Nearly one half of British businesses identify Generation Z as hardest group to engage

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Being less engaged and more adept at using ad-blocking technology were the top reasons Generation Z were found as difficult to market to, and close to three quarters of businesses admitted they were focusing their efforts on targeting this generation in the coming year.

The study was undertaken by the team at global affiliate network www.awin.com, in which more than 1,000 business owners and marketing teams from various sectors were polled on their opinions.

It was initially found that nearly nine in ten businesses (89%) alter their marketing strategy depending on the age group that they are targeting. Two thirds of the individuals questioned (61%) said that they find it easier to market to people from the same generation as them.

When asked which generation age group was the hardest to market to, ‘Generation Z’ came out on top, with 47% of businesses identifying them as the most difficult. Next was ‘Baby Boomers’, with 23%, and ‘Generation X’, with 16%. The majority of respondents (77%) said that they did not market to the ‘Silent Generation’ at all.

Businesses that identified Generation Z as the toughest to market to thought this was the case as ‘they are better at using ad-blocking technology’ (26%), ‘they have a shorter attention span than other generations’ (23%) and ‘they are less predictable’ (19%).

Brands were also asked which generation they find the easiest to market to, with Millennials emerging to be the most common response (36%), followed by ‘Generation X’ (30%) and ‘Baby Boomers’ (19%).

The top reasons given for why Millennials are the most straightforward to market to were found to be ‘they are easier to reach online’ (22%), ‘they are more engaged’ (18%) and ‘they are more predictable’ (16%).

Businesses in the telecoms sector found it the hardest to market to Generation Z, with 61% of respondents from this group admitting to this, whilst those in the beauty sector actually found it easiest to market to Generation Z (53%).

Questioned on the social media channels used effectively to reach each demographic, it was found that Facebook was the most popular for both Baby Boomers (61%) and Generation X (55%), whilst Instagram was most effective for Millennials (73%) and Generation Z (86%), with Facebook the least effective for both of these, just 54% and 53% respectively.

In terms of their future efforts, nearly three quarters of businesses (71%) said that they were intending to put more budget behind marketing to Generation Z over the next year, with ‘they are becoming the largest market’ (56%) given as the main reason for this.

Asked how they were planning on marketing to this generation, the top answers came back as ‘commit to a social cause’ (22%), ‘increase use of influencers’ (20%) and ‘be more transparent’ (15%).

Commenting on the findings of the study, Ian Charlesworth, UK country manager at www.awin.com, said: “Generation Z as a group not only represent a more unchartered territory for marketers, they also epitomise a group that’s more aware that they are being targeted to, and therefore less receptive of brands’ attempts to reach them. All of this means marketers have to think creatively and seek advice from companies like Awin in order to successfully reach younger audiences.

“Brands are all too aware that Generation Z will soon make up the biggest target group, so it makes logical sense that marketers are turning their attention to and investing more money into this valuable group of decision makers. Inevitably all generations are going to consume media campaigns differently, and that is why it’s so important to consider all avenues when it comes to generational targeting.”