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Meet the Influencers – Gen Z

19 Nov 2018 2:34 PM | Kathy Doering (Administrator)

By:  Jim Matorin, Business Catalyst at SMARTKETING: Tech-friendly pragmatist that specializes in innovation and revitalizing businesses.


Every marketer understands the value of knowing their target audience. Conventionally, marketers utilize demographic categorization, primarily population groups, when targeting consumers. The new, viral wave of influence marketers are digitally mining deeper via the different social media platforms to find their target audience. The individuals they target are called brand advocates, select social individuals who have influence over potential buyers. As a result, marketers want to get a better understanding of the psychology of social sharing, the subject of my last post Social Sharing.  For the record, I agree with the hypothesis of brand advocates, but as I stated in my last post, marketers are over processing when it comes to targeting.

It is my position, with all the material that has been published by conventional marketers, there is one demographic population group that eats, sleeps and breathes social media and sharing content online. Meet the influencers, Gen Z, individuals born after 1997. This group of future consumers will account for 40% of all consumers by 2020.  Overall, Gen Z commands about $828 billion in spending power. Having lived their whole lives online, they are an exceedingly tech-savvy, a “cut to the chase” generation.  Their digital life is becoming even more complex.  Smartphone penetration is currently estimated (source: Common Sense media) at 81.1% among teenager (ages 12-to17-year-olds) and is expected to reach 85% by 2022.  The same report estimates they are heavily partaking in social media; approximately 7 out of 10.  According to a recent eMarketer report, their mobile social app usage is higher than Millennials – the Big Three platforms being YouTube, Snapchat and Instagram.  More than half (59%) of Gen Zers (specifically ages 16-24) surveyed indicated their usage of YouTube increased in this past year versus the prior year; while 56% indicated their use of Snapchat increased and 55% of the respondents were using Instagram more. 

Given Gen Z is a tech centric generation, I believe marketers now recognize they need to digitally transform their marketing/selling strategies accordingly to this benefit, results driven demographic group.  Straight to the point messaging, no clever promotional ploys (e.g., loyalty programs), authentic, as well as entertaining interactive experiences across MTP (multiple touch points).  It is also vital for companies to keep pace with technology trends to continue engaging and appealing with its younger generation of consumers.  Two current trends that are gaining popularity are the creative, multimedia “storification” of social media platforms and AR (Augmented Reality) marketing.  Oh yes, let’s not forget, when it comes to living life day to day, thanks to technology, all great experiences are instagrammable (shareable photographs). 

In conclusion, why spend the resources as in time, people and money to identify social individuals that influence buying. They have already been identified – Gen Z, your future consumers. Instead, spend your resources crafting influence marketing movements targeting teenagers to drive sales. 


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