Gen Z Are Not “Millennials 2.0”

Gen Z girl and boy looking at and interacting with a computer screen with Adweek logo in the top right corner

I Shared with Adweek My Latest Key Insights About Gen Z’s Coming of Age Moment

  • How Gen Z uses technology is different from all other generations
  • Brands must listen to what Gen Z cares about now
  • Gen Z cares less about privacy, but they want something for it in return

Kathryn Lundstrom from Adweek recently spoke with me to discuss the state of Gen Z. I shared CGK’s latest national Gen Z research findings, in partnership with WP Engine, specific to Gen Z’s relationship with technology, society, and how they behave as consumers.

Along with the expertise of CGK’s CEO Denise Villa, Ph.D., we cover these subjects and much more in our soon to be released book, Zconomy, How Gen Z Will Change the Future of Business—and What to Do About It. It is essential reading for any marketer, advertiser, or brand leader looking to make a true connection with Gen Z, who are becoming ever more important consumers.

Gen Z and technology: Marketers who approach Gen Z differently from Millennials will be in a much stronger position

 While previous generations have been much guarded with their personal information online, that is less the case with Gen Z if you engage them the right way. Further, marketers must treat Gen Z as their own separate and distinct set of consumers apart from other generations. As our national and international Gen Z research has repeatedly shown, this generation is clearly and decidedly tech-dependent. Marketing strategies that treat Gen Z as Millennials 2.0 will fall short. You can read all about this in WP Engine’s latest study report, Generation Influence: Reaching Gen Z in the New Digital Paradigm

As I shared with Adweek, “That kind of marketing exposes a fundamental misunderstanding about the way that Gen Z, which now represents more than 40% of global consumers, interacts with the world.”

As WP Engine’s research in collaboration with CGK shows, and I shared with Adweek, “56% of Gen Z surveyed said they have friends online that they’ve never met in real life, and 58% said they’re uncomfortable going more than four hours without the internet.” That is substantial and unheard of before Gen Z.

Brands that show they care will have Gen Z consumers that value their business

With the world at our fingertips, and Gen Z having been brought up in a more immersive, fast-paced, digital world than Millennials, this generation is more aware of the world around them than any generation previously at the same age. From playing Roblox and Minecraft with friends they’ve never met on the other side of the world, to making the shift to online learning as their new classroom in middle school—this generation has gone from one screen to another, often since birth. They care deeply about social justice issues and, interestingly, believe that engaging with a movement online is just as good as other forms of active participation.

And it doesn’t end with their voices and digital footprints alone. As the article points out, “[Gen Z] want brands to take a stance on the things they care about, too. The same percentage of respondents said they’re more likely to buy from a brand that contributes to social causes.”

Gen Z is more relaxed when it comes to sharing data if they receive an experience uniquely tailored to them

Most people are wary about what websites and companies do with the information collected when we visit their corner of the world wide web. Generation Z, on the other hand, simply wants to get something in return for sharing their personal data. And in fact, they expect it!

As mentioned in the article, “72% of Gen Z surveyed said they want a website to know what they’re looking for before they get there, and 66% said they expect websites to talk to each other.”

WP Engine’s Chief Marketing Officer Mary Ellen Dugan pointed out that Gen Z wants a ‘predictive experience’ even when regulations regarding privacy may change how the process works.

How to effectively engage Gen Z now

In this unprecedented time, there are many obstacles in connecting with target audiences. In spite of this, marketers, and leaders from all industries must ensure that their organizations can connect, engage, influence, and stay connected to Gen Z and emerge from this time with momentum. This has never been more imperative for employers and marketers as well as for Gen Z’s future.

At CGK, we are always researching how Gen Z and all generations think about spending, work, brands, family, the economy, and much more before, during, and, hopefully soon, after the pandemic. Our team is providing these insights to you with strategic advisory sessions, webinars, and virtual keynote presentations. We help leaders at any level be informed to the best of their ability, with information, key takeaways, and solutions to drive results at this incredibly important time.

Contact our friendly team here to learn how our custom research and generational strategies can help your team and organization lead and solve challenges through this time of uncertainty. We are all in this together.

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