The Way to Gen Z’s Heart is Through Their Ears

This post is authored by our SVP of Strategic Solutions at Pandora, Heidi Browning.

It seems like just when we got the swing of marketing to the mobile, multitasking millennial, Gen Z comes along and takes multitasking and multisensory experiences to a whole new level. There’s no doubt: Gen Z is connected, informed and ready to take on the world. Rewriting the rules of engagement around communication, entertainment and commerce, they are the world’s first digital-native, smartphone-native generation.

At Pandora, we wanted to immerse ourselves in the Gen Z psyche to better understand how they relate to the world, what media platforms they can’t get enough of, and how those behaviors impact their musical tastes and preferences. We conducted a proprietary Gen Z listener research study, surveying around 2,000 Pandora teens between the ages of 13-17 years-old. The results were enlightening.

Gen Z Connects Through Music

With 98% smartphone penetration among Gen Z’s, it’s not just a favorite accessory, it’s an appendage. Because of this, we have entered into an “earbud era”. In fact, our research shows that two-thirds of Pandora teens are plugged into earbuds an average of 3.5 hours a day. But what’s happening between those earbuds? Music. A lot of music.
I like to say teens filter through content at the speed of light, but music can make them slow to the speed of sound. Despite the rise and fall of existing and emerging social channels, messaging apps and augmented reality games, music remains an essential medium teens hold on to. In fact, 3 out of 4 teens say music is their top choice of entertainment, and 89% of 13-33 year olds say music is the most important part of their lives1.

It’s safe to say that music plays an important role for every generation, but we should expect teens to embrace it in a way entirely their own—one inspired by digital and more ever-present than ever.

How to Win with Today’s Teens

The secret of marketing to a youth generation is—and always has been—deciphering how and where they spend time. So, where are teens spending their time? They’re on mobile device with their earbuds in.

I recently presented key findings from our study at the Youth Marketing Strategy conference, and the SM2 conference—which you can see in the SlideShare below.

[slideshare id=66438794&doc=genz-slideshare-160926193916]

Marketers that prioritize a music strategy—not just a digital marketing strategy—will win with Gen Z’s in the next 12 months and beyond. Here are three tips to get you started:

ATTENTION: Get back to basics. Keep it simple, authentic, and natural. Reach teens in places where they spend most of their time (and by the way…it’s on mobile and with music).

EMOTION: It’s not enough to have an authentic core. Today, brands need to relate to the right topics and consciously create avenues for Teens to have that emotional connection. Showing them that #YouGetMe will create a special value exchange that builds loyalty with them overtime.

ACTION: Deliver on Gen Z’s constantly evolving needs. Understand what drives them and repeatedly provide them with unique products, services and experiences they can’t imagine living without.

Understanding how Gen Z consumes media, and the role music plays in their lives, will be the most important step towards mastering marketing to this generation.

Download our full Gen Z report to learn more.

To download:

click here

Source: Ypulse Survey Topline Report: 7-15-16: Entertainment Brand and Spending Tracker, Music Behavior and Taste