Marketers, get ready for Generation Z

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Remember the good old days when the fax machine was the lifeline of businesses, people had to go to the library to find information, and the news came on after dinner?

Generation Z has no such memories.

This is the first generation of true digital natives. Born in the mid-1990s to 2010, Generation Z has had technology as part of their lives from day one, and they put virtually all their trust in it.

For this generation, Google is the holy grail of information, and they expect to find what they’re looking for instantly. They’re constantly tuned in, watching TV, tweeting, and Googling information at the same time.

Born during the recession, this generation is growing up appreciating the value of saving. As this generation comes of age and its spending power matures, it is essential for brands to know how to reach this diverse, technologically savvy demographic.

1. Make your information easy to find.

If it’s not on the Internet, it doesn’t exist. That might seem an extreme statement, but the sentiment behind it captures Generation Z’s mindset. Half of Gen Z surveyed in a Forrester study completely or somewhat trust information they’ve found through an online search engine. If brand managers want to reach this group, they must optimize their online content so it can be easily found.

Brand managers also must think beyond websites. Because social networks rank high in search engine results, brands should use networks that contain the information this group seeks. Two-way communication with brands is a way of life for Gen Z, and the concept of not being heard or engaged with baffles them.

2. Go beyond Facebook.

With their parents falling in love with Facebook, many members of Gen Z have dropped the social network and have flocked to networks their parents don’t know much about, such as Snapchat and Vine.

Additionally, these digital natives are everywhere and love multitasking. A multi-tiered approach is essential for marketers who want to ensure they reach this always-on-the-go generation.

For example, Beats by Dre increased Facebook “likes” by 1.7 million, Instagram followers by 76 percent, and YouTube subscribers by 57 percent through its interactive #ShowYourColor campaign, which integrated traditional ads, celebrity endorsements, and Gen Z participation on social networks.

This strategy is golden for reaching members of Gen Z, who use their smartphone while watching their favorite shows. Did I forget to mention 86 percent of this generation is connected to a mobile device while watching television?

[RELATED: Ragan’s biggest social media conference returns to the Walt Disney World Resort in April!]

3. Prove your value.

Similarly to their older counterparts Gen Y, members of Gen Z aren’t brand-loyal. What’s more, after seeing the recession hurt their parents and older siblings, they have a money-saving mentality. Fifty-seven percent of Gen Z reports they would rather save money than spend it. Marketers should use multimedia like video to demonstrate how their product works and can provide value to Gen Z.

Having a stellar brand reputation is also essential for marketers wanting to turn Gen Z into customers. Marketers must encourage conversations around their brand and ensure that it can found easily.

This can easily be done by creating an ambassador program for loyal customers or encouraging customers with positive experiences to use Yelp. When third-party advocates praise a brand, it increases a business’s credibility in the eyes of Gen Z.

What do you know about marketing to Generation Z? Please share your tips below.

A version of this article originally appeared on Vocus. 

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