By Mark Wright, OD, FCOVD,
and Carole Burns, OD, FCOVD
Feb. 27, 2019
The next wave of young people to impact your practice will be Generation Z. Here’s what they want from you, including how you can build services and a brand that will appeal to them.
Let’s first put things into perspective by identifying the birth year for the different generations. According to The Center for Generational Kinetics there are five generations having an active role in our marketplace, and four or five generations having an active role in our workforce. These are the birth years for each generation.1
What do we know about Gen Zs? A Gen Z born in 1996 is 23 years old in 2019. Gen Zs live on the internet and can be thought of as “digital natives.” The Gen Z generation already has $44 billion in annual purchasing power. Here are more key statistics about this generation you should know:
• 98 percent own a smartphone
• 85 percent learn about new products via social media
• 71 percent watch more than three hours of online video daily
• 67 percent prefer seeing “real people” in ads
• They have an 8 second attention span
• 51 percent use ad-blocking software
• 91 percent prefer other social media platforms over Facebook
• Almost 50 percent will be connected online for 10 or more hours a day
• They make up 71.7 million people in the U.S. population
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Gen Zs are different from Millennials. A good way to think about GenZs is this summary statement, “Gen Z craves a personal, authentic connection. We grew up watching and interacting with YouTube stars who were just like us, not elusive, Hollywood celebrities. As such, we appreciate the chance to engage with authentic, imperfect art.”
Gen Z are fans of companies that are reliable and creative. Examples would be Converse, Starbucks and Vans (the sneaker company). Twenty-five percent of Gen Zs are saving up to buy a luxury product, and it’s important to know that they like Gucci over Coach.
To take this information and make this practical, what can we do in our marketing to attract Gen Zs to our practice? There is a nice article in Forbes that helps us market to the Gen Z population:
1) Don’t create ads – create value.
2) You can’t just talk about being an industry leader, you must look the part.
3) Gen Zs care about what you can do to help them.
4) Gen Zs use on average five screens (smartphone, TV, laptop, desktop and tablet), whereas Millennials on average only use three screens. Therefore, you have to be in more digital places than just one.
5) Give them the full story in eight seconds or less.
6) Gen Z doesn’t want to talk about changing the world, they want to do it. Show them you are actually changing the world.
7) Over 50 percent of Gen Z would rather purchase online, so you must have an online “store.”
8) Online conversations and community are what ring true because that’s where their friends are.
Mobile devices are their primary form of communication which means that you need to communicate with them this way as well.
9) Celebrity marketing doesn’t work like it used to, so use real people – especially local people – in your ads.
10) Gen Z wants everyone to get along, so don’t try to prove that you’re right and someone else is wrong.
We need to spend time thinking about how we are going to market to Gen Zs in an intelligent, thoughtful and inclusive way both in our physical locations and in our digital communications. Doing this correctly will impact our practices positively for the next 50 years.