If you’re like most professionals, business owners, and marketers in general, regardless of industry, you’re already clued into the “Millennial” generation (born 1976-1994). The Millennial generation, also known as “Generation Y”, are the children of Baby Boomers and are between 20-to-37 years of age. They have been called “the most researched generation in history.”
But today I’d like to introduce you to a new generation in our marketing world – Generation Z, many of them are your sons and daughters. Gen Z might still be under the legal drinking age, but they’re quickly coming into their own, and those of us who are business owners, marketers or like me, in real estate services need to take notice. They have their own set of terms when it comes to consumption, housing, influence, and spending power. And like all new generations, their behaviors will soon be shaping the status quo and how we connect with them.
Generation Z are not buying houses just yet, but it won’t be long before they are and it’s good for those in the real estate profession to be ahead of the curve and ready to meet the housing needs and desires for a generation that comprises more than a quarter of the U.S. population! For those who are business owners and not in services dealing with housing, you are likely already feeling their impact. I believe we are likely to agree that change is here and the world is not going back to the 1980s.
INSTANT ACCESS AND SELF-EDUCATED
It is no surprise but Generation Z knows how to self-educate and find information in a snap. Most of them are younger than Google, which launched in 1996. They have never known a world without the Internet, cell phones, or iPods. Currently 33% watch lessons online, 20% read textbooks on tablets, 32% work with classmates online, and get this, 52% use YouTube or social media for typical research assignments.
Generation Z is mature, self-directed, driven, and very resourceful. Gen Z is going to have little interest in being confined to a desk 40 hours a week. Having watched their baby-booming parents struggle up work ladders, they plan to put their expertise into practice as early as possible. They are technologically savvy and just as likely to spend their time programming games and apps as simply playing them. Take for instance, Nick D’Aloisio, 18, who taught himself to code at 12 and created the news app Summly at 15, which he sold to Yahoo for $30 million last year.
Millenniums currently see owning a home as a more sensible choice according to a National Housing Survey by FannieMae who interviewed people between the ages of 18 to 39. How this will translate to their children, the Gen Z-ers we don’t know yet, but real estate professionals and marketers in general better be ready.
SHHH. PRIVACY, PLEASE.
Consider 41% of Gen Z spends 3+ hours a day on computers for non-school work related activities. They like their privacy and prefer incognito media platforms such as Snapchat (There are 350 million photographs uploaded to Facebook a day and 400 million uploaded to Snapchat a day), Secret, and Whisper. Over 25% of 13-to-17 year olds left Facebook in 2014, and many of us are just getting used to Facebook!
THE FUTURE OF MARKETING AND BUSINESS
This generation knows the Internet and shopping online. They are ambitious about their work and our future as business owners, marketers, and service professionals depends on our understanding of how to reach and connect with them.
I believe there are 12 rules to serving and marketing to today’s Millennials and the upcoming Gen Y:
- Make your marketing visual and inviting.
- Make sure your marketing accommodates multiple platforms (iPad, iPhone, desktop, laptop, TV etc.).
- Feed their curiosity. Tap into their entrepreneurial spirit. Consider offering internships.
- Empower users with control over preference settings.
- Create dialogues – it’s no longer a one-way conversation.
- Know your customers’ digital body language. What online experience do you provide them?
- Be the expert, the go-to person.
- Create lots of content that is relevant, timely, and personal.
- Inspire with social causes to rally behind.
- Reply instantly — getting back to them tomorrow is too late; they have already decided.
- Be agile and ready to change.
- Continually innovate.
I realize whether you are a business owner, a sales professional, a marketer, or as a real estate professional like myself that marketing is always changing. We must be agile and ready for any change to meet the needs and demands of our customers. I have personally been working to create a digital real estate services platform at tonigale.com that meets the new marketing demands for those seeking professional real estate services. I believe my customers want timely, personal, and relevant information that they can use. It’s my goal to deliver that kind of service. I hope if you are a business owner or in sales or marketing that you glean some value from this information.