Generation Z and the Influencer Economy
Tue, April 20, 2021

Generation Z and the Influencer Economy

In no time, the new generation will have the money to spend as they enter into adulthood, and already they’re dictating how the world of marketing is moving as more influencers make sure to include them in everything and big brands think of ways to engage them / Photo by: William Perugini via 123RF

 

In no time, the new generation will have the money to spend as they enter into adulthood, and already they’re dictating how the world of marketing is moving as more influencers make sure to include them in everything and big brands think of ways to engage them. 

They dictate how marketers market to them more than the other way around, and that’s because they’re more adept and versatile in the online world where brands and companies thrive as well. In a few year's time, the Gen Z, the demographic after the Millennials, will have a $143 billion spending power.  

The Digital Generation 

The most noticeable trend of marketing attached to the digital generation is influencer marketing. In fact, it’s so linked to this new generation that influencers can sometimes be as young as 13 years old. TikTok is the social media platform that has the most below 18 influencers who are already making money just from peoples’ obsession with watching other people; such is the model of the platform. 

It should be noted that while the older generations love to rain on the Gen Z parade and call them nothing but lazy and consumed by their phones, they are still smarter than any generation before them. It’s the access to information at their fingertips that gives them another advantage, not to mention the uncanny compassion they’ve developed through their close-knit, supportive online connections. 

According to marketing website The Drum, Gen Zs are the most passionate when it comes to their ideals and values. 

Writes Emilie Tabor: 

“Influencers are the ones who inspire their peers in their pursuit of purpose and truth, while also spreading Generation Z’s message across older generations. It’s safe to say that Generation Z influencers have helped building this new cultural panorama and are more relevant than never before. They aren’t influencers, but creators, innovators, who are leading content creation to new and unexplored dimensions.”

The children of the new generation are more connected to relevant issues as well, so much so that marketers have to constantly be on their toes to make sure that the new generation will be able to understand what they are doing. Even if they think they do, Gen Z are also very perceptive; they hold fast to their beliefs and like to see those beliefs on the media they consume. 

Outside the Digital 

What about how Gen Z are outside social media and the digital world? How does the industry predict how they will buy the things they want? 

Picking up from the fact that Gen Z buyers value their own beliefs a lot and stick firmly to them, the best way to reach Gen Z buyers is to remember this, according to chief technology officer and cofounder of Retail Zipline:

“They [Gen Z] prefer to shop in situations where they can chat with their friends, engage with store associates, and feel confident that their purchase decisions are supporting businesses that treat employees well.”  

This much is true because after Retail Zipline surveyed Gen Z consumers, they found that 58% of the generation said that “they would rather shop in stores with an established space,” and only 11% are willing to visit pop-up shops. It could also be that Gen Z are more conscious of their choices than any other generation, taking to account big picture economics and things like sustainability. 

Because despite their general image of being always connected to the internet and knowing all the latest trends, this generation is actually very aware of the plethora of relevant things that they find important. That is heavily linked to their buying behavior. 

The big challenge is catering the marketing for all. Despite the fact that Gen Z consumers will come into enough money as they grow older, brands still have to reach out to Millennials and Boomers, who are the biggest consumers. 

The good thing is that the underlying trend seems to be that authenticity is highly-valued now. Consumers don’t just want to buy things, they want to make sure they’re making the right decision in trusting the brand.

According to Steve Mormoris, the CEO and founder of Edge Beauty, “On some level, all companies and all brands strive for this concept of authenticity. The difference is today, people find authenticity in a messaging that tends to be relational rather than transactional. Very often, consumers like a brand that admits they make mistakes, that asks them to participate in the creation of the brand or is involved in charity giving or making the planet better."

The Trend for Influencers 

If you happen to find yourself on the other side of the spectrum and are working as the influencer instead, the best way to engage your audience effectively is to follow what they want, and they want timely content, first of all. 

Gen Z’s being constantly online means they are always updated about everything. Lizzo’s dress at the Grammys carpet? They’ve heard of it. Possibility of world war II becoming a reality? Best believe they’ve already made memes (though not very tasteful) out of it. They know everything so it’s important that influencers ride that wave of information, too. 

MarTechSeries, a marketing insights website, suggests always being active on every relevant platform -- Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and even Facebook, which, although people say might just slowly slip into obscurity someday, is still quite an active platform. 

These platforms are also crucial in constantly understanding audiences. So, it’s like influencers are their own marketing researchers. 

Using these platforms will get them to really align themselves with what their audiences want. It’s also important to be versatile with your content. Each social media platform is created differently; Twitter is for shorter content and often hilarious videos, Facebook can now accommodate longer videos thanks to the addition of Facebook Watch, and Instagram is all about pictures. 

Learning to navigate that will help you become adept at both reading your audience and making sure that your content is up to their standards. 

Being able to work multi-channel networks is a prized skill in the influencer economy.  

If you happen to find yourself on the other side of the spectrum and are working as the influencer instead, the best way to engage your audience effectively is to follow what they want, and they want timely content, first of all / Photo by: Roman Samborskyi via 123RF