Reib Law January 2019

Have you started marketing to Generation Z yet? You should be. The oldest members of this generation — usually defined as people born during the mid-1990s to early 2000s — are starting to enter the workforce. By 2020, around 40 percent of consumer buying power will come from Gen Z. Companies need to think about how to reach them — preferably without making the same mistakes they made when marketing to millennials. LEARN WHERE YOUR AUDIENCE IS AT, AND WHY Gen Z grew up in an internet-focused world, but that doesn’t mean you can reach them through Facebook or email. Younger social media users gravitate to video-based platforms like YouTube or TikTok. On these apps, content feels more “real” because it is made by users for users. This preference shapes their buying habits. A survey from Business Insider found that only 49 percent of Gen Zers shop online once a month, a steep decline from the 74 percent of millennials who regularly make online purchases. Fifty-eight percent of the Gen Zers surveyed said they preferred brick-and-mortar shopping because they “wanted to see and feel the product.” DON’T BE ‘HIP’ There have been countless embarrassing attempts to get “on the level” with millennials, from a pizza company MARKET TO GEN Z WITHOUT REPEATING PAST MISTAKES Entrepreneurs might be the worst vacationers. It comes from the right place — you’re passionate about your business and enjoy working to make it successful. It’s also what makes it so hard to step away. Like Scott shared on the cover, taking a vacation and truly disconnecting when you run a small business is challenging, but it’s also necessary for your health and well-being. Overcome the Catch-22 by implementing these strategies when you book your next trip. AUTOMATE WHAT YOU CAN Many functions can be automated, like weekly emails and social media posts. Entrepreneurs, like organizational strategist Brandi Olson, use tools like Zapier and Buffer to automate their workflows and make it easier to get away while still bringing in leads and not allowing business to come to a standstill. COMMUNICATE WHAT YOU CAN’T Some aspects of your business can’t be automated, and others likely shouldn’t be. Tell your clients well in advance about your trip so they can plan accordingly. Ask what you can do to help them feel taken care of before you leave. “Business Know-How” author Janet Attard also recommends not scheduling any big changes, like a new website launch

misunderstanding a trending hashtag about domestic violence to a presidential campaign asking people to use emojis to describe how they feel about student loan debt. These disasters produced major backlash because they were inappropriate, condescending, and insincere. Stay true to your brand persona and think twice before you approve an ad that riffs on a popular meme or claims your product is a “big mood.” REMEMBER THAT ‘GEN Z’ ISN’T A DEMOGRAPHIC Many of the mistakes companies made when marketing to millennials came from trying to market to “Millennials” — in other words, they relied on stereotypes to plan campaigns. Don’t make the same mistake with the 61 million Gen Zers about to enter the workforce. As president and founder of Red Fan Communications, Kathleen Lucente, puts it, “It’s more about understanding a set of behaviors, communication preferences, spending habits, brand affinities, and loyalties. Using terms like ‘millennial’ or ‘Gen Z’ might be easy, but they shouldn’t be applied to marketing when there are myriad other ways to understand behavior.” Marketers need to up their game when it comes to reaching this next generation — a generation who spent years watching companies clumsily attempt to connect with their millennial parents or siblings. Gen Z can spot insincere or manipulative marketing a mile away. or redesign, to take place while you’re gone. If you schedule social media posts to deploy, designate someone to manage the response. SET CLEAR EXPECTATIONS FOR EVERYONE Let your team and clients know what they can expect from you while you’re away. If you plan to unplug and won’t be available for the duration of your trip, clearly communicate that to your clients. Talk to an employee or trusted colleague about being on call so clients have support and so your team isn’t left scrambling if something urgent comes up. It’s not your responsibility to manage every hypothetical, but it is integral to the future of your business that you put systems in place so you don’t leave anyone feeling neglected. As the saying goes, treat others the way you want to be treated, and you’ll be swell. If your doctor leaves for two weeks, don’t you want to have a head’s up and a contingency plan? Taking a break is valuable to your business, and you might be surprised by how a change of scenery influences you. Some of your best ideas come out of being in a different environment than you're used to. The inspiration and renewed motivation you may bring back with you are priceless.


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