Not so long ago, people bought products based on word of mouth or a family tradition of buying from a certain company. It was just what they did. The customer may still be the customer; however they are not the same kind of customer that companies sold to years ago. Sales is now a complicated game riddled with convoluted scientific strategy that goes into defining this new customer and marketing just the right message on just the right platform at just the right time to just the right group. What this boils down to is today’s businesses must present their products in a much different packaging than what has worked for previous generations.
WHEW! It’s tiring just thinking about it let alone doing it. We are talking about Generation Z. This group includes those born anywhere mid to late 90’s or after. This group, although they share many characteristics with their predecessors known as Gen Y (born 1980 – mid 1990’s), grew up using technology and have expectations that things will be handed to them with very little effort on their part. This is exemplified in characteristics such as their aversion to reading and preference to visual stimulation like pictures and video. This explains why apps such as Snapchat are widely popular among the Zs. This group’s view of social media is more of a means to an end rather than a place to hang out and be social. They think of social media as a tool to getting things done and getting answers. They are highly independent and prefer working for themselves over working for someone else, not to mention their affinity for creating things like apps and videos over buildings and car sales. And when it comes to which companies a Z will work for, they prefer those that are pretty transparent and socially conscious.
What does this mean for those of us attempting to cater to this next group of people who will be part of ruling the free world? It means that we must take what we sell and present it a new way and make damn sure we are doing more than selling a product at a price. We need to be embracing a mobile and virtual workforce while getting out there trying to make a difference in the communities around us without using that as a smoke and mirrors ploy to bump revenue. That would be disingenuous and most likely an immediate turn off. How do you re-package something that isn’t really all that glamorous in order to attract this new breed of customers and employees?
Zs want to know what you can do for them. You don’t associate your product with a shopping experience where the lowest price wins because that’s just slapping “lipstick” and a headband on the proverbial pig and Zs are looking for more than a dressed up product. You also don’t create the illusion that you can fix chaos when in fact all you can do is assist in managing the situation. Lies, illusions and cartoons won’t be the right method to capture the attention and interest of Generation Z. They know what they want and if they don’t get it then they just leave and they don’t come back. They don’t play politics or waste time haggling,
To be attractive to this new generation it is less about what you are selling and more about the full package you are delivering it in. It’s about what you as a company is doing to make a difference within the community of the Zs and the experience and flexibility you will provide as an employer. It’s about philanthropy and engagement where they are and championing for what they care about. Zs are charging through this world with the energy and enthusiasm to change it and are more apt to buy from and work for those who are on their page. If you are just now thinking about how to capture the new market, you’re late to the game. The good news is the game is still in the first quarter so it’s not too late but you must get going and you must to do it now.
How have you adapted your product packaging to attract Generation Z?