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Are You Reaching the Self-Starter Generation?

April 15, 2015

Baby Boomers. Gen X. Millennials. Generation Y. The Silent Generation. You've heard of them all. Now, meet Generation Z.

Monikers aside, different generations’ preferences, habits, and lifestyles have always been of interest to marketers and businesses. How can these individuals be reached? What are their values, interests, and behaviors? How do I manage them and keep them happy?

Marketing efforts have changed forms and have been shaped and shifted to cater to the next up-and-coming audience of Americans. Hang on to your hats—Generation Z is different than the Millennials who have stolen the spotlight for the past five years.

Generation Z includes tweens, teens and young adults born after 1995. Reports show that these groups total 23 million and growing. The oldest among Gen Z are entering college and the workforce. As employees and consumers, they’re worth noticing.

A study published by Northeastern University shows these individuals possess a strong entrepreneurial and self-sustaining spirit. But the picture is even brighter for those reaching Gen Z.

Check out these insights from both Northeastern University and the hip Sparks & Honey think tank:

They don’t rely on traditional expectations or choices. This population may live in a multi-generational household. Older siblings, maybe Millennials, may live at home, and Baby Boomer grandparents may live there, too. Overall, Generation Z is diverse, gender roles were less defined in their childhoods, and parenting styles shifted.

They were raised during the recession and may have watched their parents or siblings suffer as a result of it. They’ve resolved to think differently and pragmatically. They’re savvy, ready to work and have a strong entrepreneurial spirit. Leverage their enthusiasm in the workplace by giving them a platform for vetting ideas.

They communicate with speed—and with a new visual vocab. Enter emojis and emoticons, the language of Gen Z. Coming of age with cell phones, texting, and immediate communication, like Snapchat, influences their personal style. Whether you’re attracting them for internships or as customers, use the appropriate tools to communicate with them, and express the message with humility and honesty.

They have the insider track on what’s trending. Think of it this way: what’s new and what’s next? They conduct online research and rely on social media. Chances are your most recent YouTube discovery was not only created by a Gen Z individual, but it is already old news to them.

They’re ready to engage. These tweens, teens and young adults are concerned with the world, the economy, and their families, and they want to do something about it. Talk to them as such. Ask them to collaborate and engage. Give them multimedia platforms, like videos or podcasts, to engage with and broadcast their perspectives.

They’re looking at five screens. When communicating your organizational needs, use optimized content, a responsive site that is easy to use on any device, and a writing style that speaks to their need for quick, easily digestible bits of information.

No matter what generation you’re trying to reach, be thoughtful about using the most appropriate messaging and tools to reach them.

Help your Gen Z child plan for their education. Sterling National Bank provides access to Invite Education, a resource with useful information about saving for your family’s college costs.

Download the Generation Z Infographic:

More than a quarter of the U.S. population belongs to Generation Z. Here's what you need to know:

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