Blog Post #2: Marketing to Generation Z: Marketing net “positive” and ethical considerations
Writers Anderson and Rainie of the Pew Research Center propose the question “as to whether the younger generation’s always-on connection to people and information will turn out to be a net positive or a net negative by 2020” that was addressed “in a survey about the future of the internet” that can be found via the
The findings conclude that “technology experts and stakeholders were fairly evenly split” revealing that “in 2020 the brains of multi-tasking teens and young adults are ‘wired’ differently from those over age 35 and overall it yields ‘helpful’ or ‘baleful’ results” according to the survey findings.
Not regarding or disregarding the findings of the study, the always-on interconnectivity of teens or those referred to as “Millennials” or “Generation-Z” (the generation of the internet – those who do not know of an existence without the internet) have also been referenced as “the holy grail for brands” as cited in Forbes from Marketing Magazine at this
According to writer Patrick Hourihan of Marketing Magazine at
“Generation Z is a highly diverse, social generation who [has] grown up in the digital age” and describes that “while there is no consensus on their exact demographic, they range in age from teens to early twenties and are often referred to as digital natives.” Hourihan goes on to describe how Generation Z can be understood by marketers today as individuals who receive vast amounts of information as those who are constantly connected to those sources of information; “A tricky group to reach,” he explains, “they are notoriously fickle, but well worth the investment in understanding a prime target for so many brands with their disposable incomes and astronomic levels of online engagement.”
Hence, the new and emerging generation of young adults and teens make for prime candidates to receive advertising messages since those individuals stay constantly connected to those sources in which advertisements and the marketing message would be found. Those sources include social media channels and other on-line media such as email, texts and various games that can be played where banners and ads can be found.
Additionally, another writer Bill Goodwin of Packaging Digest http://www.packagingdigest.com/packaging-design/undeniable-influence-kids explains that “kids influence up to 80 percent of all household purchases” and that by “ignoring them [that] may mark the beginning of the end for your brand.” Therefore, marketing directly to the interest of children can pose as a “positive net” for a brand especially considering the spending influence that Generation Z teens, “tweens” and young adults have within the home. It therefore seems to make perfect legitimate sense to market to those individuals who influence those expenditures therefore creating a viable market for a brand that is geared toward youth.
Although there might be brands that are advertised specifically for children such as cereal, juices and vitamins, certain ethical considerations should be considered when marketing to minors (or youth minorities). For instance, Gerda Van Damme explains that “some ethical issues of digital marketing towards children” should be considered by advertising agencies to include concerns of violence, lack of parental control, obesity, screen addiction, privacy, online safety, uncontrolled purchase, age inappropriate content among other concerns that can be found here: http://www.slideshare.net/gerdavandamme/some-ethical-issues-with-digital-marketing-to-kids
In conclusion, although Generation Z kids are constantly connected to the net – there are limitations that should be considered by the advertising agency prior to making youth a target audience for brand-specific messages. The Apple Company for instance recently refunded App store purchases that were made by children without parental consent in the astonishing amount of $32.5 million dollars that can be viewed here: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/16/technology/government-and-apple-settle-childrens-app-purchase-inquiry.html?_r=0. Such an occurrence proves that parental control and uncontrolled purchases pose a problem when targeting specific marketing messages to young teens.