The black box for all marketers: Generation Z

De blackbox voor alle marketeers

Mom bangs on the door. “Anna, are you awake yet? I have to work soon! I have already put your school bag downstairs”. Slightly irritated, she calls back: “Yes, calm down. I am coming.”. She had been awake for a long time. After the alarm went off, she started watching YouTube videos of her favourite vloggers. This time one of Bram Krikke, who plays pranks on well-known Dutch people. She jumps in the shower, hurries downstairs and pops some cottage cheese with fruit in it. Meanwhile, she scrolls through the For You page on TikTok. Plate in the dishwasher. Toothbrushing. AirPods on and she rides her bike to school. On the way, she meets a classmate. While cycling they make an Instagram Story, which is immediately responded to by her other classmates after sharing. 

The life of stereotypical generation Z’er Anna seems chaotic and it is. But at the same time it is full of humour, social contact and social involvement. As a marketer, you have probably already noticed how many contact moments there are in the different channels in the example above. But besides the fact that this generation is more ‘connected’ than previous generations, they also have a completely different set of norms and values. As a marketer, you should therefore not only make optimal use of those contact moments, but also take these norms and values ​​into account. Otherwise there is a chance that you will completely miss the mark with your ads.

You are probably wondering: in what areas does generation Z really differ from the baby boomers, generation X and generation Y? Are those differences really that big? Yes, of course! And that has everything to do with the situation in which this generation grew up. Let’s take a closer look at the main differences below.


There are some differences of opinion about the demarcation of Generation Z. One source assumes that they were born between 2000 and 2015, while the other source believes that the generation started as early as 1995. Anyway, an important fact is that generation Z was born when the internet already existed. So they have never experienced a world without the internet. Where previous generations can still put into perspective what it is like to be offline and not directly connected to the world, Generation Z finds that difficult. Online and offline merge seamlessly with Generation Z. Where previous generations see a clear distinction between two worlds here, the online world for Generation Z is as real as offline. More than other generations, Generation Z has the expectation of instant gratification: instant gratification. For a marketer, this brings all kinds of opportunities, but irritations can also 

quickly arise during the ordering process, for example. The funnel must be right and the delivery time must be spot-on. But that’s quite normal, right?


Binary thinking: that is really outdated. Thanks to the never-ending stream of freely available information on the internet, Generation Z is acutely aware of the nuances and complexities within society. Sexuality? That can really go in any direction, much more than just ‘heterosexual or homosexual’. Gender? Let everyone be comfortable with what he or she feels good about. And racism? That’s not even in the Gen Z dictionary. Distinguishing between people is useless and accomplishes nothing. That is why the marketer should leave this distinction behind. Generation Z expects diversity in content, brand experience and advertising just as often as you would encounter it in real life.


Nice, that printing press. But we are now half a decade further and can now say that text is overrated. With current technology, we are more than ever able to convey messages in image, sound and smell. Not only can you explain things better this way, you are also better able to convey emotion. Generation Z grew up in a society with an overload of information and are used to this. She doesn’t care that much anymore. As a result, they are more likely to be stimulated by – and often even seek refuge in – multisensory media. ASMR has also become popular among this generation; it offers the opportunity to really experience your senses again. The bar is therefore high for the marketer. An attractive-looking, highly visual and sensory-stimulating ad appeals to Generation Z more than a purely informative ad. On the other hand, this may mean the return of offline experiences.


The flip side of this overstimulation is that Generation Z is more trained than other generations to filter out the >crap . There is so much content online and available at the same time that they have to make choices about whether or not to spend time on it. Generation Z is forced to do this continuously and the result is a relatively short attention span. So if your content is not catchy, immersive or compelling enough, you can forget about it. Enough other fun content to watch.


Generation Z is aware of the problems in the world created by previous generations: inequality, poverty, famine, climate change and other destructive developments. This heightened awareness of the shortcomings of previous generations ensures that Generation Z has a strong activist attitude. They like to actively contribute to making the world a little better. For example by collecting, doing a sponsored walk or eating vegetarian. On the other hand, they look through a kind of judging filter at the current institutions and companies. An advertiser who flouts ethics will go down the wrong way with Generation Z. It is only natural that as a company you adopt a sustainable and environmentally friendly attitude, that you are tolerant of your origins, gender and sexual orientation and that you do not take advantage of people. Generation Z is committed to ethics, so as a marketer, let this work to your advantage.


Society is tough and Generation Z knows this. They are aware that they are responsible for their own lives and that they have to make important choices. Many Generation Z people measure their success by having money. Because money offers you something to hold onto for a good life. In the lyrics of modern pop music you often come across this concept. It is emphasised that you can make something out of nothing, that you have to work hard for it and that some people will hate you if you have money, but that’s okay. On the other hand, Generation Z is also constantly confronted with wild success stories: from vloggers who earn thousands of euros per month by making fun travel videos, to influencers who never have to pay for their expensive clothes. The possibilities seem endless, but nothing will come of it if you don’t focus completely on yourself. They are also aware of the importance of personal branding: you must be able to distinguish yourself from the rest. Marketers can respond to this by offering solutions for personal branding or that can even lead directly to success.


This self-centeredness brings an additional complication: frugality! While millennials like to spend their money on experiences, such as travel or a strong brand experience, Generation Z prefers to pay attention to the money. By acting pragmatically and making wise choices, they see their bank account grow. Marketers should be aware of this pragmatic attitude of Generation Z, which is therefore at odds with the more idealistic attitude of millennials.


Quite different from millennials, for example, isn’t it? Maybe after reading this blog you still feel like you’re staring into a black box. Don’t worry, at Hide & Seek we have built up a lot of experience in advertising for Generation Z. We are aware of what is going on among this target group and know how you can optimally reach them with the latest types of advertisements. 

Do you have a case where you want to win Generation Z for your product, service or brand? Feel free to give us a call . We are happy to explain all the options to you!



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