Millennials have been the obsession of marketers for the past decade. They have been metaphorically poked, prodded, dissected, defined and redefined to the point of cliche.
It's that time of year when NCAA March Madness takes over much of TV airwaves and the cultural conversation. Generally, marketers and advertisers gear their campaigns around the tournament to older fans-those who are of drinking age (for obvious reasons) and those who are in college or have an alma mater to cheer for. However, they are missing a key opportunity with teens who get immersed in the event.
It's one of childhood's fondest memories: hanging out with friends after school or on weekends. Whether it was going over to your friend's house, inviting them to yours, or going to a "third place" like a mall, movie theater, pizza parlor or arcade, the hanging out was always in person. You could walk over to your friend's house, ride a bike or skateboard, get a ride from an older sibling, or ask for a ride from your parents or your friend's parents.
In early December, a scathing op-ed about the soon-to-be President made huge waves throughout the media ecosystem. The essay went viral and earned kudos from journalism's elite for its bold stance and courageous call to action. It also received some raised eyebrows, because the source wasn't "The Washington Post" or "The New York Times." It was "Teen Vogue."
To continue the historic march of progress, President Trump yesterday rolled back President Obama's guidelines regarding transgender students' rights to use the school restrooms corresponding to their gender identity. However one may feel about this particular development, the gender genie is not going back into the bottle and a growing number of brands and media companies seem to have gotten the memo.
Teenage Gen Zs are forming romantic relationships in a post-apocalyptic world, and they're learning from the mistakes that Millennials have made before them. Much as with social media, Millennials are playing the role of guinea pig. Millennials adopted social media in their formative years, made plenty of mistakes, learned some lessons, and paved the way for Gen Zs who have adopted a wiser approach to crafting their digital personas.
So far, the year's top business story has been the long-awaited Snap Inc. IPO. The company plans to go public next month in a $3 billion offering which could give it a market cap of up to $25 billion. The IPO outlines how the company's signature Snapchat product boasts 158 million daily users, who consume over 10 billion videos each day. Snap Inc. grossed over $400 million in revenue last year and is aiming for $1 billion this year.
The newest insights on Generation Z aren't stemming from this demographic's status as digital natives, the ease with which they leap between apps and platforms, or their lightning-fast swiping talents. It's often overlooked that for all their techno-savviness, this generation - 25% of the U.S. population alone - is also navigating similar economic and global political questions as the ones faced by their great-grandparents. The high value they place on relationships, along with consumer savviness and a willingness to take on hard work are the results of the pressures they face, possibly putting their parents' generation to shame.
It's easy for those of us who remember life before mobile devices and a ubiquitous internet to stereotype teens as rabid, but not particularly mindful, content consumers. We may see them as narcissistic, with their constant selfie-taking and snap sending. What we probably don't see is that their mobile habits and constant usage make them the first generation of "MoJos," or mobile journalists, who will shape the future of reporting.
Last month I shared "The Ultimate 2017 Guide to Marketing to Teens." It offered six pointers for making 2017 a wonderful year. The tips were: tell lies, ignore facts, be offensive, make threats, look backwards and ignore experts. I will confess right now that I must have been under the influence of a powerful psychoactive substance when I wrote this. These tips are exactly NOT how to engage with teens (or anyone else).