We’ve heard a lot of hype about the Millennial generation currently flooding the market with trillions of dollars in spending power and their need for social connection and professional accolade. But what about the group immediately following them? Generation Z includes all those folks born after 1995. And while they are all still relatively young (some only a few years old), the impact of their buying influence will no doubt be substantial over the next decade and beyond. It’s not too soon for companies to begin focusing on the factors driving Gen Z behaviors and learning how to harness them for their own benefit.
Here are some innovative ways we think businesses should be reaching out to Gen Z consumers:
Generation Z has never known a time without technology. They are used to accessing information across various formats (smartphone, TV, laptop, desktop and iPad/iPod) with nearly half of them spending more than 10 hours a day connected digitally in some way. Savvy market researchers should reach out to these young consumers almost exclusively via their mobile devices. Push notifications and texts can be used to inform and request data. Mobile ethnographic studies and mobile surveys, as well as simple mobile tracking, can help pinpoint and define behaviors with little interruption to consumers’ daily lives.
Media Monitoring and Influencers
Because Gen Z unconsciously engages with the world in such a mobile and digital manner, it makes sense that researchers look for them in mobile and digital locations. But while Millennials seek out traditional social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter to meet, share and converse, members of Generation Z frequently utilize the more “anonymous” outlets like Snapchat, Vine, Whisper and Secret. They grew up with the War on Terror, as well as the Great Recession, times of economic hardship and social conflict; thus, they are cautious and take little risk. They value peer recommendation over authoritative demand. They realize that revealing too much can limit options in the future and actively avoid leaving incriminating digital footprints. Market researchers can capitalize on Gen Z’s digital presence by monitoring them in real time in the places they gather the most, using contemporary influencers to advocate research needs.
Blurbs (Not Epistles)
Generation Z’s familiarity across multiple devices has not only increased their digital presence, it’s also engendered their proficiency for multitasking. They can check texts, watch videos, type essays, snap photos and answer phone calls almost simultaneously. As a result, their average attention span is eight seconds. They are used to quickly appraising information and then moving on. Market researchers will need to cater to those shortened attention spans by drafting concise and catchy communications when requesting information, designing survey and interview questions and delivering any other output meant for Gen Z consumers. Think “short and sweet note” rather than “long-winded epistle.”
Focus Groups and IDIs
The power of personal interaction can never be dismissed, even when dealing with “digital natives” used to mobile engagement. For this reason, market researchers can still benefit from gathering Generation Z members together and asking them for feedback. Focus groups and in-depth interviews help uncover nuances and micro details that large-scale data collection methods might miss. This is especially important for a generation that is more diverse than all other generations combined. Researchers will be hard-pressed to reach all segments of such a large group. Breaking Generation Z in to smaller cohorts can help researchers truly understand them as a whole.
Just because they haven’t fully come in to their own yet doesn’t mean Generation Z isn’t an important cohort to understand. Communications for Research (CFR) recognizes the significance of this ethnically and culturally unique group that will one day soon wield enormous influence on an increasingly diverse market. Contact us to learn how we can extract meaningful data from Generation Z, as well as from all other generations.
For more information on the value of market research and how to communicate it to your clients, download our FREE eBook: