By Lisa Hester, Senior Account Manager

After years of trying to perfect its pitch to the Millennial generation, brand managers are now realizing that a new wave is forming in the sea of marketing. That wave – a near tidal wave – is Generation Z.

Generation Z_ A New Age In MarketingGeneration Z is defined as people born from 1995 to 2010. According to Forbes magazine, this group comprises 25% of the U.S. population, making it larger than the Baby Boomers or Millennials. The oldest are about 22 and are just entering the workforce.

Why turn the focus to Generation Z now? Easy, by 2020, Gen Z will account for 40 percent of all consumers, according to statistics compiled by Fast Company.

Further, Gen Z spends $44 billion a year, and influences an additional $600 billion in household spending, according to research firm Mintel.

The keen brand manager is simply following the pocketbook.

That means going digital is an understatement. After all, Gen Z has been living in a world of smartphones and free Wi-Fi for as long as they can remember. Ninety-two percent of them have some sort of digital footprint. It is how they communicate…and how they do business.

To be socially accessible is an absolute must. That means appealing to them through the use of videos, photo posts and storytelling via a variety of social platforms. And user comments/user reviews…Gen Z’ers like them. The more comments, the better. It’s how, according to Forbes, they get affirmation for many goods and services they are considering purchasing, following and devoting their loyalty to.

But a word to the wise. Gen Z is all about “me”. They don’t want a silly sales pitch, they want, instead, to know how your specific good or service will make them better. And this research-savvy generation will check you out thoroughly, so keep the messaging straight-forward and honest.

More than that, dazzle them. Make it a point to keep the attention of this short-attention-span generation. If they are bored with you, they will very quickly move on.

And remember, as with Millennials, Gen Z is very interested in brands that give back, that support a cause. Make sure your brand is well aligned with a cause and keep that relationship front and center.

Finally, while there seems to have emerged some generalizations about Gen Z, every member of a generation is an individual and will, therefore, have his or her own unique characteristics. But hopefully these generalizations will provide a guide to your success in marketing to them.