By Sakshi Shetty
For a long time, brands have focused their efforts on targeting millennial consumers. This generation is currently the biggest cohort in American history, with an estimated 92 million moving into major purchases over the next decade Furthermore, millennial activity is predicted to be highly influential in the economy in years to come, especially in areas such as real estate and stock investing. Thus the targeted marketing strategies make sense. However, there is a growing coming-of-age population that will soon surpass the millennial’s in terms of influence, and marketers need to understand them ASAP.
Enter Generation Z.
While Millennials were exposed to the digital era a bit later on in their lives, the Generation Z is synonymous with technology. Born from 1995-2012, Gen Z folks have grown up with technology from the very start and thus are considered the first true digital natives. Additionally, there are many characteristics that set apart the two generations that ultimately result in two very different consumption patterns. Now this generation, just entering adulthood, is going to create an enormous ripple effect throughout our economy through their impact on brands, product choices, and shopping preferences. Thus to get ahead of the curve, marketers need to think about Gen Z.
That being said, audience segmentation is so important when marketing to Gen Z; they shouldn’t be lumped in with millennials. Instead, marketers need to understand this generation inside out, and use market research to customize their strategies accordingly. Within market research, we at InterQ have developed several tactics to gather information about this population, and how they interact with products and services. Some of these mechanisms are outlined below:
Online and Mobile Ethnographic Research with Gen Z
Since technology is so embedded in the lives of the Gen Z population, we use online and mobile ethnographic research to collect data on their typical patterns and routines. This is done by first recruiting our sample, and having them log into our qualitative research app. Research participants are then given a variety of assignments depending on the nature of the product. Through the app, participants typically have to respond to short questions, provide rankings, or provide some pictures. This data on their patterns provides us with crucial insights that could be relevant to a company’s product, or allow a company to customize their marketing strategies. Furthermore, this type of research is much preferred among a younger generation as opposed to more traditional methods, such as shop-alongs or in-person observation.
Social Media Listening with Gen Z
100% of the Gen Z population uses their mobile devices for at least 1 hour a day, with up to 46% using it for 10 hours or more a day. This demographic has also shifted towards newer social media networks such as Snapchat, Secret, and Whisper, and have slowly weaned off Facebook. The amount of time this generation spends online offers copious amounts of research data for us to draw crucial insights from. At InterQ, we are able to mine thousands of internet conversations through social media listening, a qualitative listening methodology. Bear in mind, these conversations and trends are public; we never violate privacy rules when collecting such data. For further information on this topic, read this blog on social media listening where we learn from Kate Minker, our head of online research, about the use of this tool in market research.
Focus Group Discussions with Gen Z
Although online research plays a big role within this demographic, one must not neglect the power of in-person conversations. Focus groups and in-depth interviews are an incredible learning opportunity, allowing us to have constructive conversations that are built off of the responses we receive from our participants. This information can be highly beneficial for shaping a brand or launching a product.
This generation knows the ins and outs of the internet, purchases online, and is ambitious about work. Your company’s future depends on understanding how to market to them. Investing in market research that allows you to specifically design your brand and products around the Generation Z’s needs, habits, and patterns will most definitely get you ahead of the game – as their behaviors will soon be shaping the status quo.