The next wave of consumers is here. Are you ready for them?

Gen Z, the generation of young people born between 1994 and 2010, represents more than a quarter of America’s population. They account for approximately $43 billion in spending across the United States and impact an additional $600 billion of family spending.

Is your brand targeting Gen Z? Should it be?

If yes, don’t think you can just dip into the playbook you used to market to Millennials. There are similarities between the two generations, but there are also glaring differences.

Like Millennials, Gen Z has grown up in an electronics-filled and increasingly online world. However, they are even more tech savvy and heavily digitally oriented. Throughout the day, Gen Z reports utilizing television (72%), mobile phones (57%), laptop computers (39%), desktop computers (33%), IPod (31%), gaming consoles (24%), handheld gaming devices (17%), tablets (12%) and reading devices (4%).

So, what’s the best way to reach Gen Z? How do you break through the clutter and reach this audience? Here are a few points to consider as you develop your strategy.

  1. Gen Z doesn’t react well to obvious marketing campaigns. So, produce creative that is specifically targeted to them. Take a look at the marketing budgets you currently have in place and consider allocating part of that budget to creating content that is tailored to their age, location and interests.
  1. Execute your campaign on multiple media channels that will fit within your budget and commit to them. It is better to have a strong reach and frequency on a few channels rather than spread yourself too thin.
  1. In addition to traditional media, explore the places where Gen Z spends most of their time. According to Visa, Gen Z prefers to spend their dollars on food and drink, going out with friends and clothes.
  1. As you develop your company’s messaging, try not to do too much. Gen Z is known for info snacking, communicating in bite sizes. Make your message simple and clear. And short.

A well-planned Gen Z campaign can yield significant results. That’s what we’ve found through our ongoing campaign for New Hampshire’s community colleges – “College in the 603” – targeting high school students.

The goal of the campaign is to attract and pre-condition high school students to consider New Hampshire’s seven community colleges across the state as viable options and help increase enrollment by elevating brand awareness and promoting positive attributes.

When we initially developed the media plan and campaign tactics, we looked at channels that would fit within budget and reach potential students within a 20-mile radius of each community college. Our campaign mix includes digital display, video, movie theatre advertising, direct mail and cable television. We are also executing the campaign on popular Gen Z top social media sites – Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The success of the campaign is measureable. The completion rate for the campaign videos is 62 percent, well above the industry average of 30-50 percent. In addition, organic traffic to the individual college websites has increased an average of five percent.

Gen Z is a complex consumer base that will continue to grow in prominence. If you are not ready for them now, you are falling behind.

– Edited by Jim Fennell