While many B2B marketers are focused on Boomer and Millennial age senior marketing executives, what are B2B brands doing to connect with the next Generation of buyers? You know, those junior marketing pros born after 1997 aka Gen Z? Content Director at Semrush, @LenoxPowell, shared useful insights about connecting this up and coming group of customers that includes buyers of B2B products and services.
First, you should know that GenZ is a large cohort – 32% of the global population, with massive spending power.
Second, you should know that GenZ are definitely not Millennials 2.0.
While Millennials are aspirational, idealistic and adapted to tech, their brand expectations are about storytelling On the other hand, Gen Z are authentic, pragmatic, and visual first about technology with brand expectations are about storyliving.
Don’t worry, I had to look up “storyliving” too. Jeff Fromm describes it as, “StoryLiving™ is about what companies do, not just what they say. It is not just being unique, but also meaningful and acting in the interests of many stakeholders.”
Ahh, that makes sense. However, I don’t think GenZ has the market cornered on a trend towards consumers caring more about companies acting authentically and meaningfully in the interests of their customers.
So, what’s the marketing opportunity for Gen Z?
1. A whole new mindset
2. New opportunity to be creative
3. New loyal customer
4. New advocates for your brand
There are important shifts in social platforms with Gen Z: they are not on Facebook or Pinterest.
For Gen Z, TikTok is the new Facebook. TikTok is about fun, unpolished content which Gen Z loves. TikTok is expected to be the 3rd most popular social network by the end of 2022 and potentially displace Facebook and Twitter.
Some forward thinking businesses are starting to take Gen Z opportunities seriously and doing things like hiring Chief TikTok Officers. (Personally I think that’s just a gimmick – no one hired Chief Facebook Officers or Chief LinkedIn Officers – why should they do that with TikTok?)
How do you go viral on TikTok?
- Speak right away. 1 in 3 viral TikTok videos focused on a person speaking within the first 3 seconds.
- Let the music play – More than half of viral TikTok videos used music as their primary background sound in the first 3 seconds.
- One to one – 60% of viral videos featured one person visible on the screen
- Keep it real – Create videos that portray real people with real lives
Is TikTok the new search? Younger users search on TikTok more than Google. TikTok surpassed Google as the most visited domain in 2021. “Gen Z “hates searching Google because crappy SEO blogs bury the answers they are looking for underneath keyword stuffed garbage”.
A study by Fractl found that Gen Z loves long tail search. The length of their search queries are much longer than Millennials and other generations.
Words to consider in your content for Gen Z include – “best”, “cheap”, “how to”, “top”.
Content doesn’t always need to be literal and how to do this or that. Some of the most popular content amongst Gen Z is ASMR or other entertaining content that then opens the door to point to more practical content.
Research from Clover Letter found that brands should not talk down to Gen Z. 52% want to be informed. 35% say media talks down to them, 37% hate clickbait.
Tone of voice is important for Gen Z. They tend to lean towards informal, friendly types of communications.
Marketing disruptors that are shaking things up. Web 3.0 is influencing how we are online and engaging. Gen Z will likely adopt these elements and marketers need to be prepared:
Web 1 was disorganized and overwhelming
Web 2 Was the rise of Facebook, Amazon, Google and amased a lot of power
Web 3 is about taking some of that power back
Think about this shift as you are planning your content topically and from a distribution standpoint. Gen Z is all about taking power back from corporations.
The emergence of Web 3 is fueled by Gen Z to decentralize apps and financial components to “take the power back”.
Where does Metaverse play with Millennials? Parallel to the physical world, metaverse is a place where people can experience life digitally but can also include augmented reality as a hybrid of virtual and real world.
What does this look like? Gucci has a store where users can buy products for their avatar. Lowes has an augmented reality option to try out power tools virtually. Adidas has a NFT community with limited access to merchandise.
What does this mean to us as marketers? There’s still a lot to be figured out. A lot of it is theoretical and experimental but it’s taking off with Gen Z. If your team can experiment and test things out you’ll be ahead of the game. Big brands are doing it and so should you.
For a related post that digs even deeper into how to prepare for future B2B customers, be sure to read my coverage of LinkedIn’s Allyson Hugley on What’s Next: Connecting with Future Buyers.