Gadgets Over Toys: Gen Z to Become the Next Data Mecca for Marketers?

In Big Data by Daniel NewmanLeave a Comment

When we talk about young professionals shaking things up in the workplace, we often talk about millennials. When we talk about consumers shaping tech trends with their purchases, we often talk about millennials. This is for good reason—after all, their growth as a generation has meant a lot for big data. There’s a new group of up-and-comers, though, that may prove even more influential for marketers: Gen Z. This group of kids, some of whom are just graduating high school, were born after the millennial generation, grew up alongside gadgets, and are primed to be the most technology-driven generation yet. What’s that mean for marketers? It means more engaged consumers and more possibilities for new models in advertising. It also means data that’s better, and more of it. It means, without a doubt, opportunity.

Move over millennials . . . Gen Z wants to play, and the rules of the game are changing.

Tech Gadgets Over Toys 

A good percentage of Gen Z is replacing traditional toys with tech gadgets. If your child’s last birthday wish list didn’t prove it, there is plenty of research that will.

When discussing The Intelligence Group’s Gen Z marketing study, Senior Director of Strategic Innovation Allison Arling-Giorgi reported that two-thirds of children between the ages of seven and 13 would rather have a gadget (like an iPad) than a traditional toy. In addition, this group is uber-mobile, having toddled around with iPads and Mom’s smartphone—60 percent of kids polled reported getting online using a mobile phone at least once per week—they definitely don’t want to be tethered to an “old fashioned” desktop.

So, while traditional toys aren’t at all obsolete, the upswing of kids using technology for both learning and play is evident.

More Data, Better Data

Odds are that millennial parents (raising a Gen Z child) probably began chronicling their baby’s life using technology beginning close to birth. (Social media, anyone?) Now that the child is old enough to have his/her own communicative gadget, the data and information sharing continues.

With iPads replacing dolls and baseball bats, kids are going to be leaving a greater digital footprint full of consumer data. This trend will give marketers greater insights into not only Gen Z’s habits in real time, but also how they change and evolve with age. This perfect data storm presents Gen Z as a fine-tuned experiment for marketers to study as they seek to understand consumer behavior at all stages.

Data as Currency: The Future of Marketing?

Most millennials hand over their data for the use of free services, like social media platforms, without giving the implications of that trade a conscious thought. Privacy settings, while present, aren’t really top of mind for many navigating online. For businesses, data monetization is somewhat lacking because they’re not getting an abundance of conscious engagement from users.

At the Mobile World Congress in March of this year, Telefonica presented an idea to get the most out of this data-for-service transaction, ultimately finding advertiser value in the process and bringing the implications of data usage/sharing top-of-mind. The idea capitalizes on the fact that most in Gen Z are very conscious of not going over their data caps, probably because they know they’ll hear about it from those footing the bill. So, what if advertisers offered bonus data to young consumers just for spending a little more time with their brand, like researching a product further or watching a video? Or perhaps companies were to reward Gen Z web surfers by providing “data free” zones in places where data is typically used in high instances (like airports, for example). This strategy would benefit advertisers by building brand awareness and customer loyalty, potentially turning into sales down the line.

The idea is still in the early stages and not yet implemented, of course, but its core message is certainly worth examining: Finding ways to capture and capitalize on Gen Z’s need for data could change the way marketers approach the next generation.

The way children learn, play and interact with the world has changed. Marketers have an excellent opportunity to embrace this drive in data and make it work for their brands. As technology continues to evolve, and those in Gen Z continue to quickly mature—trust me, I have two of them—all I can say is it’s an exciting time to be a marketer, especially one fixated on Millennials and big data. It will be fascinating to watch, follow, and learn from these digital youngsters.

Additional Resources on this Subject:

What Is Generation Z, And What Does It Want?
Everything You Need to Know About Generation Z
Generation X: Digital Parenting – The First Hi-Tech Parents

This post was originally seen on Ricoh blog.

photo credit: Z: The open source generation via photopin (license)

Daniel Newman is the Principal Analyst of Futurum Research and the CEO of Broadsuite Media Group. Living his life at the intersection of people and technology, Daniel works with the world’s largest technology brands exploring Digital Transformation and how it is influencing the enterprise. From Big Data to IoT to Cloud Computing, Newman makes the connections between business, people and tech that are required for companies to benefit most from their technology projects, which leads to his ideas regularly being cited in CIO.Com, CIO Review and hundreds of other sites across the world. A 5x Best Selling Author including his most recent “Building Dragons: Digital Transformation in the Experience Economy,” Daniel is also a Forbes, Entrepreneur and Huffington Post Contributor. MBA and Graduate Adjunct Professor, Daniel Newman is a Chicago Native and his speaking takes him around the world each year as he shares his vision of the role technology will play in our future.

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