Gen Z’s (born 1997-2012) are stereotypically known for being obsessed with Tik-Tok, having short attention spans, and being lovers of all things organic. As much as this is true for myself, we’re also strong advocates of equality, protesters of climate change and the MOST inclusive generation ever.
In our early years, America had its first black president, gay marriage was legalised in the UK and US, and gender roles started to become less predominant in our society. This, as well as being the most diverse generation yet (with 50% of us identifying as non-white), proves that diversity and equality are naturally one of our biggest core-values.
We’re also one of the hardest working generations to date.
As the oldest Gen Z’ers are set to turn 25 next year, you will start seeing them evolve into key influencers in the organisations you want to engage with. We already make up 2% of B2B tech buyers.
As a Gen Z myself, with experience in the B2B marketing industry running for nearly 3 years, I have personally seen a distinct disinterest in adapting strategy to accommodate these digital natives with big hearts and strong ideals.
Early investment into an understanding of this generation will pay off in the long run for you and your business. After all, we are the future!
How do we compare to Millennials?
We’re More Pragmatic
Millennials, AKA the The “Participation Trophy” generation (no shade) were often seen as being pandered to by parents and raised during an economic boom, Gen Z grew up during a recession.
This generation has been shaped by the economic pressure that occurred during their childhood years, when their parents and communities may have been struggling with employment and finances. Thus, the most successful marketing toward Gen Z focuses on long-term value and smart investments.
We Value Authenticity
In a study shared by Salesforce, 61% of Millennials said that companies generally come off as authentic. Only 53% of Gen Z’ers shared that sentiment.
Looking at our most prominent values at the beginning of this blog, it’s clear to see why we value authenticity. Growing up in the Instagram-era, we’ve been learning to identify and call out fake photos (you may have heard the term ‘insta vs reality’), when, only a few years ago, these photos were praised and hailed as ‘goals’ and everything one might aspire to be.
Although not completely relevant to B2B, it’s an important factor to remember when marketing to my age-mates. Gen Z wants to see content that’s actually attainable and not overly polished.
Consider micro influencers, for example. Smart brands, both B2B and B2C, are recognizing the power these influencers have with their audiences (which range between 1,000 and 50,000 followers).
Gen Z appreciates these online communities more than any other generation so far, according to Hubspot—and what’s more, they appreciate the relevance of a community over its size.
Although this can be more challenging for B2B, it’s worth the time and effort spent.
Tactile Marketing to Gen Z
Embrace the social side of things
Because we trust peers more than brands, your sales department will have a much better chance of gaining traction with Gen Z if they reach out through a mutual acquaintance or connection. This is obviously not a new concept, but it is a practice that can now be automated through certain platforms, a method that we now use as standard in our ABM and lead generation campaigns.
Rebrand your webinars as live videos
In the UK, Gen Z increased its live video viewing by nearly 60% at times during 2020.
B2B brands, such as Salesforce, Automation Anywhere and Detroit Labs, have been laying the groundwork for next-gen live video engagement. Each company created an episodic live series to engage their target audiences and then followed up with personalized messaging, which saw a significant uplift in responses as compared to previous campaigns.
Own your brand values
Leaning back into being authentic, as well as Gen Z’ers being more concerned with social issues in general, brand values will affect brand loyalty.
The pandemic and racial justice movements in 2020 should have prepared B2B companies for the next moments that cause our nation and world to pause, think and react. By standing for certain values, a B2B brand’s marketing and recruiting will do better with gen Z.
There’s a lot you can learn from Gen Z as a whole. We’re social conscious, financially smart, practical and we want to make an impact on the world.
It takes a little extra work to get in with a Gen Z, but by putting in the effort now, you’ll save yourself hundreds of wasted marketing campaigns and money, and, without sounding too much like Mr. Rogers, even become a better person along the way.
Want to chat about some things I said? Connect with me on Linkedin.