Connecting with Generation Z

Jul 15, 2019

Recently we shared with you some thoughts on Generation Z and its Potential Impacts on the Energy Industry. In that blog, we briefly mentioned how the energy industry will need to tell authentic stories, be relevant and engaging, and reach Gen Zers fast. We also touched on the idea that Generation Z’s focus on truth and ethics will undoubtedly change the landscape of marketing and customer experience in many industries, including ours. 

Marketing to Generation Z is different than marketing to other generations, including millennials. Although both Millennials and Gen Zers are very technologically savvy, they are also very different. Generation Z has grown up with mobile devices and was never tethered to physical locations to interact with the digital world. They do not know what it is like to not have access to the Internet, whenever or wherever they want.

So...what can the energy industry do to connect with Generation Z? 

1. Reach them fast.

This might sound like a no-brainer, but it is a very important one that can not be emphasized enough. This generation is a mobile one. So if you don’t have a mobile responsive website or aren’t sending mobile responsive emails (causing the user to pinch and scroll to view your content)...bam! You’ve lost them. Instantly. 

Everything you communicate needs to be mobile friendly; and on every channel from websites to emails, mobile apps to social media, and chats and texts as well. In their 2019 Utility Digital Experience Study, JD Power found that “utilities continue to struggle to get digital right.”1 There has been improvement, but digital marketing is now unavoidable. Not only do you need to prioritize creating digital experiences, your messages need to be brief and to the point. This generation is hooked on an eight second ride.2 Yup. Eight seconds. That  is all the time you have to get Gen Zers to click on your blog post, watch your video, or like your post.

2. Reach them where they are.

Understanding your audience and their preferences for consuming information is important. Ensure that you are devoting resources to identify where Generation Z spends their time. The industry needs to evolve to embrace social media and other digital marketing channels. Gen Zers spend more time on their smartphones browsing social media than they do watching television.

You can improve both their experience and the perception of your brand by delivering an exceptional customer experience, and being both visible and engaged on a platform that they find relatable. If you don’t have a Facebook presence, that might be ok. Only a small percentage of Gen Zers use Facebook. They are more apt to turn to platforms such as YouTube, Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest, and others. According to Jon Sundberg, Senior Digital Manager at J.D. Power, “Utilities that remain digital laggards are passing up a prime opportunity to make their operations more efficient and to reduce costs. Customers will choose the option that resolves their problems quickly, which in many cases will be via an online site or an app.”

3. Reach out to their values

Knowing your audience and what they care about helps you determine the content, tone, and voice for the messages you want to share with them. Fifty-five percent of Gen Zers make it a priority to choose brands that are eco-friendly and socially responsible.3 Because of this, as an industry it is important that we continue to talk about what we do that is good for the environment, about how we are improving the industry, the problems we are solving, and what we hope for the future.

They are go-getters, activists, and big dreamers. When appropriate, include uplifting and positive messages in your marketing. Talk about what the energy industry can do to help make the world a better place (what can be gained, not what is lost). This is the generation that wants to change the world. They are not only our customers, but also our future employees.

Going forward, the energy industry will need to take careful consideration of Generation Z. By 2020, they will account for 40% of all consumers.4 Gen Zers grew up with digital content and can research anything to their hearts’ content. They are also able to filter out information that is not relevant to them, and are driven by their values. Sixty-eight percent identify that doing their part to make the world a better place is important to them. This is great news for our industry and energy efficiency. It’s time to take note of this influential generation and start preparing your marketing strategies. 

 

Sources

1 JD Power
2 Ad Week
3 AMA Toronto Blog
4 Geo Marketing