Gen Zs Count Content Calories: Give them Snackable Bites
There's no question that individual and societal experiences have shaped Gen Z. Significant events such as the COVID-19 pandemic and recent advocacy movements like Black Lives Matter, gun reform, and climate change have formulated the values of this new generation.
Their social consciousness, thrifty, and tech-savvy priorities are attributes that associations need to take into account when building plans to drum up new membership, increase engagement, and even recruit their own new employees.
It's a given that the "one-size-fits-all" approach isn't applicable here. Organizations need tailored approaches and tools that deliver the right content in the right way to this high impact group.
- Are hyperconnected on social media and prefer making their purchases online whenever possible.
- Consume a lot of diversified content across multiple and singular topics.
- Enjoy gamification whereby there's always an element of competition.
- Appreciate working in small groups and, in many cases, even solicit feedback on performance.
- Seek out socially-conscious solutions that are presented through personalized messaging.
- Prefer interactive experiences with the content provider, other audience members, and the environment as a whole.
- Would rather subscribe and commit to recurring content than one-offs to build a connection with the content provider.
Giving them a "digital home" of individuals with the same values and interests is the secret to winning this group. Because of their digital "nomadic" nature and the fact that demographic traits don't bind them, you'll want to use virtual offerings such as webinars and video conferencing events that allow them to participate and contribute in an online setting from anywhere in the world.
Because of their online presence, associations should use an omnichannel approach to constantly connect with them through email, text, and social media. Visuals, socially responsible messages, and authentic content highlighting real people are the key to this tribe. Because they often receive their updates in real-time through short headlines found on platforms such as Twitter, they likely will not be willing to wait for a monthly newsletter.
This sub-sect of Gen Z wants associations to actively communicate their organizational values and stances on crucial issues. From a more technical standpoint, short message service (SMS) text campaigns are an effective way to mobilize this group for membership and engagement—particularly if you have plenty of volunteer and advocacy opportunities for them.
Connect with this group by injecting authenticity into your content. Quotes from real people—versus marketing jargon—that organically emphasizes the contributions your organization has made to society will go the distance with this tribe. Additionally, virtual offerings, forums, and networks within your association will give this rallying group a sense of community in support of cause.
Behavioral drip campaigns, delivered via marketing automation platforms like HubSpot, are a great way to give each tribe member a individualized journey to association membership with demonstrated value and give-back.
Communicating quantifiable education, career/personal growth, and justifiable return on investment (via discounts, savings, and other wins) is the most effective way to appeal to these thrifters when it comes to carving out budgets.
About Emily Nash
With a unique background in start-ups-to-studios, and consulting-to-corporate settings, Emily specializes in solving for unknowns, pioneering new services, and collaborating with marketers and strategists. In her community, she served on the board of American Institute for Graphic Arts as their Communications Director to help promote networking and mentorship opportunities for area designers and creatives. She’s also a co-producer for Rethink Association, a podcast for associations.