Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Generation Who?

You’ve heard of the Traditionalists (1992-1945), the Baby Boomers (1946-1964), Generation X (1965-1980), and Generation Y (1981-1995), but now Generation Z is entering the our markets. So who are these Gen Zers?

According to Wikipedia, Gen Zers are the individuals born between the mid-1990s through the early 2000s. Gen Zers follow Generation Y and are typically the children of the Baby Boomers, Generation X and Generation Y. Another name for this Generation is the New Silent or Homeland Generation.

Gen Z, like Generation Y, is viewed as being highly connected by having multiple ways of communication through different media resources. For example, these individuals tend to use the World Wide Web, instant messaging, text messaging, DVD’s, YouTube, and cellular phones to connect personally and professionally. Though we thought Generation Y was the most technologically advanced group, it has been said that Gen Z will be the most technologically advanced group among the other generations.

Gen Zers have grown up in a world with relatively widespread gender equality at work and in the home, as well as in a two-income home. Gen Zers are seen as needing structured activities. However, it is predicted Gen Z will develop strong social conscience and work ethic as they grow older.

It is important for marketers to understand the characteristics and behaviors of this new generation because these individuals have or will start making their own purchasing decisions to fit their needs and desires. Therefore, it is important for businesses and organizations to properly target Gen Z along with the other generations within the business’s marketing mix.

What is a marketing mix? A marketing mix has four different categories: product, price, place, and promotion (the Four Ps). When a product is being considered for marketing, characteristics like the brand, packaging, styling, functionality, warranty, and accessories help the business determine who they will be targeting. For instance; a feminine product may be packaged in pink, whereas a masculine product may be packaged black or blue.

The price decisions are encountered when the business determines the pricing strategy, whether to offer bulk discounts, bundling, price flexibility, and a suggested retail price. When marketing the pricing structure to Gen Zers, the business should understand tha Gen Zers are not very price sensitive. They appear not to care how much things cost unlike the Traditionalists or Baby Boomers.

When considering the place or distribution of a product, businesses have different avenues to choose from in order to get their product out to the customers. For instance, warehousing, distribution centers, transportation, ordering processes, and inventory management are a few items that are included in the marketing mix for the distribution of products. If marketers choose to market to Gen Zers, they will find it most beneficial to market and advertise their products online and offer a one stop shopping experience for this generation.

Lastly, promotion is the marketing communication a businesses use to get the word out about their products. This includes advertising, sales promotions, personal selling and the marketing communication budget. Of the Four Ps, businesses would need to focus mainly on promotion in order to earn the business and loyalty of Gen Zers. The main point of interest would be to advertise online on websites and social networks Gen Zers frequently visit.


1 comment:

  1. Thoughtful and insightful essay. Kudos. But it’s missing an important part of the equation: Generation Jones, born 1954-1965, between the Boomers and Generation X.

    Google Generation Jones, and you’ll see it’s gotten a ton of media attention, and many top commentators from many top publications and networks (Washington Post, Time magazine, NBC, Newsweek, ABC, etc.) now specifically use this term. The Associated Press' annual Trend Report chose the Rise of Generation Jones as the #1 trend of 2009.

    It is important to distinguish between the post-WWII demographic boom in births vs. the cultural generations born during that era. Generations are a function of the common formative experiences of its members, not the fertility rates of its parents. Many experts now believe it breaks down this way:

    DEMOGRAPHIC boom in babies: 1946-1964
    Baby Boom GENERATION: 1942-1953
    Generation Jones: 1954-1965
    Generation X: 1966-1978

    Here's a page with a good overview of recent stuff about GenJones: