Share.Like.Buy 2016: What Can We Expect From Generation Z?

Posted by: Kari Porter

With our annual marketing conference, ShareLikeBuy, just one month away, we are excited to introduce some of our esteemed speakers to our Millennial Marketing community.

Jake Katz, Vice President of Audience Insights and Strategy for REVOLT TV, is an expert when it comes to modern consumer marketing. In his latest research on gen Z, Jake uncovered exciting new territory that will shape the way brands and media giants connect with the next generation of consumers.

I had the opportunity to connect with Jake and learn more about his study, Project Z: A Mixed Media Story. 

Leah Swartz: Why should anyone start caring about Gen Z?

Jake Katz: We have to remember that the reason marketing and media professionals become so obsessed with the millennial generation was because they set elevated media expectations as a result of new technology introduced during their peak formative years. Marketers who advertised to their consumers through traditional media channels were most impacted by the new rules set by this generation.

At its core, the Millennial conversation we are seeing wind down was more of a metaphor on how digital is impacting our world’s culture, connectivity, and consumer behavior.

If you share Millennial research with a teen today, they have no idea what you’re talking about. Their culture today doesn’t look like everything we’ve read and learned about the Millennial generation. Their parents look different. The ethnic and racial makeup of their classrooms look different. Where they spend time on the Internet and what they like about it is different. It is indeed time to recognize a divide between the world 20-somethings grew up in, and the world teenagers today are growing up in. Sure, let’s call it Gen Z.

What really matters about this emerging group of adults is 3 things:

1. By 2020 they’ll be graduating college and entering their prime spending years

2. What we still call “new media” isn’t new to them

3. Diversity isn’t an ideal, it’s an expectation

Leah Swartz: Will Gen Z ever put down YouTube for traditional TV?

Jake Katz: Media and music face the same dilemma, how do you maintain the pay wall for consumers who’ve never really encountered it? 20-somethings today were able to buy the single, avoiding the cost of the whole album. Teens today, or Gen Z, have always been able to stream the whole album, TV show, or movie. Their time spent and preferences are undeniably moving away from the business of TV as we know it.

The future of TV requires cable operators to re-think their bundling and pricing, and for media buyers to shift from a marketplace of valuing publishers for their reach to a marketplace of publishers being valued for their ability to influence.

Also interesting, the Project Z study found that the #1 thing YouTube super-users want from their favorite YouTube personality, is for them to star in a TV show. This insight debunks the notion that YouTube is cannibalizing TV and sheds light on a media landscape where these two dimensions of media coexist.

Leah Swartz: What tension points do you see emerging from this next generation’s culture?

Jake Katz: Census data suggests that Gen Z may be the first majority-minority generation in U.S. history. A 17-year-old today hardly remembers a time when the POTUS wasn’t African American, they’ve seen Bruce Jenner transition in to Caitlyn Jenner, and marriage is a legal right for everyone. It comes as no surprise that “more accepting” surfaced as one of the top 3 attributes this generation says makes them unique.

At the same time, social injustice has never been more visible. For a minute there, everyone loved to say “Gen Z is color blind.” Multicultural marketers were sort of losing their equity to total market strategists. While it’s not clear where all of this visible social injustice will leave its mark, I don’t think people are as “color blind” as researchers were claiming Gen Z was going to be. In fact, despite being more diverse, targeting by culture and background may prove to be more important with this generation.

If you would like to hear more about Jake’s latest research and the great work he doing with Gen Z, be sure to sign up for ShareLikeBuy and join us on November 9-10 in Austin for a conference you won’t want to miss.

CLICK HERE to register for ShareLikeBuy today!

Want more on Gen Z? Stay tuned for Jeff Fromm & Angie Read’s new book, Marketing to Gen Z, coming Spring 2018. Pre-order here!

About Kari Porter

Kari is the intern at FutureCast and is excited to further explore and expand her knowledge about millennial trends, as she helps to write content for, Forbes and Business Journals. With a focus in...See Kari's full bio.