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Tips for Connecting with a Growing Group of Gen Z Consumers

Article - 4 Min. Read

The next generation of consumers has arrived. See how to reach and resonate with Generation Z using the proven power of mail.

Gen Z—we’re still getting to know them. But what you think you know about this up-and-coming group, born after 1996 and now in their teens and twenties, may turn out to surprise you.

It’s true that Generation Z has literally grown up on social media, naturally incorporating digital communication into almost every facet of their lives. The generation after millennials is highly creative and socially conscious. And Gen Z is quickly becoming the most diverse, well-educated U.S. consumer population.

Did you know Gen Z is also estimated to have a global purchasing power of more than $140 billion[1] and will soon be the largest consumer market?[2]

Who is Gen Z?

  • 20% of the U.S. population[3]
  • The oldest are turning age 24 in 2021[4]
  • Are more acutely aware of world events[5]
  • Are serious about environmental responsibility[6]
  • Choose brands with positive purpose[7]

While many marketers are focusing their efforts on millennials, Gen Zers are coming of age, entering the workforce and growing their buying power by the minute. Understanding Gen Z values and behaviors will not only help you connect with them in the best way, it might also lead your business to succeed where you didn’t expect with this group: direct mail.

Understanding Gen Z Communication Style

Those in Generation Z are certainly digital natives who have never known a world without the internet and smartphones. In one survey, 95% of 13- to 17-year-olds reported having access to a smartphone, with almost half saying they are online “almost constantly.”[8] So you’d think online is the only way to reach them, right?

Interestingly, mail really resonates with Gen Z. Whether because of texting fatigue or the overall barrage of digital content throughout the day, this group craves the tangible, personal connection that mail brings. Receiving unique and meaningful packaging also engages their creative side, and more than any generation before it, Gen Z thrives on creative communication.

More Gen Zers said that receiving cards, letters and packages makes them feel happier than receiving video calls, emails or texts.[9]

Gen Z is more familiar with mail than you might think, having often checked and sorted through the mail with their parents, looking for packages, cards and catalogs.[10] To them, mail creates an emotional connection, and they see it as a way to make a recipient feel more special than with digital communication. This can be used to your advantage.

How to Effectively Engage Gen Z with Mail

Gen Z enjoys the more intimate aspect of mail, but here’s the challenge. They have about an eight-second attention span (even less than a millennial’s 12 seconds).[11] Gen Zers are also incredibly savvy—all likely a product of their digital upbringing. Marketing mail must be relevant, innovative and authentic. Here are some ideas for how to stand out.

Lead with Creativity

With so many digital technologies at their fingertips, this generation sees and experiences the world like no other before it. They are inherently creative and think more visually. Direct mail can captivate by engaging this creative spirit.

  • Good design matters. Be bold and simple. Keep text brief and to the point.
  • Delight with unique formats and creative enhancements. Texture, scent or augmented reality can make mail more of an experience.

Make Your Mail Personal

Gen Z is inundated with content on a daily basis. To resonate with this audience, your mailpiece should be not only beautiful, but meaningful.

  • Target wisely and use personalization. Consumers are more likely to read direct mail from a business they have interacted with or that includes offers relevant to their lifestyle.
  • Gen Z wants to see reviews of your product from real people who are like them.

Take an Omnichannel Approach

Gen Z is online almost all day. They are also hands-on with the mail. Stay top of mind by utilizing both. Consider these digital innovations for direct mail.

  • Informed Delivery® email notifications give users access to digital content that complements your mailpiece.
  • The Informed Visibility® feature helps coordinate print and digital touchpoints to enable timely, highly relevant campaigns.
  • Retargeted direct mail allows you to automatically send out mail to users who have taken specific actions on your digital channels.

Keep Online Buying in Mind

Gen Zers are more than twice as likely as millennials to shop on their mobile devices.[12] Give them a quick, easy option to access your product online right from your mailpiece.

  • Utilize QR Codes®[13]
  • Include shortened or personalized URLs

Key Takeaway

The young Generation Z is growing up and growing their buying power. This presents a tremendous opportunity for brands, especially those who understand the nuances of this age group.

Being immersed in digital their entire lives is leading Gen Z to value more personal connections outside of the digital world, which gives mail a powerful advantage. Unlike other forms of communication, it is a tangible medium they can hold and experience.

Your marketing mail to Gen Z simply has to be smart. Make it relevant, utilize creativity and integrate with digital to connect with and convert a new generation of consumer.

  1. [1]Dominic-Madori Davis, “Gen Zers have a spending power of over $140 billion, and it’s driving the frenzy of retailers and brands trying to win their dollars,” Business Insider, Jan. 28, 2020.
  2. [2]Summer Gould, “5 Direct Mail Considerations for Generation Z,” BrandUnited.
  3. [3]U.S. population share by generation,” Statista Research, Jan. 20, 2021.
  4. [4]Kim Parker and Ruth Igielnik, “On the Cusp of Adulthood and Facing an Uncertain Future: What We Know About Gen Z So Far,” Pew Research Center, May 14, 2020.
  5. [5]“Into Z Future: Understanding Generation Z, the Next Generation of Super Creatives,” Wunderman Thompson Intelligence in partnership with Snap Inc., June 2019.
  6. [6]Alec Tyson, Brian Kennedy and Cary Funk, “Gen Z, Millennials Stand Out for Climate Change Activism, Social Media Engagement With Issue” Pew Research Center, May 26, 2021.
  7. [7]10 Vital Strategies to Use When Marketing to Generation Z,” Oberlo, Nov. 3, 2020.
  8. [8]Kim Parker and Ruth Igielnik, “On the Cusp of Adulthood and Facing an Uncertain Future: What We Know About Gen Z So Far,” Pew Research Center, May 14, 2020.
  9. [9]“Generation Z and the Mail,” Office of Inspector General, USPS, Sept. 21, 2020.
  10. [10]Ibid.
  11. [11]10 Vital Strategies to Use When Marketing to Generation Z,” Oberlo, Nov. 3, 2020.
  12. [12]Generation Z stats: How marketers can reach the up-and-coming buyer,” The Future of Customer Engagement and Experience, Feb. 7, 2020.
  13. [13]QR Code is a registered trademark of Denso Wave Inc.

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