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Auto marketers: It’s time to pay attention to Gen Z

automarketing gen zWhat generation already has 61 million consumers[1], is set to be the largest generation ever, and influences $600 billion of spending[2]? While you may think these attributes describe millennials, they are actually a portrait of Generation Z, better known as Gen Z, the newest generation that is emerging in the marketplace.

Made up of consumers born after 1996, Gen Z is ready to be noticed and become a force to be reckoned with in the market. In the automotive market alone, Gen Z made up 3.8 percent of all new vehicle registrations in the first quarter of 2019. While that number may seem small, consider the fact that in 2015—just four years ago—they only made up 0.5 percent of new vehicle registrations. These are statistics that should make automotive marketers pay attention.

Most marketers tend to lump Gen Z with millennials – after all, they grew up with smartphones and social media, so how different can they be than the generation that came of age with the Internet? However, unlike millennials, Gen Z is considered a true “digital generation” – performing many of life’s day-to-day activities online. This means that they do a lot of research when shopping for a product. In fact, according to the Center for Generational Kinetics[3], 52 percent of Gen Z has looked at online reviews for a product while shopping in-store.

But how do digitally native consumers impact automotive marketers? In order to sell cars, marketers’ messages need to be relevant. Like many other generations, Gen Z interacts with brands across a number of different devices and touchpoints. They’re constantly bombarded with messages and advertisements, so much so that it becomes information overload.

To create consistent messages that resonate, brands need to communicate across these different touchpoints and tell a story that is relevant to your audience. For example, you wouldn’t show an advertisement of someone buying their dream sports car to a member of Gen Z. Most of these consumers are buying their first car, so it would typically make more sense to show them ads for economical, reliable, sedans or cross-over SUVs.

Historically, automotive marketers have relied exclusively on CRM data, but this strategy isn’t effective when it comes to Gen Z, as the fact of the matter is they probably haven’t purchased a car from you previously.

The recipe for marketing success with Gen Z is identity resolution – combining your first-party identity signals across channels with third-party resources, as well as advanced technology, such as machine learning and artificial intelligence, to truly create and deliver campaigns that are relevant to the youngest generation. The more knowledge marketers have on your audience, such as demographics, life events and purchase behavior, enables them to tailor the messages to the audience in a way that will cut through the noise and resonate.

As more members of Gen Z come into the marketplace, automotive marketers will want to ensure they’re meeting them where they are, delivering messages that matter to them. This will help marketers sell more cars, but also begin to create relationships that could last for years to come.

[1] https://www.bls.gov/spotlight/2016/a-look-at-the-future-of-the-us-labor-force-to-2060/home.htm

[2] http://www.millennialmarketing.com/research/

[3] https://genhq.com/gen-z-2017-research-infographic-stats-money-earning-spending-shopping/