With the oldest group of millennials turning 40 this year, it’s time for businesses to start shifting part of their focus to the next big market, Generation Z. A GGV Capital article states this generation of buyers will account for a quarter of Asia-Pacific’s population by 2025. The older Gen Zs are now entering the workforce and are quite possibly participants in buying committees for their business technology. These generations are different from Millennials. Millennials are older than Gen Z in that they have strong beliefs in causes and societal issues, which can pose a challenge for B2B marketers. In this article, we will break down what a Generation Z B2B buyer is like and the exhilarating opportunities for engagement with this next generation of buyers.
Image taken from Mothership
Gen Z, who are they?
Generations are generally defined by birth date ranges or by formative experiences. The birth year range for Generation Z is between 1997 to 2012 and most Gen Z workers are 25 years old now. Interestingly, a common differentiator for Gen Z individuals is whether they remember 9/11. Most Gen Z members have almost no recollection of the event. A very notable characteristic about Gen Z is that they are true digital natives, they do not know a world without the internet. According to data from GWI, people in this age group spend on average 10 hours a day (or nearly three days of every week) using internet-connected devices, this amount of time is 4 times more than watching Netflix. Unsurprisingly, they conduct their social media activities on their favourite platforms such as YouTube, Instagram and TikTok. This has resulted in them being comfortable with digital channels so much so that they are the first ones aware of new marketing techniques.
Gen Z has grown with digital influencers and has turned TikTok, the widely known dance app into a platform for people to have meaningful, authentic discussions about important social issues. This is a generation who is aware of the power they must influence conversations. Growing up during the Great Recession has caused an impact on their approach to finance, they have a strong aversion to financial debt. It is common for them to be fiscally conscious and to save whenever possible.
In a study by McCann Worldgroup, youths in the APAC region value creativity and brand empathy. 89% of Gen Zs believe they have the power to influence a brand’s actions for the better. The top 2 countries are Singapore and Indonesia, with 91% and 95%, respectively. 74% of Gen Z respondents in Singapore believe social media gives people a voice. About 77% of Singaporean Gen Zs believe they have a responsibility to make a positive contribution to their community. With the belief that they can influence brands being so high in Asia-Pacific markets, it is safe to assume that this generation is eager to make their voices heard.
Gen Z at the workplace
The expectations of Gen Z are high. They have been socialized in an environment where technology and innovation have skyrocketed, from smartphones to instant global connectivity with big data becoming part of everyday life within their short lifetimes (a span that covers millennials). This pace plays a role in what they expect going forward – not only does it set the floor but also challenges any company looking at targeting this demographic. This younger generation tends to use emojis more than other generations. They are also likely to express their feelings with acronyms and abbreviations. They would more than likely use an emoji or type out “IRL” (in real life) to their colleagues (or even their boss) than they are to craft a carefully written email. The benefit of this is that work-speak doesn’t have to be so buttoned up. We can get things done more quickly by using an emoji or silly meme in our conversations, which will make everyone laugh!
The impact Gen Z has had on work communications is not only inclusive but also highly accepting. According to Pew, this abundance of diversity can be seen through their embrace of same-sex marriage and gender fluidity with 33% knowing someone who prefers others to use gender-neutral pronouns when referring to them while 59% believe that online profiles and forms should include gender-neutral options.
Photo by mentatdgt
The difference between Millennials and Gen Zs
What sets Generation Z apart from Millennials? Generation Z is more pragmatic than Millennials. They’re less willing to compromise on their values, and they want employers who share those beliefs as well – this means that companies should consider investing time into understanding what motivates this generation if they hope for long-term success. In contrast with the idealistic nature of the Millennials, Generation Z has been labelled “pragmatic” because this cohort care deeply about getting things done right away without much fuss or bother. Also, their pragmatic outlook could also be attributed to them experiencing the harsh lessons of the recession, and not having the experience of navigating the recession. Some evidence suggests that Gen Z is less likely to be influenced by customer experience than Millennials. Gen Z may be more interested in the financial or other such as features of a product or service and are also less likely to trust companies than Millennials. This can make it harder for companies to build trust with Gen Z customers to create brand loyalty.
How do you market to them?
Let’s not get traditional
The AIDA (Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action) model will not work for this bunch. Today in this very digital age, Gen Z have their mobile devices at their disposal. And this technology may have changed the way their brains process information. The rise of social media has created a desire for instant gratification and made us want things faster. This means that Gen Z will avoid data if it isn’t important to them. Gen X and Baby Boomers may still be interested in traditional pitches from businesses, but Gen Z wants to be marketed to in a more personal way that is hidden or secretive.
So, what should a brand do? We must understand that Gen Zs are not interested in being passive consumers. They want to be involved. Maybe the rise of social activism is evidenced enough of this. For this, we can look to experiential marketing and top-tier content creation.
Maybe it is time to think of new ways to market your company to young people in the workplace. Traditional methods, like whitepapers and PDFs, might not be as popular as they used to be. Try creating content that is more interesting and engaging for this age group. And yes, that could mean creating a TikTok account for your business.
Set brand values and own them
Gen Z is particularly concerned with social issues, no matter what political party they belong to. According to research, 45% of the generation boycotts businesses. 36% of people prefer to buy products from companies that have the same social and political beliefs as they do. This feeling is likely to stay with us as we get older, too. 66% of shoppers say that how a company reacts to movements will permanently impact their view of that brand. This means that the values of a company’s brand are important to them, and they will likely be affected by their B2B purchases and loyalty. To appeal to Gen Z, B2B brands do not need to be political. However, they do need a playbook with human values that they plan to stand by. Standing for certain values will help B2B brands market and recruit Gen Z.
Digital experiences that are seamless
Like Millennials, Gen Z is very versed with technology, they are after all the first fully digital native generation. So, it’s not surprising that these generations expect a seamless digitized experience that is personalised and relevant to them. Think like a B2C brand, you need to consider how to make your business more like a company that people buy from and to make it possible for Gen Z buyers to connect with your business in a way that is comfortable for them. To develop this, you need to figure out what each touchpoint is in the process that customers go through when they might be interested in buying your product or service. You will then need to optimize each step for your audience. Here is a rundown of each of the steps:
Touchpoint 1: Impress them at the start
The prospective buyers that visit your website need to see value in your business. Make sure your content shows your prospects that you have what they need to solve their problems if you want your business to stand out from the competition.
Touchpoint 2: Evaluation before making a decision
It is important that your customers are given the opportunity to evaluate your solutions before making a purchase. These channels can be used to reach buyers during this stage of their journey, such as chatbots, reviews, case studies, and FAQs.
Touchpoint 3: Lead Conversion
An experienced sales representative is vital when it comes to high-value or large-scale purchases. Meanwhile, explore the channels your prospects use to engage with your brand. You can reach out to them through marketing channels like emails, cold calling, social media platforms, etc.
Touchpoint 4: Entice them to return
The majority of B2B revenue will come from repeat purchases, so it’s crucial to create personalised accounts for each customer. Customers can be enticed to return by flexible decision-making, automating discounts, providing product recommendations, and allowing them to filter their preferences.
Touchpoint 5: Maintain relations
You will have established a strong relationship with your customer after the first 4 touchpoints. Follow up and promote open and honest communication on a regular basis to maintain and strengthen this new relationship.
In the next few years, the Baby Boomers and Generation X will start to leave buying committees. As they retire, Generation Z will take their places. B2B marketers must sooner or later respond to the buying power of Gen Z. If companies want to be successful in the long run, they should start engaging with younger buyers now. This can be done by meeting Gen Z where they are and providing the right content.
If you’re looking for a dedicated team to future-proof your business that appeals to the up-and-coming generation, look no further than Convergence Concepts. We have the skills when it comes to experience design, strategy, creative and digital media. Feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your inquiries.