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Op-Ed: Time’s Up Millennials

Op-Ed by Anthony O'Brien, Senior Account Executive at Yellow Machine

A new generation is rising to the top, meaning the time of the Millennial is coming to a close. Basically what this means is, if you didn’t get an iPhone for your holy communion then you’re not cool anymore.

“Millennial” has to be one of the buzziest buzzwords of the buzzword generation, marketers everywhere throw it around to define the cool factor for a brand. If your product / service appeals to Millennials then it must be fresh, current and aspirational. However this is coming to a rapid end.

Enter, Generation Z. These are the latest grads coming for your job! Well, perhaps that’s a bit dramatic, but they are coming and they are full to the brim of techy know-how that is so ingrained in them that we quite simply cannot compete.

As Millennials we adapted to technology and embraced it as the exciting new thing. For Gen Z technology isn’t something exciting that came along one day, it has always been part of their lives. For communication professionals, this is already apparent with the amount of younger customers that can be reached through online channels and social media.

What defines Generation Z? Well according to New York Times, if in 2016 you’re 20-35 years old, you’re a Millennial, anything under 20 and you fall in to the Gen Z category. As Millennials, especially in Ireland, where most of us were born in to the glow of the Celtic Tiger and then experienced the shocking fall in to an incredibly deep recession, ours is a story of dashed dreams and shattered realities. However, Gen Z kids were born in to that recession, as a result cultural demographers expect them to be more cautious, more hard working and extremely resourceful.

Irish Millennials have experienced life before and after the recession, which means we had to adapt to changing financial situations, an unforgiving job market and extremely altered expectations. Perhaps we don’t know how to snapchat from a drone with a go-pro strapped to our heads while we live stream the entire endeavour but we do know how to pull up our socks and work very hard when the situation calls for it.

What we can expect from our future colleagues is that they will be more tech savvy than we are, simply by nature, they will also be more cautious when it comes to their digital footprint. They’ve seen Millennials make mistakes online and ultimately damage their personal brands (insert dodgy Bebo profile picture) and Gen Z won’t make the same mistakes.

From a marketing / PR perspective, we’ll be seeing media consumption rapidly increase. Why? Because most Gen Z kids won’t pick up a newspaper or turn on the radio when they can watch a snapchat update that condenses the news to a ten second video for their convenience. News is already consumed so quickly through Twitter etc. and it’s only going to get faster.

As marketers we need to adapt our strategies and look at how to connect with people who have never lived in a world without smartphones. Shrewd professionals are already employing fresh tactics to achieve this, leaving no app or network untapped. Maintaining a brand presence across so many relevant platforms is no mean feat, but it is essential to achieve success.

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