Many brands shifted their focus to millennial consumers when it became clear that this generation surpassed baby boomers in terms of numbers. Millennials are currently the biggest cohort in American history with an estimated 92 million of them likely to be making major purchases over the next ten years. Additionally, it’s predicted that millennial activity will be very influential in the economy in the near future, particularly in such areas as real estate and stock investing. For this reason, targeted marketing strategies aimed at this cohort make sense. However, coming up behind the millennial generation is Gen-Z and population will soon surpass the millennials. This up-and-coming generation’s influence on the market is why companies need to understand them ASAP.
Millennials came of age at a later time in their lives before being exposed to the digital era, whereas Generation-Z has been exposed to the digital era since birth. Born between 1995-2012, the Gen-Z population is considered the first true digital natives. This fluency in all things tech is partly what sets this generation apart from millennials, resulting in very different consumption behaviors. The older Gen-Z generation is just now entering adulthood, and it’s anticipated that they will create an enormous ripple effect throughout our economy given their impact on brand and product choices and shopping preferences. In order to get ahead of the curve, marketers need to consider this generation and prepare for its influence.
When conducting qualitative market research, it’s important that audience segmentation is considered when coming up with marketing strategies aimed at Gen-Z. Be careful not to lump them in with millennials. Instead, qualitative research consultants need to thoroughly understand this generation and use market research to tailor their strategies accordingly. Within market research, there are a number of nationwide qualitative research firms that employ several tactics to gather information about Gen-Z and millennials and are familiar with how they interact with products and services.
Mobile Ethnographic and Online and Research with Gen-Z
Because technology is deeply embedded in the lives of the Gen-Z population, nationwide qualitative research firms use mobile ethnographic and online research to collect data on this cohort’s typical routines and patterns. Often times qualitative research consultants team up with market research recruiting firms to recruit the target sample. Once recruited into a study, participants are asked to log into a qualitative research app. Research participants are often given a variety of assignments to do through the app that captures responses in real-time. Typically, participants are asked to provide rankings, respond to short questions, or upload some pictures. The data generated by their responses allows patterns to be identified, capturing crucial insights that may be relevant to a company’s product. This data allows a company to create marketing strategies that are relevant and pertinent to this group. Additionally, mobile ethnographic and online research are preferred among a younger generation as opposed to more traditional methods, such as focus groups, in-depth interviews, or in-person observation.
Social Media Listening
It is believed that nearly one-hundred percent of the Gen-Z population uses their mobile devices for at least one hour per day, with nearly 46% using their devices for 10 hours or more per day! This demographic favors newer social media networks such as Secret, Snapchat, and Whisper, and are slowly weaning off traditional social media outlets such as Facebook. Given the amount of time this generation spends online yields copious amounts of research data for market researchers to draw crucial insights from. Using qualitative listening methodologies, market research firms are able to mine thousands of internet conversations through social media listening. While this sounds alarming, keep in mind that these conversations and trends are public; reputable firms will never violate privacy rules when collecting data through social listening.
Gen-Z and Focus Group Discussions
While online research plays a big role with Gen-Z populations, not everything can be captured through apps. Tried-and-true in-person conversations remain relevant. Focus groups and in-depth interviews continue to provide incredible learning opportunities with Gen-Z groups, allowing market research consultants to have constructive and engaging. Insights gleaned from such conversations are beneficial for launching a product or shaping a brand.
Gen-Z knows is internet savvy, frequently makes purchases online, and is ambitious about meaningful work. Understanding this generation’s behaviors and how their influenced, will guide companies in their marketing strategies.