Digital marketing has evolved greatly over the years. It may have started with simply making a website for your business, and has grown to include managing social media accounts and running online advertising campaigns. Now, as more platforms and outlets for content creation emerge, who is ready to take digital marketing to the next level?
It’s important to see where the current state of digital marketing falls short as well as where it succeeds. Even though digital marketing moved from just exposing the entire market to a flurry of ads to targeting specific demographics and curating material to fit them, it’s still very much based on hard data and producing good numbers. This stayed even when social media became a mainstay in the digital space and introduced the “people” aspect back to marketers. It’s still about who can get the most clicks, who can get more views, and ultimately, who can make the most sales.
As the digital space moves towards more collaborative content creation, we’re already seeing how digital marketing adapts. Platforms like YouTube, TikTok, Instagram Stories, and even streaming services like Twitch have changed the way people consume and create media. By looking at the way Gen Z uses social media and the online space, we can learn more about how to market to them as well as how they market to others.
In the past, many users of social media and content creators simply posted things that they liked or enjoyed, regardless of how their audience felt. Gen Z is much more adept at creating content that engages their viewers and sparks conversation while also expressing their identity and beliefs. It’s this combination that makes them such good digital marketers. They know how to make shareable content that people not only like to see but imitate as well. This natural sense for virality is different from how older generations create content, which is to just express themselves or report what’s going on at the moment.
Gen Z consumers don’t align themselves with brands that make them look bad. Brands become an extension of their online identity, therefore brands have to create content that jives with their morals and values. There now has to be a trusting relationship between brand, marketer, or influencer and consumer for campaigns and marketing efforts to work. Because of clamour from Generation Z, more businesses feel the urge to be genuine in their social media posts and make a stand with political and social issues.
We can see from old marketing campaigns and advertisements that brands and products dictated the culture for which the consumers aspired. But now, it’s the other way around. Brands who don’t keep up with the culture of the younger generation are cancelled or boycotted. As digital marketers, Generation Z-ers are hyperaware of and can quickly adapt to the trends that take up space online.
As digital marketers, Generation Z cares a lot about inclusivity and diversity. Gone are the days where tone-deaf ads and stereotypical campaigns are promoted and considered the norm. The younger generation is very vocal about their values particularly online. They consider their online platforms to be the best place to voice their opinions and educate others about current events and issues. The calls for more representation and inclusivity in any industry can be found online by millennials and Generation Z-ers. This is a practice that will definitely carry on into digital marketing. Gen Z-ers will want more people of all races, of various backgrounds, of different gender identities, and all sizes to take up space and be seen so as to effectively reach all demographics. Catering only to a specific group of people, particularly the white majority, is no longer a priority for Gen Z. This can bring new challenges to digital marketing, but it will also make it more representative of what society actually is.
As Gen Z gets older (and they’re already older than we think, with the older Gen Z-ers being 24 this year), they will naturally fill spaces in digital marketing. Will they be the best? No one knows for sure, but we certainly hope they will be better than the past generations.
Want to learn more about digital marketing? At Q College, you can gain all the tools necessary to jumpstart your digital marketing career. Explore course programs by clicking here.