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The $413 Billion Train Wreck: Gen Z is Growing up

Source | LinkedIn : By Shane Atchison

The marketing industry may be hurtling toward a massive train wreck. Businesses are pouring more and more money into automated technologies—think programmatic advertising—while the up-and-coming generation of consumers, known as Gen Z, doesn’t like brands or being targeted.

Considering that they’ll soon have $413 billion in buying power, this could be a problem. Or maybe not?

If you’re not familiar with the research around Gen Z, you’ll find it surprising. These kids are actually pretty cool. A quick look at their major likes and dislikes reveals a generation unlike any that has come recently.

  1. They’re way into analog. They’re definitely a making-and-building generation that is not glued to their phones like the rest of us. Gen Z likes board games, hanging out in person, film photography, and doing arts and crafts.
  2. They are overwhelmingly practical. Gen Zers are much more likely to look at the bottom line than their predecessors. They think college is about learning how to do things, not following their dreams. YouTube is massively popular with them, not just as an entertainment medium, but as a way of acquiring skills.
  3. Asked point blank, they say they don’t like authority figures or brands. Okay, this shouldn’t be surprising. They’ve watched their parents screw up the world and have learned to trust themselves, not us. And they seem to prefer quality to brand name.
  4. But they actually click ads more than most people. According to one study, Gen Zers pay attention to digital advertising in a big way. Not only are they more likely to click on ads than the rest of us, they are also more likely to buy as a result.
  5. They want to be treated as individuals. They have very unique identities that they’ve constructed through their rich social and entertainment landscape. As a result, they expect to be treated in more individualized (not personalized) ways than ever before.

How do you respond to such a contradictory set of values?

They are digital natives who go on YouTube to learn how to play acoustic guitar. They distrust brands, but are strangely open to advertising.

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