Generation Z, born after 1995, will account for over 30 percent of UK and European consumers by 2020 and already represent £25bn in spending power in the US.
They’re a challenging market. They’re skeptical, attuned to social media probably far more than you are, have short attention span, and know how to find information, which means that they're resilient to your sales pitch.
One way to reach them is through experiential marketing.
Gen Z are hard to reach precisely because the classic AIDA model no longer applies to them. Classic marketing taught that individuals could be hooked through Attention, Desire, Interest, and Awareness.
The AIDA model appealed to the linear mindset of a pre- digital tech age, but Gen Z opened their eyes in a period awash with ipads, ipods, tablets and smartphones, which, according to many neuroscientists, may physically alter their minds.
Kit Yarrow and Jayne O'Donnell of GenBuy, write that social media zaps attention, increases the desire for instant gratification and makes Gen Z ignore irrelevant data. Previous generations could fall for traditional B2B pitches, but Gen Z live in a different period and have to be marketed to accordingly.
Experiential marketing works because it appeals to the Gen Z spontaneous and freedom-loving character by stressing the collaboration and adventure of the marketing experience. It involves them, wins their trust, and gives them the social interaction that Gen Z love.
Here’s Why Experiential Marketing Succeeds
Just because Generation Z disdain traditional advertising, doesn’t mean they aren’t brand-savvy. Gen Z are just as attracted as previous generations to labels, image, and brand messages, but Eventbrite showed that 69% of Gen Z experience something the organization called Fear of Missing Out (FOMO).
They understand that things break, but experiences linger forever - and they want the labels and brands together with experiences.
They want to relate more, live more, learn more, become better and expanded people through interacting with the world around them.
It is no surprise that recent studies showed that 78% of Gen Z are more inclined to become part of a brand if they interact with it. Or that almost eight out of ten Gen Z say some of their best memories come from experiences. Or, for that matter, that many of the top 50 brands for Gen Z use experiential marketing.
This type of marketing hooks Gen Z because it satisfies their lifestyle. The interaction gives them a sense of adventure that they can dip into and merge with. It makes them part of the process, from design to delivery.
Experiential campaigns work because millennials want to be a part of it all, not passive recipients. They touch, taste, eat the product – and like it more.
In the era of the ‘selfie’ and FaceBook, it is also clear that Gen Z want to share their experiences with others on social media. This is great for you because it gives you free ambassadors who relay your band to others.
Experiential marketing can be one of your cheapest strategies, yet.
Industries That Profit From Experiential Marketing
Experiential marketing is fast becoming a key tactic in many marketing campaigns. Two of the industries that could profit are the food and beverages niche and lifestyle brands.
● Lifestyle Brands - Example: Companies like Red Bull and Anheuser-Busch scream experience. Red Bull creates events and campaigns that use adventure like competitions and crazy stunts to engage adrenaline-pumped youth.
● Food and Beverages Niche - Example: ProMotion, an event-marketing team, successfully conducted a 19-market campaign for Snapple (Dr. Pepper), that pivoted around this model. They rolled out snazzy trucks, tour managers and brand ambassadors equipped with fun premiums and samples. They ended up winning thousands of new customers to their innovative brand offering.
Other niches could profit, too, from using this strategy.
Marketers need to engage millennials by moving into the friend zone, taking them more seriously and sponsoring events that bring their brand down to an interactive level.
5 Critical Success Factors for Experiential marketing
Ogilvy and Mather say that creating an emotional experience is one of the hardest things to do in marketing. Here are five points that can help you initiate lasting brand memories.
● Be Sincere – Gen Z have great BS detectors. If your brand is pretending to embrace the lifestyle and the drives of your target market, they’ll sniff it out and drag you down. Ask yourself whether your offer totally satisfies the Gen Z. What does he or she need? How can you provide it? And how can you provide it better than others? Be authentic. Care.
● Make it Relevant – As long as you focus on the client, your brand will become relevant and succeed. Examples include Red Bull’s stunts that attracted thousands because consumers found the experiences relevant to their lives and interests. Slant your experience to what millennials care about most.
● Go Where They Go – The Snapple #StraightUpTeaTime campaign went to sporting events, festivals, 5K’s, and urban commercial centers in order to “go where the ducks are.” Interacting with millennials on their turf, in their kind of activities and locations, enhances your appeal and credibility.
● Make it Shareable – “Pics or it didn’t happen” catches the Gen Z mindset. According to Edelman, seven out of ten Gen Z consider themselves “alpha-influencers,” where they feel they have to share experiences that moved them. Make your experiences scream touch, sense, relationships, laughter, thrill, exhilaration so they can share it on their smartphones and blogs.
● Plan Instant Gratification - The traditional AIDA-based campaigns worked with brands that offered sweepstakes in exchange for demographics. Consumers agreed to wait for a prize that could come weeks or months later. No longer! Gen Z want to see with their own eyes that they won. It's also connected with their digital media lifestyle. They expect things to work - and to work now.
Gen Z can have a resounding influence on consumers of all generations.
Involve their senses through experience, and they’ll work for you for free.
The message is clear. Forget the AIDA model. Experiential marketing is the way to go. It clicks into the Gen Z adventure-loving, experience-seeking personalities and feeds their spontaneous lifestyles.
Experiential marketing works for you.It stretches your marketing dollar and gives you tangible results.
Try it. You’ll see.