Strategy is doing the right things. Tactics is doing things right.

In our experience at the Centre of Excellence for Public Sector Marketing (CEPSM)  one of the biggest and costliest mistakes many public sector organizations make is to start rolling out individual marketing tactics without a strong strategic marketing strategy in place. Social media, blogging, website design, email marketing, advertising, proactive public relations, face-to-face marketing … if you don’t combine these individual tactics into a cohesive marketing strategy, you won’t get the results that you hope to obtain.marketingstrategyThe first step in realigning your marketing approach and establishing a strategic marketing plan for your public sector organization is taking the time to understand your audience.

Once you have identified the audience you’re ready to start uncovering the key issues you face – the pains and problems your audience has when purchasing your products, programs or services. If you understand what “pains” people have and offer a “remarkable solution”, it becomes a lot easier to “make the sale”. They feel connected to you and trust that you understand their specific challenges.

Most organizations think marketing and immediately think tactics. Hate to say it but most marketers think that way too!

I’ve been working for and with public sector organizations for over thirty years and I can tell you that none of the tactics matter until you are crystal clear about which direction you are going. Strategy before tactics is the simple road to success.

This does not mean that I am opposed to systematically and consistently rolling out tactics, because there is an expectation that when you work in marketing that you need to “do stuff” but you need to select only those tactics that support a marketing strategy that you can commit to.

Strategy and tactics are so intertwined; perhaps it is no wonder that people so often confuse them. Still, it is a big mistake when strategies and tactics are interchangeably used.

 “Great tactics will win you a battle, but great strategy is what wins you the war.”

Goals and objectives are the basis of any marketing initiative. But most practitioners do not know the difference between a goal and an objective. Marketing goals communicate a broad direction for your organization. Marketing objectives identify specific actions that include a measurement capability to succeed at meeting objectives.

The more specific you define the objectives, the better off you will be. This level of detail sets expectations and creates a commonality that everyone works towards. Establishing measurable objectives sets expectations, and it enables you to begin to work on a marketing strategy.

A marketing strategy offers a high-level plan to achieve your overall goals and measurable objectives.  It is a methodology and a train of thought that guides all future actions. The strategy is a platform upon which the tactics will rest or, to throw the analogy, the umbrella under which the tactics will lie.

Part of setting measurable objectives is developing key performance indicators. These indicators are yardsticks to measure progress.  Next, the marketing communications component of the strategy outlines what type of tactics to utilize and to what degree. It defines how much to invest in each tactic. The strategy further defines the markets. The strategy supports the goals and objectives, organizes the approach, and advances a plan to achieve those measures.

Strategy is as much about deciding what to do as what NOT to do.

In essence, the marketing strategy establishes the topological map. Once the topography has been defined, the tactics will create a more particular road map.  The strategy sets the campaign direction and the tactics translate those ideas into reality. For this reason, strategy does not change very often, but tactics can (and do!). The strategy represents principles that will guide the tactical execution.

In a nutshell, strategy is about picking the right goals and objectives and tactics is about how you go about achieving those goals or objectives. The role of a tactician is much simpler once you have a strategy, because the objective and the direction are already defined.

The biggest way this applies to marketing is “segmentation” and “positioning”. While marketing tactics are focused on how to interact with your potential audience, marketing strategy is more about picking the right audiences to go after. There may be many organizations out there doing what you do, and picking the right “niche” to call your own is the most important thing you can do to ensure success or guarantee failure.

Without a strategy, it’s easy for organizations to get caught up in chasing the latest marketing trends or switching tactics every week or month. Not only is that an exhausting way to do things, it also means you could be wasting time and money on tactics that will produce few results.ecommerce-marketing-strategies

What happens when you develop and implement marketing tactics without a strategy?

  • Lack of clear and consistent messaging. For marketing to be effective, you must create a consistent brand message that communicates what makes you different and why someone should buy your products, programs and services. Without a strategy in place, it makes it much harder to determine compelling messages that will speak to your audience.
  • Difficulty achieving goals and objectives. In our experience at CEPSM we find that many public sector organizations don’t have well-defined goals and objectives. But, even if you do have specific goals and objectives, it will be difficult to accomplish them without a marketing strategy. What we find in our work is that organizations often see where they want to go, but have trouble connecting the dots on how to get there. It takes research, creativity and strategic thinking to build an effective strategy. But once you do your likelihood of success is that much greater.
  • Wasted budget. If you don’t take time to build a strategy, you could be wasting time and money on the wrong tactics because you’re just guessing about what will work. Taking the time to build a marketing strategy and tactical implementation plan on the front end will ensure your budget is being spent most effectively.
  • Unfocused efforts. All your marketing tactics should flow out of a marketing strategy. It helps guide your decisions and makes it easier to determine where to spend your time and money. Without it, your efforts will be weak and unfocused. And, it’s a whole lot easier to get caught up in the marketing “tactic du jour”.

 Organizations don’t plan to fail … they fail to plan

So, how do you formulate a marketing strategy? Answer these three questions and get everyone on your team aligned around the answers. If you don’t know the answers to these questions, you’re not ready to start implementing tactics. Doing so can cause all sorts of problems:

1) Why do we do what we do?

This is the age-old mission question. Until you can get very clear about the one overarching purpose for your organization, things will always seem a bit muddy. When you can grab onto your “why” you have the basis for every decision you make and a thread that can define your branding and positioning, which leads to marketing success.

2) Who do we do it for?

The tricky part about this one is that the answer should be as narrow as possible. If you nailed the first question, your job as a marketer is to go even narrower and start really understanding who you want to reach and who gets the most value from your unique approach.

Look to your best clients. Find the commonality in this group and you should be able to develop a very narrow, ideal client profile that entails both a physical description and an ideal behaviour.

3) What do we do that’s both unique and remarkable?

The last piece of the puzzle is about what you do. But, it’s not simply about defining what products, programs and services you offer. That’s important to understand, but more important is to find and communicate how what you do is unique in a way that your ideal client finds remarkable. In a way, that allows you to stand apart from everyone else that say they do the same things as you do. i.e your unique selling proposition (USP).

This isn’t as simple as it might sound. Most organizations don’t fully understand what their audience truly values. It’s not necessarily a better product or program or good service. Those fall under the category of expectation and everyone can and usually claims them. The difference is in the details, the little things you do, the way you do it, how you treat your clients, how you make them feel. It’s in the surprises, the things that exceed their expectations.

Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat. Sun Tzu

One of the things we note in our work at CEPSM is many government programs hire communications/advertising companies to help them implement their campaigns. That makes sense if you have a marketing strategy in place. But if you don’t then you are leaving yourself wide open for wasting money and not achieving your goals and objectives.

Here’s why. Most (but not all) communications/advertising firms are tactics-focused. They are in the business of trying to convince you that their tactical approach will be successful in attracting clients or “‘increasing awareness.” That’s fine, but only if you already feel like your marketing strategy is in the right place, and just needs more fuel. However, if you experience that “sinking feeling,” that maybe you are not on the right track, then you need something more than a tactical approach. What you need is a marketing strategy which becomes your road-map for your advertising or communications supplier.

What do you do if you and your colleagues have no experience developing a marketing strategy?

The Centre of Excellence for Public Sector Marketing (CEPSM) offers public sector organizations an easy and affordable way to acquire expertise from marketing strategists to help develop a successful marketing strategy. The entire process can be completed in a very short time.

Business team discussing project with man pointing at the laptop

 

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MARKETING WORKBOOKS FOR PUBLIC SECTOR & NON-PROFIT MARKETERS & COMMUNICATORS

Two workbooks ideal for marketers and communicators working for government departments/agencies, non-profit/volunteer organizations, associations and social enterprises who are responsible for:

  • Marketing programs, products, programs and/or services
  • Social marketing, community outreach and public education programs

1. Social Marketing Planning to Change Attitudes and Behaviours Workbook

This workbook provides users with an end-to-end planning tool that lays the groundwork for a successful social marketing program to change attitudes and behaviours. The content is the result of more than 30 years of direct experience in the social marketing arena.  It will assist public sector, non-profit organizations and associations involved in marketing, communications, public awareness/education and outreach.

To purchase workbook, go to https://cepsm.ca/product/social_marketing_workbook/

Order Now and You’ll receive a PDF download immediately!

Alternatively, you can register on our MARCOM Conference site to attend an upcoming Introduction to Social Marketing Planning for Behaviour Change Workshop where we offer the workbook as part of 1-day interactive workshop

2.  Marketing 101 for Marketers and Non-Marketers Workbook

This workbook provides users with an end-to-end planning tool that lays the groundwork for developing a successful public sector or non-profit marketing program.

It also will provide you with an overview of public sector and non-profit marketing and highlight the importance of market research to support a decision-making framework.

To purchase workbook, go to https://cepsm.ca/product/marketing-101-for-marketers-and-non-marketers-workbook/

Order Now and you will receive a PDF download immediately!

 

 

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The Next Big Thing – Influencer Marketing

The world of marketing is changing at a rapid pace and a number of changes are taking place on how best to reach, persuade and influence people to buy your product, program, service or social cause.

The next big thing and you will hear about it often is influencer marketing. What is happening is that there is a big shift going on as people  are now looking at each other  to inform their decisions. Instead of looking at companies or organizations as they did in the past, they now look at each other as well as their favorite personalities, who are consolidating massive followings on YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, and other platforms. Source

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Influencer marketing involves marketing products and services to those who have a sway over the things other people buy. This market influence typically stems from an individual’s expertise, popularity, or reputation. Marketing to an audience of influencers is similar to word of mouth marketing, but it doesn’t rely strictly on explicit recommendations.

Although some people use word-of-mouth marketing and influencer marketing interchangeably, there’s a real difference between the two disciplines. Whereas influencer marketing is the concept of engaging key individuals to leverage their influence among friends and family, word-of-mouth marketing is the actual avenue by which this communication takes place. So, almost all influencer marketing includes word-of-mouth marketing activities by its nature, but not all word-of-mouth marketing is driven by influencer campaigns.

Influence can come from a wide range of places. Any person, group, or place could potentially be an influencer. For example, celebrities are often used to market products and social causes because they are highly respected and highly visible. A day does not go by where some entertainer or sports personality is promoting a product or service or his or her charity, social cause or non profit organization.

Bloggers have become important influencers because they are seen as authentic and have loyal followings. In the world of commercial marketing when a blogger recommends a product or service it seems more trustworthy than traditional marketing communications. By using influencers, companies can avoid much of the cynicism and skepticism that is directed at straight forward marketing messages. Check out the rise of “mommy bloggers”

One of the major drawbacks of influencer marketing is that it isn’t as controllable as traditional marketing. While some influencers only add to the positive image of a product or social cause, influencers who encounter legal trouble or fall out of the public light might negatively impact a marketer’s chance of success. Marketers must prepare to deal with the negative fallout if the influencers they use misrepresent or reject their cause or products.

For the visionary marketer, the rise of the social media influencer creates a world of possibilities. It opens up a new channel for marketers to connect with consumers more directly. However, influencer marketing is still new. Many marketers are still hesitant, at the risk of being left behind by the growing cohort of marketers that are embracing this new channel.

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The Future of Influencer Marketing

No one can actually predict the future, but there is a lot of buzz going around about influencer marketing and it’s for good reason. Influencers and social media are changing the way we share, buy, sell and review products programs and services. Katie Carlson a contributing author with ReadyPulse believes that you will not be successful if you are not running an effective influencer marketing campaign.

She points out that there was a time where organizations used to rely on loyalty to be successful. Now with younger generations emerging, influencers are “impacting” people’s habits and evolving technology. Therefore, marketers need to revamp their strategy.

Influencer marketing is all about finding the right influencers who believe in what you are marketing, can clearly communicate your message and who have built a following made up of people who trust and value their opinion. A marketer’s success largely depends on which influencers they are able to build relationships with.

Carlson points out that many influencers are part of the Millennial generation, a group of people who like to be involved with the latest trends, see their involvement in projects make an impact and feel appreciated. Without open communication, trust, follow-up and clear direction, influencers will have difficulty delivering successful results. So the best thing for marketers to do is focus their time and effort on finding the right influencers, building personal relationships with the best influencers and guiding them down the right road to success.

In today’s marketing your audience wants to hear from their peers, real humans who have experienced a product service or are personally involved in a social cause and who can give an authentic perspective. Traditional marketing campaigns are losing credibility with their audience because they know the message is carefully crafted and tested to paint a picture of perfection. Then they are bombarded with the same message across numerous channels 24/7. So they tune out or completely block the marketing message all together, giving marketers a false sense of reach and resonance.

Influencer marketing tends to be more effective because it’s authentic, honest and engaging. It is able to spread the message to a larger audience, and it is never the exact same message twice. Carlson states that marketing audiences are fed too much content that is not directly relevant to them, and are starving for content that’s specifically tailored to them. It makes much more sense to target them by what they’re doing on a day-to-day basis, what they love and what genuinely interests them. If you can do this, she says, they are almost guaranteed to take action.

How to Develop and Implement an Influencer Marketing Campaign

The first step of an influencer marketing plan is to set goals for the campaign. Typically, goals for influencer marketing is about increasing buzz and public awareness.

Next identify the influencers you want to contact by researching demographics and target markets. Simple searches of Google, Twitter and Facebook can reveal who has influence over your audience. For example, a search for a specific health program would return results for health blogs, reviews of health products and programs, and health enthusiast websites. Some market research firms offer services that help marketers determine who their customers are most influenced by. You will need to decide how many influencers you want to target and then select those that best meet the goals of your campaign.

You then start analyzing where their influencers gather, who their audience is, and what kind of message they are spreading. Carefully studying the influencer’s preference makes them easier to reach out to them later. When you are ready to contact the influencer, communicate through social media or some other informal means. The goal is to form an organic relationship that is not based entirely on endorsing, persuading or selling. Influencers who are treated with respect become genuine advocates for your program, products, services, social cause or more importantly your organization

Marketers should revisit goals every few months to track the success or failure of the influencer program. If a plan is not having the desired effect, you may have to reach out to new influencers in different ways. The influencers who remain effective will need to be courted so that they continue to support your campaign on their blogs, tweets, Facebook-Linkedin posts and their websites.

 

MARKETING WORKBOOKS FOR PUBLIC SECTOR & NON-PROFIT MARKETERS & COMMUNICATORS

Two workbooks ideal for marketers and communicators working for government departments/agencies, non-profit/volunteer organizations, associations and social enterprises who are responsible for:

  • Marketing programs, products, programs and/or services
  • Social marketing, community outreach and public education programs

Social Marketing Planning to Change Attitudes and Behaviours Workbook

This workbook provides users with an end-to-end planning tool that lays the groundwork for a successful social marketing program to change attitudes and behaviours. The content is the result of more than 30 years of direct experience in the social marketing arena.  It will assist public sector, non-profit organizations and associations involved in marketing, communications, public awareness/education and outreach.

To purchase workbook, go to https://cepsm.ca/product/social_marketing_workbook/

Order Now and You’ll receive a PDF download immediately!

Alternatively, you can register on our MARCOM Conference site to attend an upcoming Introduction to Social Marketing Planning for Behaviour Change Workshop where we offer the workbook as part of 1-day interactive workshop

 

Marketing 101 for Marketers and Non-Marketers Workbook

This workbook provides users with an end-to-end planning tool that lays the groundwork for developing a successful public sector or non-profit marketing program.

It also will provide you with an overview of public sector and non-profit marketing and highlight the importance of market research to support a decision-making framework.

To purchase workbook, go to https://cepsm.ca/product/marketing-101-for-marketers-and-non-marketers-workbook/

Order Now and you will receive a PDF download immediately!

 

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Marketing to Canadians of South Asian and Chinese Origin – An Update

One of my first blogs eight years ago was Marketing to Canadians of South Asian and Chinese Origin… a hot trend. I have had many requests to update the blog. So here goes.

Chinese and South Asian Canadians are an increasingly important audience in the market, with populations expected to grow by 80% and 130%, respectively, over the next 15 years.

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But according to IPG Mediabrands, marketers have very little resources on the audience’s attitudes towards brands as well as their media consumption habits.

Closing that knowledge gap is the aim of the IPG Mediabrands Multicultural Media Study 2016. The study included 1,250 Chinese and South Asian respondents living in the Toronto and Vancouver area, and were surveyed last July.

According to the results, Chinese and South Asian Canadians have a different relationship with brands than the general Canadian population, believing more strongly that ads help them stay up-to-date with new products. Both groups were also more likely to buy based on quality rather than price and also considered themselves to be very brand loyal in higher numbers than the general Canadian population.

Chinese Canadians were more likely to report feeling closer to brands that use ethnic languages and pay more attention to those ads than South Asians.

Both Chinese and South Asian Canadians are more connected consumers than the general Canadian population, with higher rates of device ownership and time spent online.

The IPG Mediabrands report looks at the attitudes and media habits of two growing audiences, South Asians and Chinese Canadians. The study, which also sourced data from Statistics Canada and Vividata, was first conducted in 2012 to better understand these significant audiences. Stats Canada forecasts that by 2031, the Chinese population will increase by 80% and the South Asian population will increase by 131%.

The study found that 64% of Chinese and 69% of South Asian Canadians believe that ads help them keep up-to-date with new products, compared to 44% of the general population.

In addition, 61% of Chinese and 64% of South Asians tend to buy on quality, not price, compared to 54% of the general population. What’s more, 52% of Chinese and 58% of South Asian consumers consider themselves to be very brand loyal, compared to only 44% of the general population.

There is a significant reliance on advertising amongst these two particular groups, and that’s very likely to turn into a loyal consumer.

51% of Chinese respondents tend to stick to brands that they’re familiar with from their home country, and 46% pay more attention to advertising that’s in their own ethnic language.

“There are, of course, going to be new brands that they don’t recognize when they come over to Canada and that does present challenges for many advertisers. According to the study “One way to get over that is the fact that the Chinese population is more likely to pay attention to advertising in a Chinese language.

While they stick to brands they’re familiar with, that’s just a starting point, “The shorter amount of time that Chinese group has been in Canada, the more likely they are likely to stick to familiar brands. But the longer they spend in the country, the less likely they are.”

South Asians are more likely to be early adopters than Chinese Canadians. In the survey, 58% of South Asians said they are first among friends to try new products, compared to 43% of Chinese consumers. In addition, 59% of South Asians agreed that people expect them to provide good advice about products and services, compared to 51% of Chinese; and 53% of South Asians said they’re more of a spender than a saver, compared to 37% of Chinese consumers.

The study also looked at Chinese and South Asians’ media habits and their different communications preferences.

Chinese consumers are more likely to feel closer to organizations that advertise in their own ethnic language (45%) than South Asians (39%). In addition, 45% of Chinese consumers agreed they have a “strong affiliation” with brands that advertise in their own ethnic language, compared to 36% of South Asians; and 38% of Chinese consumers think ads in their home language are more meaningful to them, compared to 34% of South Asians.

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“Chinese Canadians are much more dependent on in-language advertising compared to South Asians, and that’s very heavily tied to the prevalence of the English language in South Asian countries.

The study also found that Chinese and South Asians are very digitally savvy groups compared to the general population. The average number of internet-connected devices owned by the general population is 2.4, compared to 3.6 for Chinese consumers and 3.2 for South Asians.

Citing Vividata figures, the study notes that Chinese consumers spend 24 hours a week online and South Asians spend 19 hours a week online, compared to 17 hours for the general population.

For Chinese consumers, time spent on digital media is about the same in a Chinese language as in English. For example, they spend 12.6 hours a week on Chinese social media sites and 12.8 hours on social media in English. But more time is spent with Chinese online magazines (7.1 hours) and newspapers (7.1 hours) than in English (6.2 hours for each).

Another study by Environics Analytics states that South Asians passed the Chinese as the largest visible minority in Canada almost 10 years ago and over the next five years their population is projected to grow 19% to reach 2.5 million people.

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What is less appreciated, analysts will tell you, is that this group – which currently makes up almost 5% of the Canadian population – is becoming “a marketer’s dream,” says Rupen Seoni, vice-president and practice leader at Environics. “They are one of the fastest-growing, more affluent, educated and media-savvy groups.”

Some marketers still know very little about this vibrant consumer group, tending to lump them with other Asians or simply ignoring them altogether but that would be a $46-billion mistake, for that’s the total estimated spending power of Canada’s South Asians.”

For info on the Social Asian market see South Asian Market You can find more info on ethnic marketing here. Also check out http://media-corps.com/south-asian-and-chinese-canadians/

 

WORKSHOPS 2017

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Marketing 101 (for Marketers and Non-Marketers)

March 29, 2017

343 Preston Street, Ottawa, ON,

This workshop will provide participants with an overview of public sector and non-profit marketing. The workshop will teach participants how to develop a marketing  strategy and plan as well as how to transform a government/nonprofit organizations from using the traditional communications approach to an integrated, strategic marketing approach.

The workshop will focus on:

  • An overview of marketing;
  • Systematic processes and strategic elements for developing and implementing an action-oriented strategic marketing plan;
  • How to set realistic, practical marketing objectives and goals;
  • How to evaluate marketing efforts with practical ideas on how to improve execution;
  • How to develop a client-based mindset in a public sector or non-profit organization;
  • How to use market research to support a decision-making framework;
  • How to develop a system for measuring progress and monitoring performance.

REGISTER NOW

 

Intro to Social Marketing Planning for Attitude and Behaviour Change

March 9, 2017

343 Preston Street, Ottawa, ON,

Awareness.  Are you getting tired of hearing that word? If you want to move your marketing and communications efforts beyond merely public education and awareness campaigns and into the realm of action-oriented attitude and behaviour change then this workshop is for you

The workshop will focus on:

  • How to use a step-by-step structured approach to prepare a social marketing plan that is actionable, has maximum impact, and leads to successful implementation;
  • How to present and “sell” your social marketing strategy to management;
  • How to implement a social marketing program on a very tight budget;
  • How to monitor and evaluate your inputs/outputs, outcomes and impacts;
  • How social marketing gives you a single approach: for mobilizing communities; influencing the media; activating key stakeholders; and building strategic alliances with business.

REGISTER NOW

 

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What Marketers Need to Know About Generation Z

Many readers of my blog are developing marketing initiatives aimed at youth, especially adolescents. If you thought that understanding and marketing to millennials was a big challenge, wait until you have to market to Generation Z

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Over the past few years, marketers across all industries and categories have been obsessed with millennials — how to reach them and build meaningful connections with their brands. This captivating generation has a unique sense of self and a nontraditional approach to life stages, which has made marketing to them a challenge.

But perhaps even more challenging is the next generation on the rise — Gen Z. If marketers thought they threw out the playbook with millennials, they need to know that Gen Zers aren’t even playing on the same field. They are in a very different world. I have done a fair bit of research on this group and have read quite a few studies and articles. So here is the latest information on Gen Zers.

Gen Z consumers range from ages 2 to 19, though the target range for marketers lies from ages 11 to 16. Gen Z is the most diverse and multicultural of any generation. For example, in the U.S. — 55% are Caucasian, 24% are Hispanic, 14% are African-American and 4% are Asian. Canada with its very multicultural society has similar situation albeit with some different demographics.

Here is some information  from a terrific article in  Advertising Age. There are a few key beliefs native to Gen Z that marketers must understand. First, Gen Zers are the least likely to believe there is such a thing as the “American Dream.” They look for products and messaging that reflect a reality rather than a perfect life. Gen Zers simply don’t respond to traditional notions of beauty or a projected image of perfection like past generations have. They respond to independence and entrepreneurialism, self-direction and a spirit of ingenuity.

Millennials are the generation of customer service — such as the creation of the Apple Genius Bar — to solve problems at any moment. They design their own, unconventional paths, yet they anticipate consistent success (and hand-holding) along the way. Gen Z is a generation of highly-educated, technologically-savvy, innovative thinkers. They look for solutions on their own. They set out to make things on their own.

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Marketers must create products/services and marketing that empower this group to be their best selves. They must also create places — locations, websites, online communities — where Gen Zers feel welcome walking in and logging in, and feel just as wonderful walking out and checking out. Organizations  that offer programs and services and an experience that help Gen Zers define and express their individuality and lifestyle will succeed with this group.

Millennials grew up with computers in their homes. But Gen Z is the first generation born into a digital world. They don’t know a world without PCs, mobile phones, gaming devices and MP3 players.

They live online, sharing details of their lives across dozens of platforms and dictating what they like and dislike with a tweet, post or status. And Gen Zers expects to virtually engage with their favorite products in doing so. So products can’t simply “embrace technology” as millennials have. They must act digitally native, too, creating a seamless and strong overarching brand experience across digital and mobile. To reach Gen Zers, it is paramount to reach them through two-way conversations, which are initiated online. An authentic digital and social presence as well as a slew of complimentary digital experiences in which Gen Z fans can engage with and share their brand allegiance is perhaps the best currency a marketer could generate.

Generation Z is open-minded and adaptable, not a group known for fixed opinions or inflexibility. Organizations that build careful marketing strategies that connect with the values of the younger set and offer a better digital experience online will be successful among this new, young, powerful generation.

Here is some important marketing intelligence on Gen Zers from CMO.com.  Gen Zers are entrepreneurial and resourceful, courtesy of growing up during a recession. Marketers will need to take all of this into account when shaping their strategies for this group. Note these are US stats but are applicable to the Canadian market.

  1. Consumers 19 and younger prefer social networks like Snapchat, Secret, and Whisper, and a quarter of 13- to 17-year-olds have left Facebook this year.
  2. Gen Z are adept researchers. They know how to self-educate and find information. 33% watch lessons online, 20% read textbooks on tablets, and 32% work with classmates online.
  3. Whereas Millennials use three screens on average, Gen Zers use five: a smartphone, TV, laptop, desktop, and iPod/iPad.
  4. The average Gen Zer has the attention span of about eight seconds. They have grown up at a time when they’re being served media and messaging from all angles, and have adapted to quickly sorting through and assessing enormous amounts of information.
  5. Gen Z shares the entrepreneurial spirit of Millennial innovators: About 72% of current high-schoolers want to own their own businesses, and 76% hope they can turn their hobbies into full-time jobs.
  6. Gen Zers are do-gooders; they want to make a difference in the world. 60% want their jobs to impact the world, 26% of 16- to 19-year-olds currently volunteer, and 76% are concerned about humanity’s impact on the planet.
  7. 58 % of Gen Zs are either somewhat or very worried about the future.
  8. 79% of Generation Z consumers display symptoms of emotional distress when kept away from their personal electronic devices.
  9. 55% of those 18 years of age and younger would rather buy clothes online, and 53% would rather buy books and electronics online.
  10. 42% of Gen Zers follow their parents influence, compared to just 36% of Millennials.
  11. Generation Z consumers spend 7.6 hours per day on average socializing with friends and family.

The Hamilton Spectator  had an excellent article on Gen Zers with some very interesting information . With the oldest members of this cohort barely out of high school, these tweens and teens of today are primed to become the dominant youth influencers of tomorrow. Flush with billions in spending power, they promise untold riches to marketers who can find the master key to their psyche. Lucie Greene, the worldwide director of the Innovation Group at J. Walter Thompson, calls them “millennials on steroids.”

While it is easy to mock the efforts of marketers to shoehorn tens of millions of adolescents into a generational archetype, à la the baby boomers, it is also clear that a 14-year-old now really does inhabit a substantially different world than one of 2005.

Millennials, after all, were raised during the boom times and relative peace of the 1990s, only to see their sunny world dashed by the Sept. 11 attacks and two economic crashes, in 2000 and 2008. Theirs is a story of innocence lost. Generation Z, by contrast, has had its eyes open from the beginning, coming along in the aftermath of those cataclysms in the era of the war on terror and the Great Recession, Greene said.

No question Millennials were digital; their teenage years were defined by iPods and MySpace. But Generation Z is the first generation to be raised in the era of smartphones. Many do not remember a time before social media. They are the first true digital natives, they can almost simultaneously create a document, edit it, post a photo on Instagram and talk on the phone, all from the user-friendly interface of their iPhone.” “Generation Z takes in information instantaneously, and loses interest just as fast.” “We tell our advertising partners that if they don’t communicate in five words and a big picture, they will not reach this generation,” said Dan Schnabel, the managing partner of Millennial Branding, a New York consultancy.

So far, they sound pretty much like millennials. But those who study youth trends are starting to discern big differences in how the two generations view their online personas, starting with privacy.

Generation Z tends to be the product of Generation X, a relatively small, jaded generation that came of age in the post-Watergate, post-Vietnam funk of the 1970s, when horizons seemed limited. Those former latchkey kids, who grew up on Nirvana records and slasher movies, have tried to give their children the safe, secure childhood that they never had, said Neil Howe, an economist and the coauthor of more than a dozen books about U.S. generations.

Generation Z 3

Finally, a very informative article comes from Canada’s Macleans Magazine . Much of the current chatter surrounding Gen Z has been generated by the 56-slide presentation “Meet Generation Z: Forget everything you learned about Millennials,” produced by New York City advertising agency Sparks & Honey. It found that 60 % of Gen Zers want jobs that had a social impact, compared with 31 % of Gen Ys. It deemed them “entrepreneurial” (72 % want to start their own businesses), community-oriented (26 % already volunteer) and prudent (56 % said they were savers, not spenders). Gen Z is also seen to be more tolerant than Gen Y of racial, sexual and generational diversity, and less likely to subscribe to traditional gender roles.

Other studies paint them as the new conservatives. A Centers for Disease Control survey of 13,000 high school students released in June reported that teens smoke, drink and fight far less than previous generations (though they’re more likely to text while driving). “Overall, young people have healthier behaviours than they did 20 years ago,” reported study coordinator Dr. Stephanie Zaza, who noted that use of drugs and weapons and risky sex have declined since the study began in 1991.

The influential author and consultant Don Tapscott is a Gen Z optimist. His 2008 book, Grown Up Digital, features a study of 11,000 kids who were asked whether they’d rather be smarter or better looking: 69 % chose “smarter.” So is social researcher Mark McCrindle, of Sydney-based McCrindle Research, who has been looking at Gen Z for seven years. “They are the most connected, educated and sophisticated generation in history,” he says. “They don’t just represent the future; they are creating it.”

Their defining characteristic, so far, is that they’re a new species— “screenagers,” the first tribe of “digital natives.” The result could well be the most profound generation gap ever: a digital divide between parents who see the Internet as disrupting society as we know it (and making them feel obsolete) and their kids, who are not only at home with the technology— “it’s like air to them,” Tapscott says—but are already driving many of the shifts happening in how we communicate, the way we access information and the culture we consume.

Gen Z are bellwethers, says McCrindle: “Where Gen Z goes, our world goes.” What that portends is seismic social disruption and the commensurate anxiety. “This is the first time in history kids know more than adults about something really important to society—maybe the most important thing,” says Tapscott. “[It’s] a formula for fear.” Despite this tension—or perhaps because of it—expectations for a generation have never been higher. Forbes has dubbed Gen Z “Rebels with a cause.” The Financial Times posed the question: “Generation Z, the world’s saviours?” Tapscott says Gen Z doesn’t have a choice: “My generation is leaving them with a mess. These kids are going to have to save the world literally.”

Gen Z is “a global experiment,” says McCrindle. “A magazine is an iPad that doesn’t work.” One experiment showed a little girl sliding her finger in frustration over a glossy fashion magazine as if it’s an iPad.

Sparks & Honey reports that reliance on mobile devices has led to kids having poor spatial skills and trouble navigating streets without GPS; hours spent in front of screens puts them at increased risk for obesity.  If you define a generation too early, “you’re really looking at the way their parents are operating, not who they are,” says Robert Barnard, CEO of Toronto-based Decode, a company that provides data on youth. Still, he argues that the older end of any demographic tends to be an early influencer or indicator of a generation’s values. He also makes a distinction between broad “generational traits” and “life-stage traits” consistent across generations.

Entrepreneurship is also a big buzzword: in a world where full-time jobs and pensions are in decline, it’s a glossy way of saying Gen Z is on its own. According to the Sparks & Honey survey, this cohort places less value on higher education (64 per cent want advanced degrees, compared to 71 of Gen Y). In response, universities have replaced the emphasis on the now-dated corporate M.B.A. with “entrepreneurial hubs.” Technology is seen as the great generational divide here, but if there is a pan-generational leveler, paradoxically, it’s technology, and the fact we’re all equally hooked; adults are just addicted to older, in some cases obsolete, technologies.

The most active people on Facebook, Barnard notes, are 30- to 40-year-old women; their children use Slingshot or Tumblr. (Sparks & Honey noted Gen Z places greater value on privacy than Gen Y, because it chooses anonymous, ephemeral communication tools such as SnapChat, Secret and Whisper, although the bigger appeal of these technologies may just be that they’re newer.)

Generation-Z-5

They “don’t trust anyone over 30” mantra espoused by youth in the 1960s has gone full circle: now no one trusts anyone over 20.

Let me know what you think and good luck marketing to this illusive group.

For more information on the Canadian perspective on Generation Z click here

 

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