The generation after the Millennials, Generation Z, is a larger group than the Baby Boomers or Millennials! Generation Z are mostly children of Generation X, but some have parents who are Millennials.
So guess what...That's what happens EVERY generation! Each one gets bigger and must be studied to understand what causes them to do what they do. This has been going on since the beginning of time! It's just that now, we NAME them more frequently! Each generation looks at the "next" generation as the "youth" or the "kids these days" and often times forgets that they will soon be YOU, the older generation...and then another will follow...and then another, and so on.
Plus each generation reacts to the previous one. Each generation defines itself by how it reacts to those before it. More importantly (to my industry) is how they react to advertising and marketing!
Let's look back first. What ever happened to the "Greatest Generation" or the GI generation?
They had babies called "Baby Boomers."
Those babies went on to create another generation that seemed to last for decades.
Those babies had babies that became Gen X'ers. Then came "Gen Y", then the "Millennial's", then "Gen Z."
These generations are not any different than the ones before them, but how they react to things has a definite correlation to the parenting and social aspects of the previous ones.
Many of the GI generation were products of the Great Depression and had the strength of "survival" implanted in their being. Their parents were frugal and strong on discipline. The GI gen knew that they had to "dig deep" to find hope and inspiration. And that is what they did! They react to an advertising message with trust and belief. Some call them naive and vulnerable for their simplistic point of view.
The Baby Boomers lived through a flourishing time and therefore felt more freedom to explore life...and they DID! They were impacted by TV and became acutely aware of social "stars" and celebrities. The Boomers were more open minded and feeling more knowledgeable, decided to question authority. So that ushered in the 60's and 70's mode of revolution. They react to advertising with speculation and question validity. Strangely enough, they were the creators of the "info-mercial" to prey on the previous generation!
As the Boomers became of age to produce another generation, (Gen X) they decided to allow their children to be more empowered. So enter the "participation trophy" and the softer approach to sensitivity. This generation wants to be set apart from previous generations and seeks "uniqueness" and a individualism. They want to be different.
As we sped into a new millennia, and technology began to engulf us, that generation began a more hands-off approach to raising children and more of a "social" approach for their offspring. Many of this generation were coddled and were provided with all they needed to survive comfortably with little interaction to their parents. The digital aspect permitted this generation to grow friendships with equipment and others utilizing the same items. Gaming, personal communication devices, and online social gatherings allowed them to embrace the friendships in a non-physical reality. This generation reacts to advertising messages completely different by ignoring a messages SENT to them and only engaging in messages that are within their personal reality or by "suggestion" or by a "review" of an online acquaintance or trusted source.
Now, the Gen Z has arrived and is more technologically entrenched than any generation before it. They are the largest group yet and will soon be adding yet another generation to the list. This generation is becoming aware of the impact that each group plays in social movements, politics, and marketing. They also are beginning to position "demands" for what they "want" and how it should be offered to them. This generation will react more to individual messages and personal approaches in advertising, and less to "conventional' methods.
But regardless of the generation, we all travel in vehicles of some sort. We all are exposed to images and sounds everywhere each and every day! We all enjoy some sort of entertainment. These are all places to insert a creative message that reaches and relates to each person.
And since we all are searching for something new and innovative. All are looking for things that makes their life better. Everyone wants something that makes you more comfortable, faster, better, or more fulfilled. The question will be, "How do we deliver the message?"
Different opportunities will arise at unprecedented frequencies. There will be more possible points of contact than ever before. We will be challenged to maximize the effectiveness of messaging to consumers by breaking down demographic groups into individuals! AI (Artificial Intelligence) will forever change marketing. We are already developing algorithms that actually predict patterns of individual consumers. We are studying consumer behavior not in macro, but in micro levels based on day-to-day performance and activities. With consumers being attached (some would argue addicted) to their personal devices more than ever before, it is both complex and accessible at the same time!
Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome "Gen-Tech" coming to a demographic near you!
Although I was born in the early 1960's, I still think, hope and dream like a 27-year old...until I look in a mirror!