Who is Gen Z?
Generation Z usually refers to those born between 1995 and 2012, succeeding Millenials and preceding Generation Alpha. They are often called “digital natives” because they are the first generation to have enjoyed access to the internet and portable digital technology from a young age.
In Nigeria, these digital natives were perfectly placed to benefit from the country’s digital era. While the oldest Gen Zs were born in 1995, Nigeria’s telecom industry was liberalised in 2000. Notably, 2G licenses were auctioned by the government to private companies in 2001. Quickly, mobile telephony deepened – marked by an increase in mobile lines from zero in 1999 to 9.2 million by 2004 and 189 million by March 2020. Internet adoption is expected to explode in the next decade due to broadband penetration and the rising population of these digital natives. Nigerian youth are twice as digitally included as the general population.
How important is Gen Z?
Gen Z already makes up 30% of the global population and up to 50% of Africa’s young population. In Nigeria, Gen Z is the most prevalent generation. According to the CIA World Factbook, one in every four Nigerian is Gen Z!
How important are Gen Z to businesses? By 2018, they already controlled almost $44 billion in discretionary spending. This is an interesting sum that will exponentially increase as this group gets older and joins the working class. In a decade, the group will account for a third of all consumers worldwide – presenting vast opportunities for businesses. Meanwhile, businesses are increasingly under pressure to understand who these new consumers are and what they want.
Are you ready to sell to these important consumers? We have tips for you.
How to sell to Gen Z
Because they are digital natives, Gen Zs are used to the availability of information and the immediacy of it. They take in information instantaneously and lose interest just as fast. They are spending more time on their electronic devices and less time reading books. This makes their attention span shorter than their Millennial counterparts, so they prefer video and images rather than text. Communication with Gen Z must therefore be concise and visual. A punchy headline or a razor-sharp text will resonate much better than long passages. If you do not communicate in five words and a big picture, you will not reach this generation.
With YouTube being a choice website for the majority, Gen Z is also very video-centric. Consider short, 1-3 minute videos. On most smartphones, videos take the entire screen, so they must be brief and interesting. Gen Z must be allowed to return to other pacy, interesting things.
Gen Z has no loyalty to institutional brands and no respect for inefficiency. They will quickly abandon any applications that complicate their lives. Instead, they prefer predictive, personalised digital experiences. Gen Z consumers are most willing to provide personal information if it would help websites and apps deliver personalised services tailored to their preferences.
Ultimately, brands must adopt systems that make the user experience seamless. In the tussle for market share, the companies that will thrive will be flexible and forward-looking.
On their smartphones, Gen Z multi-tasks across multiple screens. The average Gen Z uses the user-friendly interface of their iPhone to simultaneously create a document, edit it, post a photo on Instagram and talk on the phone. They are comfortable multitasking and think they are inefficient if they are not.
Predictably, Gen Z spends a lot of time online, ten hours a day, according to Goldman Sachs reports. Their use of social media is often fragmented, they use different platforms for different activities – Instagram for showcasing, Snapchat for sharing real-life moments, Twitter for the news, and Facebook for information. Therefore, connecting with them via social media necessarily involves reaching them the right way, using the best-suited platform.
Gen Z is also aspirational, uniquely principled. They value diversity, tolerance, individuality, and self-expression. The Nigerian Gen Z did not witness the totalitarianism of military rule, so they are less timid and more demanding of the right to freedom of expression. They are uniquely cynical about culture, religion, politics, capitalism, and similar concepts which the older generation takes for granted. They engage in public discourse and call out injustices around the world. Importantly, they use technology to solidarise and amplify their voices.
Adweekly notes that marketing messages aimed at Gen Z “need to be clear about what they stand for so that their brands are not interpreted as uninvolved in or opposed to social causes important to Gen-Z-ers”. Gen Zs expect brands to lend their voices to causes that matter. These brands must therefore be aware of these social causes. There are important lessons to learn from the #EndSARS protests and Gen Z’s declaration of loyalty to people and brands who supported the cause.
Gen Zs prefer authenticity, so they are most impacted by their peers. Deep Patel (serial entrepreneur, marketer, and bestselling author) wrote for Forbes, “Influencer marketing has become extremely popular for targeting younger demographics. Influencers appear more genuine, they carry their loyal audiences and the content they produce tends to outperform the content most brands create internally.”
An influencer is someone with a significant number of followers in a specific niche. Simply, influencers influence – what other people think or do. Others buy what they buy. You may leverage influencer marketing by finding potential or established influencers and recruiting them to produce and promote relevant content.
If an advertisement looks like an advertisement, Gen Z will be skeptical and blind. To capture their attention, offer experiences and entertaining interactions. If you want to deliver marketing messages, utilise interactive tools such as calculators, games, customer feedback forms, questionnaires, or chatbots. These can be more successful than traditional banners when it comes to educating them about products and services.
Gen Z is online for entertainment and emotional gratification. This distinguishes them from older generations who care for information and utility. Brands must therefore connect on an emotional level, and must provoke a feeling, preferably humour. Gen Zs want to laugh.
The Nigerian Gen Z care about costs. They will peep prices before considering the quality. Gen Zs are, therefore, constantly browsing e-commerce platforms to sort lists and find the best deals. This group will only pay a premium for service that is better than cheaper alternatives. If there exists a deal with similar quality and better price, Gen Z will find it. Brands should therefore consider undercutting the competition. An effective way of doing this is by offering discounts for referrals.
A reward-based referral model will drive sales. As established, Gen Zs are easily influenced by peers who can confirm experiences. The internet offers a compounding reach for businesses through referrals, providing the most efficient means of advertisement.
2020 plunged even more businesses into the digital marketplace due to Covid-19. Businesses around the world have had to move the majority of their activities online. Although abrupt, this shift has yielded positive results for businesses that have been able to keep up. They have built digital experiences and tapped into larger audiences. A significant segment of this audience is predictably Gen Z, who was already living in a digital-first world.
To Gen Z, the online experience is tested and trusted. To everyone, it is the new paradigm. The only real choice for businesses is to get on board and meet this generation where they are. Your size or industry does not matter. All kinds of businesses should seek to understand how they can engage Generation Z.