Generation Z has not only joined the workforce, but they’re influencing B2B Buying. How should B2B marketers that target a niche adapt?
Generation Z has not only entered the B2B workforce but is also shaping the landscape of B2B buying. It is essential that B2B marketers targeting niche markets, understand and adapt to the preferences and behaviours of this new generation. They’re here, and they’re making decisions that affect your marketing success.
This article explores the habits and characteristics of Generation Z, the impact on B2B marketing strategies for those targeting a niche, and key recommendations for effectively engaging this generation while considering the broader audience of past generations.
Generation Z, also known as Gen Z or Zoomers, are a demographic cohort that follows the Millennial generation. Born roughly between the mid-1990s and the early 2010s, Generation Z is characterised by their digital nativism, having grown up with smartphones, social media platforms, and instant access to vast amounts of information. This tech-savvy generation is highly adaptable to new technologies and platforms and has a strong preference for digital communication and online interactions. They have different media preferences to past generations, using social media to follow influencers in peer groups, and gather their news. Paradoxically, they’re more connected than ever before but also more insular in who they trust and they’re using traditional media less.
Generation Z is recognised for its diverse and inclusive mindset, valuing social justice, equality, and diversity in all aspects of life. They are more likely to embrace and champion causes related to climate change, equality, mental health awareness, and other pressing social issues. This generation seeks authenticity, transparency, and purpose-driven initiatives from brands and organizations.
Education and career-wise, Generation Z is characterised by their pragmatism and ambition. They tend to be financially cautious and practical, seeking stable career opportunities and entrepreneurial endeavours. With a keen eye for personal growth and development, they value continuous learning, skill-building, and career flexibility. As the first generation to come of age in the post-9/11 era and witness major geopolitical shifts, economic challenges, and technological disruptions, Generation Z’s worldview has been significantly influenced by these experiences. They often display resilience, adaptability, and a desire for meaningful impact and change.
Some patterns have emerged:
Self-service research and seamless eCommerce
eCommerce has emerged as a strong preference, with this generation expecting seamless technology integration and user experiences. Forbes research indicates that 93% of Generation Z individuals are comfortable making digital payments through services like PayPal, and credit card usage is at a record high. When researching and transacting, they tend to prefer minimal human contact.
B2C is setting expectations for B2B to follow:
The Drum reports that 80% of B2B buyers are adopting B2C habits, showing a growing reliance on video and episodic content such as podcasts and discussions. Being part of a community holds importance for Generation Z, even if they mostly observe rather than actively participate.
Purpose and Environmental Credentials is important in building brand preference:
Generation Z recognizes the significance of a company’s purpose and environmental credentials when making purchasing decisions. Corporate storytelling has become increasingly important. Brands like Google have emphasized their stances on purposes, sustainability, and identity politics.
Addressing Green Issues and Inclusivity:
Generation Z is particularly passionate about green issues, inclusivity, and diversity. They can identify insincere attempts at leveraging these values and are wary of greenwashing. Brands should carefully choose their photography to showcase products in use by customers, rather than isolating the product itself.
Engaging Generation Z as Influencers:
While Generation Z may not always be the final decision-makers, they often influence purchasing decisions. B2B marketers must produce informative and inspiring content, primarily through video, to engage and equip Generation Z with the necessary information to influence decision-makers within the buying unit.
Balancing Different Generations:
B2B organizations, such as Cisco, Salesforce.com, Microsoft, and Intel, have embraced storytelling, highlighting their purpose and ESG credentials across various social media platforms. Striking a balance between appealing to Generation Z and respecting previous generations is a challenge. Digital experiences, such as chatbots and podcasts, have become common investments to cater to diverse audiences.
Your B2B marketing activity will need to adapt based on market reaction more in the future:
Testing the waters and being responsive to audience feedback is essential, as the days of traditional broadcast techniques are gradually fading. Duolingo exemplifies the benefits of listening to the market and employing a responsive approach, using characters, storytelling, and gamification techniques to engage users.
1. Respect the influential role Generation Z plays in the workplace and decision-making. They are here and so should you be.
2. Acknowledge the differences between generations and tailor communication accordingly. No longer continue to talk to the “older” generations only.
3. Build compelling storytelling around the organisation’s purpose and values.
4. Consider your channels to go beyond traditional methods to accommodate their preferences. Make sure your marketing production considers how it will be seen for example portrait-optimised video, and appropriate sub-titles.
5. Embrace a culture of listening and learning, experimenting with new trends and strategies where it is aligned to your brand positioning.
6. Strive to engage both Generation Z and previous generations by delivering authentic communication.
As Generation Z continues to shape B2B buying, it is crucial for marketers to adapt their strategies to meet their preferences while also considering the broader audience. By understanding Generation Z’s habits, values, and preferences, B2B marketers targeting niche markets can effectively engage this generation and build meaningful connections that drive business success.
We know that B2B marketing to a niche audience is challenging and the go-to tactics implemented and recommended by bigger B2C or non-niche brands often aren’t geared up for success in B2B niche markets. We work only with B2Bs targeting a niche and regularly share our observations and recommendations. Browse our list below for some other blogs you may find helpful if you liked this one: