New year, new crop. It's time to level up to the Z.
Every year, associations and nonprofits clamor to reinvent their marketing, programming, and member experience strategies. And while the table always turns with new technologies and approaches, in 2023 and beyond, new audiences are also entering the mix.
That's right. Gen Z is slowly working its way into the workplace and the buying market. In fact, according to World Economic Forum, by 2025, it's expected that Gen Z will be taking up 27% of this space.
For organizations already looking to upscale growth and engagement to stay market-steady, this adds one more rung to the wheel of challenge. Associations and nonprofits now need to match their marketing, their brand, and their membership models with today's youngest crew.
This means, they need to embrace new tools, technologies, and approaches. They need to revitalize their work environments, hire new and specialized talent, and develop programs applicable and appealing to Z audiences.
- As part of Gen Z's inherent make-up, they're interested in philanthropic programs, cause-based initiatives, and socially responsible events.
- Gen Z's learning and buying expectations are different from their predecessors. Zs connect through web channels, make online purchases, and utilize subscriptions and sound bites for content and education.
- Gen Zs still have a need for connectivity. So being a part of something isn't going away for associations; it will just look different moving forward. In-person interactions will morph into chats, virtual, and even metaverse group experiences.
So yes, there are tons of opportunities for associations to meet the goals and values of incoming markets to grow their membership. Let's get into some ways organizations can square up their approaches to level up to the Z:
Top of the funnel social strategy wins: According to Insider Intelligence, 83% of Gen Z shop new products from social media. If you're an association acquiring new Z members, push social to the top of your demand gen plan. Don't just settle for the FaceBook, LinkedIn, and Twitter mix. Make sure to integrate YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram into your portfolio. Just remember that with every good demand gen strategy, you need equally strong lead gen so that you're turning those anonymous contacts into quality leads.
There's no stop button for "omni": If you're using omnichannel approaches and technologies to engage young members, by default, you're already reinventing yourself to newer markets. Still, remember that to stay truly omni-channel, your org needs to continue researching, assessing, and empowering itself with the latest and greatest channels. Aligning yourself with top marketing automation players in the association marketplace (for instance, HubSpot) takes the thinking out of this because the "shiny new toys" are already baked into their product roadmaps.
Single sign-on integration counts: Those leaning into new technologies and adaptive approaches are capable of tapping into the range of markets, entering and leaving the workforce, if used in the right way. Once again, omni-channel growth and engagement platforms that play well with others in the marketplace put you in a position to do this. Still disparate tools can be watered down without the right integration in place to centralize all data in a meaningful way.
Netfli-sized models will appeal: Subscription-based, live and on-demand content with chat and other interactive options will go a long way with this group. Since associations need to balance the needs of existing members and incoming ones, these progressive models could launch as add-on categories alongside traditional membership options.
About Aimee Pagano
Aimee joins HighRoad Solution with 15+ years of integrated marketing and communications experience, primarily in client-facing roles within the association and SaaS space. Her specialties include persona development, content strategy/management, lead gen and awareness campaign development, and website development/optimization.