Want to know something that’s even harder than marketing to Gen Z? Becoming an entrepreneur. Yet that’s precisely what 97% of Gen Z in the UK aspire to do according to an Open University study. And that’s not the half of it. “This is a generation that has actively had entrepreneurial opportunities growing up – in many ways, if you’ve grown up managing your personal brand on Instagram, you’re much better wired to think of yourself as an individual brand” says Arun Sundararajan, a business professor at New York University.
Seriously, marketers. You think you’ve got it bad? Studies show us how 90 to 95 percent of all startups never amount to what they projected initially for themselves in terms of expectations.Turner Little found that 8 out of 10 businesses incorporated with Companies House in the UK from 2007-2016 failed in under a year. Indeed, the chances of anyone developing a company that becomes the next big eBay or Etsy are on par with the chances of anyone becoming a rockstar.
But that doesn’t stop Gen Z. Because they’re rockstars like that. And therein lies a lesson for marketers: By fostering Gen Z’s entrepreneurial spirit — by betting on them realising their personal goals — we can win their loyalty as consumers of our own brands.
Here are three actionable ways companies can help fuel Gen Z’s inner entrepreneur:
1. Look internally for stories of entrepreneurship
Whether you're a mega brand or a small business, you’re likely standing atop a goldmine of resources that can help Gen Zers fulfil their vision of becoming entrepreneurs. In a word, you’re standing atop the successes (and failures!) of your own company. You can use those experiences to your advantage. By sharing your lessons learned with Gen Z entrepreneurs, you'll find a built-in audience that is hungry for advice, and who will give you their attention in return.
2. Turn these stories into inspirational moments
Your business battle scars are valuable life lessons for Gen Z. A super-simple way to share these lessons is to turn them into content. Whether that means starting a podcast, writing a blog series or setting up a monthly or quarterly live video session to share these stories with budding entrepreneurs — that's really up to you. Alternatively, encourage employees to take on non-profit work that gives back to students (think: Girls Who Code). Either way, you'll be aiding them on their path to entrepreneurial success, and that's something they'll appreciate.
3. Engage Gen Z with inspirational stories, not just product and promotions
Whether large or small, most companies devote the vast majority of their energy to filling students' inboxes with product and promotional offers. Something to keep in mind if you really want to cut through the clutter is that above almost anything else, Gen Z is craves value and authenticity. By spending the time to share the business principles and core beliefs that matter most to your organisation, you'll earn trust and credibility by showing — rather than more of the same old "telling". And in doing so, you'll actually matter more to Gen Z, too.