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Step Aside, Millennials. Make Way for Generation Z.

For all you Millennials out there, your time is up. A new generation is stealing the spotlight, and the world better get ready.

Born in 1990 or after, Generation Z makes up about a quarter of the U.S. population and contributes $44 billion to the U.S. economy. These young kids are well-educated, tech-innate, and avid multitaskers. I should know; I have two Gen Zers at home who continue to amaze me with their iPad navigation skills. Oh, they’re only 1 and 3.

Although some people fear that Gen Zers will be nothing more than a bunch of preoccupied, selfie-posting nomophobes, they may not be the dumbest generation after all. In fact, they’re probably the smartest and the one to change and save the world.

Growing up in the aftermath of 9/11 and the economic recession, this group tends to be more fiscally and socially responsible. They consider themselves mini-entrepreneurs and inventors who will make a difference in the world.

And for the first time in history, this generation will consume more media online than offline, taking information access and communication to another level.

By the time they reach middle school, 83 percent of American kids will have mobile phones. They will spend 20 percent of their lifetime on social media – Facebooking, Instagramming, Snapchatting, and Whispering. Multitasking is put on steroids, with up to five devices used at a given time and switching between devices occurring 27 times per hour. Sadly, this is due to humans’ eight-second average attention span, which is now even less than that of a goldfish.

So is Gen Z a marketer’s dream, because they use all forms of media communications? Or are they a marketer’s nightmare, because they constantly switch focus? Either way, we need to figure out how to capture and keep their attention. If you want to reach Gen Z, start with these six tips:

1. Communicate with visuals. Keep it visually engaging and straightforward. They don’t want to read a bunch of stuff.

2. Master the art of SoLoMo (social-local-mobile). Find creative ways to reach them through social media on their mobile devices.

3. Create snackable content. They have a short attention span and constantly switch devices. You have eight seconds to get your message across.

4. Tap into their entrepreneurial spirit. Invite your consumers to participate in the brand, and collaborate with them. Ask them to make and suggest things. Empowering them will not only capture their attention but also garner their loyalty.

5. Include a social cause to rally behind. Make social responsibility part of your brand and culture, and they are likely to applaud and respect you.

6. Tell your story across multiple screens. Travel with your customers as they switch from device to device. Wherever they are, make sure you are there too.

And whatever you do, do not underestimate this generation. They have the power to define the future of consumer behavior and will be the ones to teach us a thing or two. Brands and companies that learn how to connect to them now will be better poised to evolve with them. We have only one chance to make a first impression with them, so let’s not blow it.

Categories: 1000 ft. POV, Advertising, Digital Media, New Media, New Technology, Social Media

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