A Marketer’s Guide to the iGeneration

A Marketer's Guide to the iGeneration
While Millennials have stolen the marketing spotlight in recent years, a new market segment is now emerging called the iGeneration, or Generation Z, and brands can’t afford to ignore them. This audience is comprised of teens aged 13 to 19 and they’re the next generation of major consumers. They’re known as the iGeneration because of the digital devices they always have close at hand, as well as Generation Z, since they were born immediately after the Millennial segment known as Generation Y.

These teens may share a couple of traits with their Millennial peers, but they’re remarkably different from all other generations before them in many important ways. Since the iGeneration is becoming the powerful consumers of today and tomorrow, brands need to fully grasp their interests, goals, and hobbies to deliver the custom experiences they expect and demand every day. Now, marketers and brands can learn the very best ways to market to the iGeneration with this helpful guide that explains this young market from A to Z.

Tap into the iGeneration
This generation was born into digital times and came of age with social media. Not surprisingly, the iGeneration shares many digitally oriented traits with their Millennial peers, but they possess an even higher level of texting, media consumption, and multi-tasking than all other generations. In addition to their digital distinctions, the iGeneration has many characteristics that shape their preferences and personalities. To help brands understand what ultimately defines and drives the iGeneration, HBR.org featured findings from the recent “iGen Goes to School” study by Schneider Associates with the Pollack PR Marketing Group. These insights can be used by brands to develop marketing messages that resonate with this audience. Their research revealed that iGens are distinguished by the following features:

  • The modern-day “me” generation.
  • Completely comfortable with digital technology.
  • Extremely independent about their digital decisions.
  • Require information on demand.
  • Instant gratification is their norm.
  • Look to social media first to learn about new products prior to purchasing them.
  • Trust advice from friends, family, and peers on social media channels much more than from brands, organizations, and authority figures.
  • Regularly view media and content on multiple screens
  • Comfortable consuming large amounts of media from multiple touch points simultaneously.
  • Very selective about whom they allow to enter their digital world.
  • Only “like” and “follow” brands that embody and share their personal ideals.

Of course, it’s common knowledge that iGens only know a digital world and were raised in group-focused activities by overly pampering parents. According to research on PartnersRiley.com, defining these teens as simply tech-savvy team players just isn’t enough to fully understand their mindsets and motivations.

Social media is a constant in this generation’s daily lives, but not as much as brands and marketers may think. Facebook remains a favorite, but YouTube and Snapchat have become the generation’s social media platforms of choice. According to Mashable.com, 93% of iGens say they visit YouTube at least once a week, while 54% go to the video site many times during the day. And Snapchat feeds their endless needs for visual stimulation and instant gratification they can share with their peers.

And studies show that the iGeneration is more likely than all others to travel across a range of digital media. So to reach them with marketing, brands need to follow their lead and cross-channel their marketing messages on multiple digital and social channels. This will maximize both exposure and engagement when marketing to this audience.

To truly tap into this generation and market to them most successfully, brands need to take the time to closely examine the iGeneration’s desires, dreams, and challenges in both the online and offline worlds.

5 Musts When Marketing to the iGeneration
While brands needs to be aware of the unique factors and facets defining the iGeneration, just knowing them isn’t enough. Brands also need to learn how to leverage these personal traits to optimize their marketing campaigns and communications. Luckily, HBR.org analyzed recent research findings to provide these ideas, insights, and inspirations to market to the iGeneration.

1. Make It Personal
The iGeneration wants brands to recognize them as individuals, instead of a number or name on a list. And they expect this via personalized communications, both online and offline. That’s why brands need to personalize all of their communications to make them effective. And with this generation’s comfort with sharing personal information on social media channels, brands should also utilize this data when personalizing their messages and marketing.

2. Connect via Social Media
The iGeneration uses social media for everything, from connecting with friends to discovering information on new consumer products. Research shows that 81% of this segment uses social media as a resource for finding information. In addition to learning about new products, they use social media for real-time interaction with brands, as well as with others who favor a brand’s unique products and principles. To effectively promote their products and images to the iGeneration, brands must leverage their interest in real-time communication on social media channels.

3. Compel and Capture with Content
Since the iGeneration is constantly stimulated and swamped with content from countless sources, brands need to do more than make noise. To gain and retain their attention, brands must produce content that intrigues, excites, and engages. Remember, this a visual generation who’s regularly online, so a brand’s content and website design can make a real difference in their decisions. Brands must keep their visual orientation in mind when developing and designing their content and various digital properties.

4. Go Mobile
To reach the iGeneration, brands need to be mobile-minded. After all, this generation lives on their smartphones and uses them for daily decisions. That’s why brands need to make mobile one of their top marketing priorities. In addition to optimizing their digital properties for viewing on all devices, brands should leverage mobile apps, because this generation relies on them to find information and feedback on all kinds of products, services, culture, and education.

5. Be Ad Savvy
Social media may be king with the iGeneration, but brands shouldn’t overlook traditional media when trying to reach this teen audience. Brands just have to use a different approach on traditional media channels to engage them effectively. Since the iGeneration is inherently more digitally and socially oriented, brands should use traditional media in conjunction with new media channels to reinforce their messages on multiple media platforms.

The iGeneration is coming of age very rapidly, so brands can’t afford to wait to learn how to market to this audience and capitalize on their demographic differences and distinctions.

Keep up with the latest trends in marketing to the iGeneration. Contact MDG.

MDG, a full-service advertising agency with offices in Boca Raton and New York, NY, is one of Florida’s top branding firms. MDG’s capabilities include print advertising, direct mail marketing, branding, logo design, creative, media buying and planning, radio and TV advertising, outdoor, newspaper, digital marketing, website design and development, online video advertising, infographic development, email marketing, video marketing, mobile marketing, content marketing, social media marketing, paid search marketing, and SEO. To learn about the latest trends in advertising and branding, contact MDG.