While a part of the Slovenian business public is certain that they’ve reached the pinnacle of content marketing by printing and sending their magazine to their customers twice a year, digital economy is approaching a great new turnaround. In 2011 Google’s ZMOT research negated the long standing theory about the importance of the first contact of the consumer with the product before reaching the shelf, and now, less than four years later, the ZMOT doctrine is being negated by hyper-connected customers in a way.
One and a half billion people are connected on Facebook and hundreds of millions on other social networks while everyone on earth carries (statistically) more than one mobile device. This created a different culture of digital existence and communication. The connectivity that is brought on by technology created a hyper-reachable audience for everyone. And every audience has their own audience down the line. This connectivity is so intense that scientists were able to calculate that getting from a certain point on Facebook to a random other point requires only 4 levels of connections between audiences. The speed of communication between audiences has reached such levels that social networks are a news source for reporters today. News is no longer something that the media serves to their audience – it is the other way around.
Social networks as a primary source of information
All of this changes buyers – yours as well! Today’s buyers are different from what they were years ago and expect different services from companies that they are in touch with. They are aware of their power. Every one of us is a part of the media in a way. Experience is shared in real time and people often rely on their social networks for finding information that they could have found themselves. Google used to be the first point of contact with a brand (ZMOT), but today, more often than not, people turn directly to social networks to find solutions that are recommended by their social circle.
Communication through social networks is increasing all the time. The trends of spread out information sources and opinions of other people that were noticed in the millennial generation is spreading to wider demographics.We turn to social networks to find solutions in our social circle instead of asking sales people. Click To Tweet
The purchasing power of generation Z
I am completely serious when I say that everything is changed in today’s digital economy, since it is mostly shaped by millennials. Just think about this: they’ve turned a brand into more than just a logo, it now includes a broader understanding of the brand as a consequence of the experiences it creates. Experience does not only include experience with the product, but experiences with connected events: from sales to support and general communication. Millennials spread communication faster than companies can control it. Much faster. Especially companies that believe in the “weight” of paper communication. And millennials are followed by generation Z – born after the year 2000.
Today’s 10 and 15-year olds don’t know any other reality than independent Slovenia, free market and instantly reachable internet. Stationary phones are relics for them, while equality regardless of gender, sexual orientation or race is something completely normal. At the end of the day, they know only this world where the American president is black. Newspapers do not exist for them, they are hard to reach on Facebook or Twitter. Try Snapchat. Haven’t heard of it or don’t know how to use it for marketing? You might have a problem. The Zs don’t communicate with words, they understand graphics and emojis. Information must be short and to the point. They recognize platitudes and despise them. They don’t consider television and radio relevant or just don’t pay attention to them. If millennials are using three screens, the Zs are using 5. Should you be afraid that this generation will soon take over the market? Only if you don’t intend to change.Should you be afraid of generation Z taking over the market? Only if you don’t intend to change. Click To Tweet
Of course, it is hard to believe in the need for change. People don’t like changes and the same is true for companies. It’s easier to lie to ourselves and believe that this doesn’t affect us. This couldn’t be farther from the truth – just go for a coffee anywhere and you’ll see that having coffee is still a social event, but everyone keeps looking at their screens. And if millennials are aware that this wasn’t always standard behavior, this is completely normal for generation Z, so it should become normal in marketing as well.