Remember when marketing to millennials was the next great thing that direct mailers and printers had to focus on? Well, that is so 2017. Sure, that age group should certainly be part of your planning today, but you really need to think hard about appealing to Generation Z too.
So … who is Gen Z anyway?
Well, basically they’re anyone born between 1995 and 2010. At nearly 73 million people, these post-millennials will account for 40% of all consumers by 2020.
Like the generations before them, these customers are already developing their own shopping preferences, values, and tendencies that brands are noticing. While you should always avoid generalizations, here are some ideas you can use to shape both your mail and print strategy, as well as tactics.
Respect Their Values
Generation Z is the most ethnically diverse generation in American history. So it shouldn’t be surprising that in their social views, they are very open-minded, valuing equality and inclusivity in gender, sexuality, and race, among other things.
What To Do: Take care that your content, copy, and images represent the America that they know.
Make Your Marketing Compelling
According to a recent study by MNI Targeted Media, Gen Z spends more uninterrupted time reading print newspapers and magazines than viewing content on digital channels. But don’t think that merely being in print – with a brochure, an envelope, a postcard – is going to be enough for them. To keep those eyeballs on your marketing, you’ll have to be different.
What To Do: Use content and images that speak to their values (see above). And as with other audiences, print that engages – with textures, inks, papers – can be a powerful way to get and keep their attention on you and your brand.
Go Beyond The Tech
It’s tempting to think that Gen Z spends all of their time on their phones. After all, it is the first truly native digital audience in history. But surveys show that reality is a little more nuanced than one would think. A Foursquare study, for example, said that these consumers are 23% more likely to visit shopping malls than the average shopper.
What To Do: As a marketer, think of ways you can drive traffic from this group to visit brick-and-mortar locations. For one thing, your mail and store flyers should be truly omnichannel, making it as easy as possible to search, shop, buy, and pick up. Also – and this is good advice in general – look at enhancing and tailoring their retail experience as a way of standing apart from bottom line-oriented competitors.
Still think you can get away with generic, one-size-fits-all direct mail? Not with this audience! They don’t want to be marketed to any more than other generations do. But especially because they’ve grown up communicating one-on-one with brands on social media, your mail needs to be more individualized than ever before to be relevant.
What To Do: Use variable data printing (VDP) that skillfully and respectfully starts a conversation that can continue online, or in person. And be specific as possible to spell out what you can do for them. Think about how Amazon creates an experience customized for each customer, one that is based on a highly complex blend of creative elements and lots of data to make it work. It’s a tall order to make happen, but one worth striving for.
Ideas To Use
- You can use your mail to communicate how your company or organization aligns with the values of your prospects. Generation Z – more than other generations – says it that considers a social impact like a charitable donation when thinking of buying from a brand. For example, you can highlight what cause or causes your company supports, or how your mail piece demonstrates a responsible, sustainable use of paper.
- Remember how the right print piece or mailer can get and keep Gen Z’s attention? For some marketers, re-targeting a digital customer, maybe one that lapsed or never bought in the first place, with a printed, data-driven, individualized direct mail postcard or self-mailer will provide the value they need and make a connection with your company or brand.
- No matter what your business or organization sells or does, seamlessly operating across channels is vital to engage Gen Z. If you’ve torn down your silos, if buying from or experiencing your company works well offline as well as online, make that very clear on your direct mail.