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Beware Generation Z’s BS filter and 8-second attention span

Adam Zuchetti
Adam Zuchetti
30 April 2018 2 minute readShare
two girls in sunglasses and guitar generation z bs filter 8 second attention span

Generation Z are being seriously underrated as an economic force, according to a specialist marketer, although the intricacies of dealing with this generation are not to be taken lightly.

At a seminar as part of the Naturally Good Expo in Sydney, James Purcell of Growth Tank said that businesses still grappling with how to market to millennials are already behind the curve, as “the next generation is already here”.

According to Mr Purcell, 63 per cent of those currently aged 23 and under received their first mobile phone at just six years of age, meaning they have literally grown up with these technologies embedded in their everyday life and impacting their basic understanding of engagement with the world.

And, despite claims that their young age means they have relatively little disposable income, Mr Purcell said that members of this generation are cashed up thanks to some of the most generous casual and penalty rates in the world as 35 per cent are still living with their parents without paying any rent or board.

The remainder are either paying rent (40 per cent), often in a sharehouse; or paying some form of board while remaining in the family home (14 per cent); or living elsewhere, such as on a university campus.

He also warned that, as this group currently makes up 20 per cent of the Australian population – and 30 per cent of the global population – they are a collective force to be reckoned with.

For businesses actively looking to engage with Gen Z, Mr Purcell had some very clear words of caution.

“You can’t just make stuff, you have to stand for something,” he said.

“If they don’t trust your product, your company or your parent company, then they will vote with their dollars.”

Mr Purcell said that this demographic typically has “a very, very, very high filter for nonsense”, an average attention span of just eight seconds, and are loyal to services, not brands.

He suggested the following points to positively engage with members of Generation Z:

  • Grab their attention quickly, and hold it by being responsive, breaking tradition, remaining positive and standing for something.
  • Play up your eco credentials, as 76 per cent of this generation are actively concerned about humanity’s impact on the planet and hence the environment in which they will be raising their own families.
  • Go organic wherever possible – 58 per cent are willing to pay more for organic and natural products.
  • Tap into the gamification” they are accustomed to, such as the reward alerts of a Fitbit when the user reaches their daily goal.
  • Be digital: 42 per cent even use a digital grocery list, demonstrating just how important digital is to them.
  • Transparency is important, but don’t overdo it – be open on the back label of a product, rather than cluttering the front label with too much information.
  • Consider using video in your marketing mix – Gen Z watch twice as many mobile videos as any other generation.
  • Remove their biggest nightmares: low or no Wi-Fi, dead phone battery and high loading times are severe pain points for this generation, so use this knowledge to your benefit. (Perhaps even offer would-be customers free phone charging and on-site Wi-Fi to help them peruse your digital catalogues!).
Beware Generation Z’s BS filter and 8-second attention span
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Adam Zuchetti
Adam Zuchetti

Adam Zuchetti is the former editor of MyBusiness and a senior freelance media professional, specialising in the fields of business, personal finance and property. In 2020, he also embarked on his own business journey – inspired in part by the entrepreneurs and founders he had met through his journalistic work – with the launch of customised pet gifting and subscription service Paws N’ All.

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