The iGeneration. The generation of 250-character tweets, six-second TikToks, and fifteen-second Instagram stories. Generation Z has an estimated attention span of just eight seconds, but that doesn’t mean they don’t pay attention. According to Dr. Eliza Filby, “It means that Gen Z are fast processors of information, adept at sifting through what is relevant and what appeals.” How can marketers get Gen Z to decide that their books are worth picking up? Below are three ways to reach Generation Z.
Generation Z has grown up with technology. They’ve never known a world without the Internet, cell phones, and social media. Because of this, they know how to distinguish between real and fake marketing. Authentic interactions between consumers and brands are key. Generation Z wants to know that your book is going to create a real connection with them.
Another point on authenticity: Don’t just focus your efforts on ebooks and online material. Library Journal found that 66.3 percent of individuals in Gen Z prefer reading physical copies of books over ebooks or audiobooks. Just because they are known for being glued to their phones doesn’t mean they don’t want a break from all the noise. Being able to disconnect and have an authentic experience with a physical book is important to them. Dr. Filby believes that books are “a retro product with status and authenticity which counters the on-demand digital world they inhabit.” Marketers would be smart to jump on this trend.
Generation Z is the most racially and ethnically diverse generation yet, according to a Pew Research Center report. This is shown through the way they value inclusivity and equality. They unite behind sexual orientation, gender, and racial equality. Unlike Millennials, they did not grow up with Harry Potter, although many in this generation are still as enthusiastic about it as Millennials are. Instead, they grew up with The Hunger Games and Percy Jackson. The worlds they read about as children spread messages of diversity and courage to stand up for what they believe is right. This has translated into their personal and social lives. Standing behind movements that make a difference is an important marketing strategy—but remember, it has to be authentic. They will know if you are just doing it for show. Look into publishing books with varied characters from all different backgrounds, not just from the dominant paradigm. Representation is an important aspect of their lives because each person in their network of friends and family are unique, and they want to see stories that reflect their real lives.
Word of mouth is one of the most effective ways to market a product, and this kind of marketing doesn’t have to be face-to-face. Social media is how Generation Z connects with friends and family. Social media also gives marketers a chance to show them new books that they may enjoy. However, the key here is to get your book into the hands of someone they trust. Influencer marketing is a great way to start. It’s a lot harder for brands to relate to a Gen Z-er than for an actual person to relate. Relatability is important because it builds trust. However, being relatable means something different for everyone, especially in the diverse world of Gen Z. Read more about what Generation Z is reading in this article from Book Riot.
Many have criticized younger generations for their inability to step away from their phones and step into “real life.” But this generation’s technological savvy gives them the ability to filter through information quickly to find what is most relevant, and their network of friends reaches across the world because of social media. Underestimating them or treating them like Millennials would be a mistake for marketers. Generation Z is looking for real connections in a world full of inauthenticity. Books have the ability to provide that. Books offer a tangible experience and allow their readers to escape from the screen, at least for a little while.