Gen Z (those born since 2000) is rapidly becoming your new market and will soon become the next generation knocking at the door of your company. They are unlike any previous generation because they have grown up in a world unlike any previous generation. Denying the impact of this contextual setting and holding out that they will ‘grow up to be like us’ is simply nonsensical.
This is a generation that don’t make a clear distinction between their ‘online’ and ‘offline’ (if there is such a thing for them!) worlds. They gather, test and use their information using YouTube, Vine, Snapchat, Tumbir, iMessage, Kik and a host of other platforms and apps that allow them to connect whenever, however and with whoever they choose.
According to a 2014 Sparks & Honey study, what they want and expect is radical personalisation. This expectation – and your ability to deliver it, will be the battleground where your product or service will either be buried or thrive to live and fight another day.
There are four things that will win you this war.
- Simplicity. This is a generation who want to be able to figure it out for themselves and if they can’t, they will simply move on to another product or service where they can (figure it out). They read the reviews and pay attention to what their peers say and rate. Fail in these ratings and you will fail. The reality is that many (traditional) product guardians and gatekeepers aren’t even aware of these rating channels, tools and opinions!
- Speed. Generation Z want things NOW. Delays, disruptions and clumsy delivery processes simply have them going elsewhere. They lose interest quickly, have short attention spans and even less patience. You need to see them, respond to them and serve them now and they know it is possible. Speed of service and delivery, anticipating their need before they even know they have the need, has become a basic requirement rather than a source of distinction. The voucher, coupon, benefit needs to be delivered to their phone instantly and in a way that makes sense and adds real value to their lives.
- Service. Good service need not have a human touch. They trust technology and want to use and engage with technology. Humans need not apply when delivering services to Gen Z. This is a Generation that simply doesn’t require or expect human interaction is solving problems or getting things done. They expect you to solve their problems before they even realise they have a problem and to do so in a way that doesn’t require you to interact with them.
- See. Their world. The biggest blind spot for older generations either engaging or appealing to Gen Z is not seeing their world. Partly because much of it is invisible (to older generations) and partly because they don’t understand this new world. Assumptions are then made that ‘our world’ is ‘their world’. It is not. Understanding and accepting that is a crucial first step in developing your battleground strategy.
Good luck. You have been served.