We can’t teach you 99 tech tricks to turbocharge your day or how to open a banana like a monkey…but we CAN provide you with some of the secrets to capturing the minds, hearts and (digital) wallets of Gen Z, the generation marketers can no longer afford to ignore.
W Hotels is generally credited with founding the boutique hotel movement. This movement helped kickstart personalization in hospitality by introducing smaller properties that could afford to be nimble and answer to the whims of their guests (the chain trademarked its “Whatever/Whenever” motto). But W was the exception, not the rule. Even while it was refashioning itself in the “boutique” mindset, Westin — its sister Starwood brand — was touting consistency as a its strongpoint.
It doesn't seem to matter how blue-chip your e-commerce platform may be — or how much of a household name your brand is among previous generations. Lots of brands have an "it's complicated" status with Gen Z. If you're one such company, you're in good company. Take eBay for instance. eBay is a far cry from 1995, when — so legend has it — the e-commerce giant sold its very first item online: a broken laser pointer for $14.83. Today’s eBay ranks at 172 among the world’s Fortune 500 companies and has a net revenue of nearly $9.6 billion. Its extant first-party data is the envy of most other e-commerce platforms. Year after year, its machine-learning algorithms manage to captivate and retain the long-term loyalty of millions of buyers and sellers worldwide.
Marketers and thought leaders have this odd fixation on proclaiming things “dead.” Every few months or so, we get a summary report that a particular technology, marketing strategy or consumer mindset is now outdated (usually as of last night) and become one with the dinosaurs and Elvises. We’re bombarded with reports about the “death” of programmatic advertising (when in fact there might not be anything of substance to take its place).
In an era where travel gets determined more often by Facebook than by Fodor’s, the definition of “what’s important” to do while vacationing gets blurrier with each passing year. And no single group is redefining what vacation time well-spent means more than Gen Z. With roughly $143 billion at Gen Z students' disposal, it’s high time travel marketers paid closer attention to what activities these new vacationers are looking for.
In case you missed it, the cat is out of the in-flight container: Gen Zers love to travel locally, nationally and globally. A recent global survey of students by UNiDAYS and Ad Age Studio 30 bears this out: an overwhelming 99 percent of Gen Zers have the travel bug in their veins. And with approximately $143 billion in personal income at their disposal, they’re already in a position to circumnavigate the globe millions of times over.
Once upon a time, at the height of the Mad Men era, an American marketing professor and author named Jerome McCarthy was hard at work and introduced the concept of “The Four Ps” of marketing (product, price, place, and promotion). Since the years of shift dresses, mid-century modern appointed Madison Avenue offices that permitted smoking, the 4 Ps have become a ubiquitous and timeless staple of marketing that has never gone out of style.
Ecommerce tends to take its triumphs a little for granted these days. There’s talk of how the “Amazon Effect” has upended the traditional “offline” customer journey, rendering it obsolete. There’s the implicit notion that a customer will no longer just mosey over to their favorite store, pick out a shirt they like, try it on in the fitting room, wait in line to buy it and then purchase it from an actual, live salesperson — certainly not in a world with 100 million loyal Amazon Prime members and counting.
Gen Zers depend on social media to connect with brands. That’s just a fact of life. The majority of North American tweens, high schoolers and collegiates (one recent study shows it to be 80 percent) believe social media influences what they buy online or in-store.
There was a time — not so long ago — when Enron executives were collectively known by their clients as “the smartest guys in the room.” There was a more-recent time when Volkswagen held an unimpeachable track record for emissions safety — until the so-called Dieselgate scandal came to light, sending its stock prices plummeting by 40 percent. There was even a time, at least before the release of Beyoncé’s “Lemonade,” when Jay-Z thought his street cred and talents as a rapper would keep his personal brand untouchable.