Move Over Millennials: Content Marketing Readiness for Generation Z

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Millennials have been the core focus when it comes generation-based content marketing strategies due to their growing force in the consumer population. With over 80 million Millennials in the US representing roughly 25% of the population, this generation amasses a significant amount of buying power at an estimated $200 billion annually. But we’ve been talking about the Millennial takeover for years and it’s time to look ahead to another generation that is emerging as the next big thing for marketers, forecasters and analysts—Generation Z.

Gen Z, born in 1995 or later, already makes up 25.9% of the US population, which is the largest percentage above both Millennials, Gen X and Baby Boomers. By 2020, they will account for one-third of the population. Oh, and they also already contribute $44 billion to the American economy. This presents a huge incentive for brand marketers to develop strategies that can reach and truly engage this cohort now and into the future.

But with all the focus on Millennials, where does one start when it comes to dissecting a new generation of consumers? Here are some insights to help you incorporate the Gen Z mindset into your content marketing strategies.

Gen Z is the most connected generation

These youngsters are part of the first generation to be raised in the era of smartphones. They have always lived in an Internet world, and many do not remember a time before social media. And they are constantly engaging with digital channels and technology. They multitask on an average of five screens simultaneously (TV, smartphone, desktop, laptop and portable music device) and 41% of them spend more than three hours a day on computers for purposes other than schoolwork.

How to reach the most connected generation: Make sure your content strategy is multichannel to reach these users on any device. Your marketing technology needs to be equipped to serve up relevant, personalized content across channels as well.

Gen Z has shorter attention spans

The average American attention span is only getting shorter. Today it’s eight seconds, down from 12 seconds in 2000. Marketers are now competing for human attention, and this point couldn’t be more relevant for Generation Z. While these users are able to take in content instantaneously due to constant connectivity, they lose interest just as fast. Dan Schawbel, managing partner of New York consultancy Millennial Branding, warns brands of this trend—“we tell our advertising partners that if they don’t communicate in five words and a big picture, they will not reach this generation,” he says.

How to capture their attention: In the era of emoji, self-deleting Snapchat videos and Instagram stories, bite-sized and visual content is more likely to capture Gen Z’s attention on the visual platforms they engage with most. Also make sure your content is impactful and engaging across channels. Your content needs to be engaging enough to inspire action, like a conversion or a return visit to your website for repeat engagement.

Gen Z has higher expectations of brands

While Millennials were waiting on dial-up Internet and exploring the first smartphones and handheld digital music players, Generation Z has never known a time during which rapid technological invention wasn’t the norm. For this generation, it’s become the expectation, and they expect it quickly. “When it doesn’t get there that fast they think something’s wrong,” said Marcie Merriman, executive director of growth strategy at Ernst & Young.

This expectation translates to how Gen Z feels about brands as well. “They expect businesses, brands and retailers to be loyal to them,” Merriman adds. “If they don’t feel appreciated, they’re going to move on. It’s not about them being loyal to the business.”

How to meet their expectations: Studies show 42% of consumers are less interested in a brand’s products and services if the content the brand provides is not personally relevant. Additionally, 74% of consumers now get frustrated when brands serve them messages that are irrelevant. But there’s an upside for brands that invest in delivering a personalized content experience—56% state they would reward a brand’s relevance with a purchase. Brands that focus on providing exceptionally personalized customer experiences across touch points are the ones who earn attention and dollars, and this includes loyalty and appreciation from Generation Z.

Download The Game Changer’s Guide to Individualizing Content Experiences for best practices for delivering 1:1 personalized content experiences across every channel.

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