Today’s youth are quite different from the generations before them. Research has consistently shown they’re more interested in spending money on experiences rather than accumulating physical goods. Baby Boomers spent much of their money on colour TVs, a big house, and dependable cars.
This amassing of consumer products came during a period of immense economic growth, known as The Golden Age of Capitalism. Millennials, on the other hand, have been feeling the effects of The Great Recession, which crippled economies around the world. Struggling to keep jobs and pay off debt, big milestones like homeownership have been out of reach for many Millennials.
While Baby Boomers and Millennials seem to have lived on opposite ends of the spectrum, members of Generation Z may land somewhere in the middle. Born between the years of 1995 and 2010, the oldest of this cohort is just entering the workforce. This means many them will be earning their own money -- and looking for opportunities to spend it. Marketers have long concentrated on targeting Millennials, but are now turning their attention to the generation that comes after.
Experiential marketing is perfect for attracting consumers of Generation Z. They’re especially drawn to exhibitions, concerts, and sporting events -- with promises of fun, grandeur, and the opportunity to ‘be seen’ out and about. Before exploring how to effectively use experiential marketing, let’s explore why this strategy works with Generation Z.
An Unforgettable Experience
In an age of tablets, iPhones, and social media, members of Generation Z have missed out on a lot of traditional advertising. TV commercials, flyers, and newspaper ads can seem archaic out of touch. Because of their disconnect with to old-fashioned marketing tactics, the younger demographic tends to appreciate experiences more than physical goods.
Experiential marketing works well on Generation Z because, when done properly, it creates a scenario in which members want to take part. They want to feel as if they were the missing piece in a larger puzzle. And if what you’re selling strikes at an ideology and seems motivated by purpose, you can bet the younger generation will want in on the action.
To connect with consumers in an unforgettable way, marketing experts say person-to-person audience engagement should be the foundation of your marketing strategy -- not just a standalone tactic. We’ve come up with five ways to use experiential marketing to instill brand loyalty in the next generation of consumers.
1. Segment your target market even further
It’s no longer enough to divide your target market into one simple demographic and call it a day. After doing a bit of research, you will find that within Generation Z, there are opportunities to divide this segment even further. For starters, the oldest of this group will be 23 -- while the youngest will only be 8. That’s quite an age gap, even though they all belong to the same generation. So naturally, your message for 8-year-olds would differ from the one you deliver to a 23-year-old.
Psychographic segmentation allows you to divide your market based on various factors. Here are some ways in which you could categorize members within Generation Z:
- Life stage - Are they entering high school or the job market?
- Goals - Are they hoping to buy a small condo in the next 5 years or preoccupied with getting into a good university?
- Interests - Are they interested in gaining financial security or more interested in scoring tickets for the next hot band?
Dividing people into smaller segments allows for better targeting. Even if two groups are part of the same demographic, each one can receive a message tailored to its own unique characteristics.
2. Give something back to the customer
Traditional marketing strategies have always had one goal in mind: Get something from the customer, whether it’s an email address or a sale. Those tactics won’t work with Generation Z. A campaign designed to educate and interact will see much more success.
One of our favourite experiential campaigns was created by lifestyle brand Refinery29. The company turned a Brooklyn warehouse into 29 rooms of interactive art. It was literally a funhouse for adults, which allowed patrons to tap into their childish side and share a few laughs in the process. People had a chance to enjoy the interactive rooms, and no one from Refinery29 made an effort to sell them anything. Customers ultimately left with a good impression of the brand, which will certainly serve the company well down the line.
3. Hand out free stuff
Nothing speaks to the younger generation quite like free goods. Give your target audience a reason to attend your event. Promise them lots of product samples, cool swag, and other useful items. They’ll show up with their smartphones ready to snap pics and hashtag your event. Free stuff will usually bring people out in droves. Sometimes it’s really that simple!
4. Use contests or sweepstakes to attract people
Because members of Generation Z appreciate experiences over products, use contests with experience-based prizes to draw attention. For example: If you run a travel agency, offer entry into a sweepstakes for a free luxury cruise getaway. Or if you sell outdoor gear, enter participants into a raffle for a free whitewater rafting expedition. In these instances, the campaign has very little to do with selling an actual product and everything to do with magical possibilities.
5. Take lots of photos and videos
Make sure to take lots of photos and videos during your experiential event. Hire a professional photographer and videographer to capture the best moments. Your young participants will want access to this content, so they can share these images with their friends -- giving your event extra exposure.
For millennials, the Internet and social media were absent for a segment of their lives because these things were still gaining ground during their childhoods. But for Generation Z, they’ve had these tools their entire existence. So they’ll never think twice before posting content on places like Instagram and Snapchat.
Take advantage of this characteristic by giving them ample opportunities to share images of your event with friends. The key to spreading your message is ensuring your participants are connected at all times. During the planning stages, make sure to equip your venue with portable Wifi access or popup Internet solutions.