and interactive brand initiatives that engage the younger audiences while keeping them in the loop on the latest happenings.
The secret is to keep an ear out for the latest engaging tools in social media. That way, you can be ready for a new level of brand interaction with your younger audiences and more exciting content to offer them.
Create a hybrid
Once you've stopped and smelled all the data, looked into what younger audiences are interested in, and listened to how they interact with your brand– the next step will be to make everything a cycle.
If you think that the typical marketing funnel has transformed into Hubspot's inbound marketing flywheel after reading through this post, then the answer is both yes and no. 'Yes,' because today's marketing standards aim to make things cyclic for those who follow you. And 'no,' because there are still certain stages that even younger targets can appreciate in traditional marketing.
For example, by understanding the attention-interest-desire-action (AIDA) funnel, Gen Z'ers can become more informed and empowered consumers. Knowing the steps brands are taking to try and influence their purchasing decisions gives them more leverage to make more intelligent purchases.
Still, creating hybrids that combine AIDA and the inbound marketing flywheel can strike the right chord with younger audiences.
Again, data is the most crucial as it allows you to determine the factors you need to develop such a hybrid.
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