Business

Why Gen Z will change marketing in Ireland

Students strike for climate action to 'save our future'
Eileen Curry

GEN Z – also known as iGen are the newest named generation. Despite their youth (they are currently between three and 23) this generation is the largest ever, making up a staggering 32 per cent of the global population.

With significant buying power and social influence, this generation will certainly be of interest not only to marketers looking to sell products and services, but to organisations looking for the next generation of talent. A percentage of them will have already entered the workforce, though it will be the job of the marketing industry to ensure they are attracting these digitally-native future marketers. Last year, a CIM survey found that four in ten young people aged 17-19 were interested in a career in marketing — a significant opportunity for organisation's recruiting.

Research indicates that Gen Z differs greatly from their millennial counterparts – and getting to know how they will influence the consumer space is crucial.

With Gen Z already representing up to $143 billion in buying power, this new generation are immensely important to marketers. Increasingly, brands are beginning to understand that they're at the forefront of fashion and their influence extends far beyond their age group. It's crucial that marketers in Ireland recognise Gen Z are individuals, and their tastes, fashion, interests and values are vitally important to them.

A recent example of this was the global climate change strike, which saw hundreds of thousands of Gen Z in Ireland and around the world protest in the streets and across the internet.

The onus is now on Irish businesses to identify these values and attitudes and utilise them to make authentic connections with young people.

Whilst there is much discussion as to whether Gen Z practice brand loyalty in any way, it is also a question of understanding what it is that they value – and how to overcome fickle product-swapping.

A study by Lab42 found that whilst three-quarters of millennials value loyalty programmes, less than half of Gen Z shoppers were influenced to purchase because of a loyalty programme.

Moreover, it seems that loyalty programmes themselves need to evolve: Gen Z are increasingly looking for a brand experience that adds value, or simplifies, or aligns directly to their values.

With Gen Z set to be the biggest buying group by 2020, their new demands will only increase as technology evolves. Marketing strategies must reflect this to succeed and brands who fail to do this will do so at a great cost.

Whilst it might at first appear that instant gratification is the easiest way to attract Gen Z, forward thinking organisations should remember that creating personalised, interactive experiences will build brand loyalty in the long term for this ‘always on' demographic, with the ability to spend high.

Generation Z presents opportunity for Irish marketers, but their needs must be taken seriously. They are now making decisions that will shape the commercial and social landscape. Marketers, therefore, must be sure they are ready to meet the expectations of this digitally-native, time-poor generation.

:: Eileen Curry is chair of CIM Ireland

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