The Gen Z Marketing Bullshit List
Be Prepared To Filter Through Gen Z Stereotypes
Most modern brands recognize the size of Generation Z and the impact this new generation is having on the global economy. Along with their rise in influence, come many self-serving generational stereotypes. Many of them are eerily reminiscent of the Millennial stereotypes from the past and they offered little value for marketers. Even though some of the new generational characteristics like traditional media will not work to reach Gen Z, contain elements of truth, the majority of them are total b.s., designed to capture your attention and drive click-throughs.
As a curious youth marketer, I started researching for myself to find out how many lines of generational bullshit were out there that professionals are filtering through every day to get some version of the truth. I limited my search to the top ten pages on Google. In the video below I’ve provided a short edit summarizing my POV on a few of the stereotypes I found online and often hear mentioned in meetings.
Generational Attributes Are Only Part Of The Equation
In my opinion, generational marketing models alone are outmoded, especially in youth culture. If we want to connect with today’s individualistic youth audiences, then demographics, time periods and other less personal strategies need to be “part of” a more culturally based segmentation approach. Developing successful youth-focused initiatives that work in the real world, requires many factors be taken into account. Although generational characteristics make me cringe at times, they still play an integral part of the way we start to filter for cultural groups within Gen Z.
On the other hand, some marketing professionals argue that generational marketing approaches are dead and that today’s consumer trends can’t be predicted or understood by time periods. I believe that the ‘generations are dead’ theory is too dramatic and blurs the edges of the truth. It’s a buzz-phrase that might get views when published and makes some question their segmentation approach, but do the proponents of this theory believe that milestone moments in combination with demographic realities are useless? Does age, gender, ethnicity, generational life experiences or income no longer matter? I can tell you, right now, that they do to those who are in the trenches of youth marketing. Rather than deny generational insights and strategies, they should be redefined in new terms and approached differently — dictated by the consumer, technology and the present moment.
Join the conversation! What claims, statements or message on the topic of Generation Z have you read that you think should be added to the bullshit list? Share yours in the comments below, I’ll select my favorites and start creating a master list right here.
For further reading on this topic check out Chapter 4 of The Gen Z Frequency: How Brands Tune In & Build Credibility