Most effective ways to market to GenZ in 2020
The panelists tried to decode how to market to GenZBI India
Experts discuss the new ways of appealing to GenZ

Most effective ways to market to GenZ in 2020

Experts discuss the new ways of appealing to GenZ
  • Ad & Media Insider in partnership with Wattpad, hosted a 2-part webinar where we brought industry experts to discuss what makes GenZ different than others, which mediums do they use, how to capture their attention in less than 8 seconds, which topics are they most passionate about and why communication can no longer simply be a monologue.
  • The panel was moderated by Dr. Marcus Ranney, Champion of Well-being and had Sameer Yadav, Associate Director - Marketing (Chocolates), Mondelez India, P.G. Aditya, NCD, Dentsu Webchutney and Chris Stefanyk, Head of Brand Partnerships, Wattpad as panelists.
Generation Z, which includes anyone born after 1996 and is in the age group of 18-24, is not just digital savvy, they are digital natives who are immersed in social media. They are a tweet away, catching up on the news developments and dance trends on Instagram, with an attention span of a gnat, wanting to see real content and calling out fake news.

This generation is surrounded by a barrage of information online, spoilt for choice and skip ads that do not keep them hooked beyond the first few seconds. But if you do get their attention in 8 seconds, they are also a generation that binge watches content. India also has the largest population of young people, making them an important target group for marketers.

However, marketers in India -- who are largely Millennials or Xennials and invest in traditional mediums -- are still trying to understand the upcoming generation to find out new ways to market and evolve with them.

So, to figure out the most effective ways to connect with GenZ and help quell this panic of navigating the clutter, Ad & Media Insider in partnership with Wattpad, hosted a 2-part webinar. Industry experts decoded how to market to this new age group, which channels deserve the majority of a brand’s marketing monnies, and new ways of appealing to the younger generation.

The panel was moderated by Dr. Marcus Ranney, Champion of Well-being and had Sameer Yadav, Associate Director - Marketing (Chocolates), Mondelez India, P.G. Aditya, NCD Dentsu Webchutney and Chris Stefanyk, Head of Brand Partnerships, Wattpad as panelists.

Understanding GenZ

GenZ has an attention span of a gnat, which is less than 8 seconds and Millennials have an attention span of goldfish.

Tinder, whose core audience is millennials and GenZ, had changed its Twitter bio to “RTs are now hugs” after one Twitter user requested it to retweet at midnight and a few others jumped on the trend. Aditya made a point that GenZ wants to be heard but brands need to respond to their queries as they also forget very quickly.

Sharing a yardstick Aditya uses to measure a campaign's success probability, he said, “If someone chooses to interact with your brand, how quickly am I responding? We should use that as a parameter to gauge GenZ's attention span, because if someone tweets about you at 11:47, they will forget it at 11:50.”

GenZ adapts to new technology faster than Millennials, Xennials and Boomers but that isn’t the only way marketers should look at GenZ. Yadav highlighted why it is important to segregate them into different psychographic segments and analyse their behaviour.

“GenZ is not just an age bracket. You need to consider some beliefs, attitudes and then you try to figure out what are their interest areas, which you can then narrow down to a right set of cohorts you want to target. In this case, even the spillover might be better rather than segmenting them into a different set of age groups,” said Yadav.

Building on Yadav’s point, Stefanyk spoke about diversity and commonalities within GenZ. While they might have a different upbringing, they are all looking for honest communication.

Stefanyk said, “We realised in our research that GenZ is by far the most diverse generation of all time. For example, 48% of the North American audience claimed to have sexuality other than straight. To connect with them, you need to be serving content that relevantly speaks to them. GenZ wants to be spoken to as an individual and not a group. They are the first ones acting as BS (bull sh*t) detectors. So, they will call you out, at a platform or brand level. In North America, there is a concept called cancel culture which is GenZ using social channels to cancel brands, people or otherwise. At the end of the day, you have to be true to what your platform stands for.”

Using the right mediums

At-home media consumption as well as online consumption has grown significantly in lockdown, particularly among younger viewing audiences.

According to Kantar's report, online video saw the greatest increase during lockdown, with 72% traffic coming from GenZ.

However, experts said medium doesn’t matter as much as storytelling does. New-age brands like Swiggy and Zomato continue to explore email marketing regularly. Mondelez’s lion’s share still goes to traditional media and Yadav said that message supersedes the medium.

“In India, if you have to reach the masses and drive scale, you will have to go to traditional media. When it comes to marketing to GenZ by using traditional media, it depends on your message. Before we select a medium, we invest more in understanding the platform and research on what consumers are doing on that media, what they are sharing and liking. If you compare 2020 to 80s, of course, brands are moving tremendously towards the digital side but traditional media is here to stay. It continues to be the biggest aggregator followed by other properties,” said Yadav.

Mondelez further personalises its campaign for GenZ according to their common interests and finds a perfect time slot when they are open to receiving more information.

Yadav said, “We believe in personalisation. GenZ in Kerala vs Nashik is very different. So we try to personalise to an extent that we send out 100-150 creatives at different points of time so that we resonate better with that particular consumer cohort. We try to draft distinct messages for different consumer cohorts. We try to target them at a relevant time in the day, personalise it further according to which region they are in and their interests.”

Brands can no longer sell to them: Moving away from monologue to dialogue

The panelists discussed how GenZ is increasingly becoming more aware of how advertising works and is able to separate grey from black. They view brands as a form of self-expression and to connect with them, panelists said, it is important to include them in the content-making process.

On how brands can ensure that GenZ engages with their stories, Stefanyk said that it is important to choose the right issue they would resonate with, include them in the part of the storytelling process, promise action-oriented results and deliver behavioural change.

He added, “Marketers targeting GenZ, bear in mind that purpose means action, not words. Decreasing attention span is a myth if people learn how to engage in content that speaks well to them.”

Aditya also highlighted why marketers targeting GenZ should follow just one mantra, that is, be real.

He said, “Millennials want brands to have a sense of purpose. GenZ has taken that a step ahead. They are not just satisfied with a purpose, they want real action from brands. The understanding of what is real and fake is way more nuanced right now. We also need more representation in-house. We need a 21-year-old cracking ideas for the 21-year-old. 'Millennialsplaining' is not gonna work. You need GenZ themselves working on campaigns for GenZ. ”

So, the best way for brands to connect with GenZ is to take a closer look at your brand's value system, speak to the target audience in their language, and engage in a dialogue, not a monologue. Brands need to understand what the audience wants to hear, and involve them in the process and be real.

Watch the full conversation here: