Marketing to Gen Z

The Rules for Reaching This Vast--and Very Different--Generation of Influencers

 Marketing to Gen Z

Authors: Jeff Fromm, Angie Read
Pub Date: March 2018
Print Edition: $24.95
Print ISBN: 9780814439272
Page Count: 224
Format: Hardback
e-Book ISBN: 9780814439289

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I was raised in a household where I was taught to ask myself “how am I going to make a difference?” not “if I am going to make a difference.” I am a product of my environment, committed to change-making.


It’s not difficult to see why President Obama, among others, recognized this 18-year-old for his passion and contributions to further equality. Ziad is the founder and president of Redefy, a youth organization created to challenge prejudice and sexism. He also cofounded Jüv Consulting to give teenage consultants a voice in the business world.

Typical myths surrounding the young are that they’re restless and reckless. You know, like, “Kids these days . . . they’re out of control!”

But Pivotals are hardworking, financially responsible, independent, and determined—characteristics not usually assigned to teenagers. They also are less likely than previous generations to engage in risky behaviors like underage drinking, drugs, or smoking. Because they tend to exhibit more conservative behaviors, it’s understandable that they also maintain more traditional attitudes regarding honesty, loyalty, and achievement.

It is important to note that, while the pendulum may swing backward in some ways, the world we live in today differs from the one that existed 50 years ago. While we continue to see teens follow a more traditional path, we cannot expect the exact behavior of their elders. Like Millennials, Pivotals operate in a market guided by technological advancements and a social landscape spanning the physical and digital worlds.


The biggest mistake [brands are making when marketing to Gen Z] is thinking we’re exactly like Millennials. They need to ask “What are the differences?” We know everything is earned. Nothing is given.


Of course, not comparing the two generations is easier said than done, considering the decade-long and continuing effort to understand and market to Millennials. It’s impossible to differentiate the generations without making some side-by-side comparisons.

So, let’s dig in.

Some of the most obvious similarities include both generations’ familiarity with technology and expectations for 24/7 digital access. They share a love of social media, extensive friend networks, and visibility into the lives of others. They both desire active participation and cocreation with brands, and pledge to make a difference in the world.

But don’t let the similarities mislead you. Treating Pivotals like younger Millennials—rather than approaching them as a separate consumer group with their own views, ideas, need states, and expectations of brands—is a huge mistake, one that they do not take lightly.

Let’s do a quick side-by-side comparison of Pivotals to Millennials. For instance, Pivotals can multitask across five screens at once (TV, phone, laptop, desktop, and either a tablet or handheld gaming device), while Millennials typically stick to maneuvering two screens simultaneously (TV and phone, or phone and laptop, etc.).

Thanks to the continued uptick in technological advancements, Pivotals think in 4D versus 3D. They have grown up with hi-def, surround sound, and now 360-degree photography and film (i.e., virtual reality). Even with so many entertainment luxuries, Pivotals are more realistic about things like jobs and finances than Millennials, as a result of having grown up in a time of great turmoil.

Excerpted from MARKETING TO GEN Z: The Rules for Reaching this Vast--and Very Different--Generation of Influencers by Jeff Fromm and Angie Read. Copyright © 2018 Jeff Fromm and Angie Read. Published by AMACOM Books, a division of American Management Association, New York, NY. Used with permission.

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