10 Tips to Help You Connect with the Largest Generation on the Planet

I’d like to introduce you to Generation Z.

I know, some of you are still trying to catch up with Busters, or Generation X, or whatever we called whoever followed the Boomers. Or maybe you leapfrogged over all that straight to Generation Y (Millennials), on whom marketers have been focused for at least a decade.

Let me save you some time. Drop everything and start paying attention to Generation Z, who now constitute 25.9% of the U.S. population. That’s more than Millennials (24.5%). That’s more than Gen X (15.4%). Yes, that’s even more than Baby Boomers (23.6%).

So who falls into Generation Z? There’s still some debate on exact dates, but essentially those who were born after Generation Y. So approximately 1995 to present. At the time of this writing, it is the generation that is now under the age of 18.

Do the math, and you realize that they grew up in a post 9/11 world during a recession. They’ve experienced radical changes in technology and understanding of family, sexuality and gender. They live in multi-generational households, and the fastest growing demographic within their age-group is multi-racial.

And how has that molded them? According to the marketing research of Sparks and Honey, here are some “Z” headlines:

  • they are eager to start working
  • they are mature and in control
  • they intend to change the world
  • they’ve learned that traditional choices don’t guarantee success
  • entrepreneurship is in their DNA
  • they seek education and knowledge, and they use social media as a research tool
  • they multi-task across five screens, and their attention spans are getting shorter
  • they think spatially and in 4-D, but lack situational awareness
  • they communicate with symbols, speed and with images
  • their social circles are global
  • they are hyper-aware and concerned about man’s impact on the planet
  • they are less active, and frequently obese
  • they live-stream and co-create

I’ll stop there, because the list goes on and on. Bottom line: they are not Millennials.  So how do you connect with the largest generation on the planet? Marketers are way ahead of you.

Here’s a top ten to consider:

1.  Talk in images: emojis, symbols, pictures, videos.

2.  Communicate more frequently in shorter bursts of “snackable content.”

3.  Don’t talk down…talk to them as adults, even about global topics.

4.  Make stuff – or help Gen Z make stuff (they’re industrious).

5.  Tap into their entrepreneurial spirit.

6.  Collaborate with them – and help them collaborate with others.

7.  Tell your story across multiple screens.

8.  Live-stream with them – or give them live-streaming access.

9.  Optimize your search results (they do their internet research).

10. Include a social cause that they can fight for.

Do you see a theme? I do. It’s all about talking in a way they will understand. Not watering down the communication of the message, just changing the method of communication.

And with Generation Z?

It needs changing.

>> Read more from James Emery White here.

Download PDF

Tags: , , ,

| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Leadership >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

James Emery White

James Emery White

James Emery White is the founding and senior pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, NC, and the ranked adjunctive professor of theology and culture at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, which he also served as their fourth president. He is the founder of Serious Times and this blog was originally posted at his website www.churchandculture.org.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
What happens when u dont have a meeting place any more. And u was forced out because the buliding wasnt available any more.
 
— Debra
 
If someone wants entertainment they're going to the wrong place. Church is not a place for entertainment...or in my opinion a barrage of coffee and donuts. Why are churches today bringing the world INTO them? Then there's the thing with children...age appropriate??? These little guys can pick stuff up in service. Besides Jesus said Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. Mt. 19:14.
 
— Laurie
 
I love the intentionality here as well as the challenge to look at the data. That's missing so many times. I would like to offer a contrarian's take. Church members and regular attenders have so many ways to get information: Announcements, bulletins, social channels, relationships, and email being among the options. But brand new people are likely going to check out the website and that's it. It might be wiser for churches with limited time and resources to focus their website almost exclusively to guests. This group of people isn't looking for a calendar of events but wants to know about regular programs. They probably aren't interested in watching all of the messages but instead may want to preview one of the services. For the times we need church members to go to websites (sign up for camp, join a group, etc), we're probably better off designing and promoting a specific page rather than cluttering up the homepage.
 
— Michael Lukaszewski (@mlukaszewski)
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.