If you're still grappling with how to effectively market to Millennials, make room on your marketing calendar for the next wave. Gen Z – if that's what we'll eventually call them – is the generation that comes after the Millennials and so far, nobody agrees on much that defines them. Wikipedia puts the generational dates at mid-1990s to mid-2000s. The New York Times recently bracketed the generation as those born between 1995 and 2015.
We haven't even settled on a name for them yet. While the most common reference seems to be Gen Z or Generation Z, some call this era the post-Millennials others call them the iGeneration or the Homeland Generation. The New York Times recently polled many members of this cohort to get their preferred nomenclature and didn't find much agreement. They did have some fun suggestions, though – such as the Meme Generation, Memennials, Generation Scapegoat and a few more pessimistic entries, such as Doomed and The Final Generation.
Whatever name we call them, they are diverse, they are many and the early members of this generation are already in college. They are turning 21 this year.
In a 2015, Goldman Sachs issued a trend research paper named “What if I told you…”. The entire paper is worth reading, with many of the trend predictions panning out … but for our purposes, we point you to pages 11-12, “What if I Told You … “Gen-Z” Will Be Larger and More Influential than Millennials?”
America’s youngest generation, “Gen-Z” or those born after 1998, are now entering their formative years and rising in influence. At nearly 70 million in size and growing, the eldest of which are now entering college and/or the workforce, this cohort will soon outnumber their Millennial predecessors. Raised by Gen-X parents during a time marred by economic stress, rising student debt burdens, socio-economic tensions and war overseas, these youths carry a less idealistic, more pragmatic perspective on the world. Born device in-hand, Gen-Z is America’s first generation of true “digital-natives” and they will be America’s most diverse to-date (first to be majority non-white). Over the past several years, educators, employers, researchers, retailers and the like have spent significant time and resources dissecting the Millennial mindset. But the time has already come to focus to Gen-Z, which promises to be just as, if not more, influential.
Ad Age offers some thoughts and marketing perspective in The ABCs of Gen Z, along with a fun little glossary of generational terminology.
If you only have a toe in the water on your mobile marketing presence, you need to double down fast. And Ad Age offers this perspective:
Gen Zers are also expanding on the idea, often attributed to millennials, of wanting to buy brands that stand for something. “They definitely want to make the world a better place,” says Fernandez. “They now have the technology to do so.”