Friday, April 15, 2016

New kids on the block

The new set of consumers is going to be very different from the old set that we as marketers have been used to; and hence reaching out to them is going to be different too. Look around you and you will see a generation that’s growing up in households with no landlines as everybody in the family and outside (even the vegetable vendor) has a mobile. This generation is growing up in schools where most projects and assignments are typed, so they don’t write much with pen and paper. This generation is growing up in a world where ‘instant’ is the buzzword – from food, to movies, to shopping –they want it instantly and they are actually getting it instantly too. This generation values its Internet connections more than anything else. It’s a whole new world, a whole new culture that is emerging.
This generation is going to impact the world in a way no other generation has impacted; and it’s going to influence other people of other generations too.
So it’s imperative that we as marketers understand them well and keep a close eye on them as our survival depends a lot on them.
It wants to do a lot and does not like to be tied down with useless commitments and useless baggage – like EMIs, like annual maintenance contracts etc. Basically, they want to live with no strings attached.
This is a generation that has grown up in an era of huge economic turmoil; they have seen their parents struggle with jobs, money, recession… they are thus very cost-sensitive. Add to this the fact that they are very aware of what is happening around them, as they are constantly connected with each other. They are also huge consumers of media, so they are a very smart generation to deal with. Gen Z is not just very aware, it’s socially conscious too; it’s environmentally conscious too; and it’s going to change the way the world works!
Let’s take a look at how things will change in the future.
We all know the three ‘R’s’ – reuse, recycle, and reduce (if you are from the old school, the 3Rs used to be reading, writing, arithmetic).Well, this is so last generation. The new ‘R’ is Rent! Gen Z takes less pride in ownership, especially when there are better options. Ownership is not just expensive, but can slow you down. So, while the Millennials (generation Y) loved the concept of renting designer-wear, which made startups like ‘Rent the Runway’, ‘Bag, Borrow, Steal’ etc gain huge popularity, the new Gen Z has taken renting to a different level. They want to rent and rent-out everything and anything you can think of.
Why buy a music album when you can stream it instantly? So they prefer to spend on a pro-membership of the site Spotify than buy music!
Why buy a car when you can hire the latest one from Uber?
Why buy a house and spend all your savings when at $200, you can log on to Airbnb and hire a castle somewhere in France!
SnapGoods shows you how to make money by giving your stuff on rent. It allows you to rent high-end items like cameras, musical instruments and the likes. If you have some expensive items, then you can put them on hire too.
Why hire a kennel when you can hire a home to take care of your dog when you are out on a vacation? DogVacay is a site that lets you do just that – it connects you to a home that’s ready to take care of your pet.
Sitting free and want to rent out your free time? TaskRabbit lets you do just that. You could bid to do tasks, ranging from delivery to office-help, and people looking for such services can send you a request and hire you.
Saw a swanky car in your neighbourhood and want to take it for a spin?
Getaround helps you do just that. If you have a great car and will not be using it for some time – maybe you are going on a holiday, or are unwell, or whatever – you could put it up for hire on Getaround and earn some cool bucks. Considering that Getaround had an insurance cover of $1 million from Berkshire Hathaway could help you in putting those gorgeous wheels on hire with a little more peace of mind.
Got spare cash? Put it to good use with the Lending Club, a peer-to-peer network where one can borrow hard cash. It gives you better interest rates than your traditional savings accounts. So why let your money waste in a bank when it can make more money for you at the Lending Club.
Sharing is the way to go. According to The Wall Street Journal, digital music sales on iTunes have declined, and so have the sales of books on Amazon. What it means is that ownership of any form – digital or physical – is on the decline, and new business models need to be put in place quickly. So Apple’s Tunes Radio now streams music. It’s got Beats too into its fold to make streaming even better. Amazon now gives books on rent.
Warby Parker, the iconic online sunglasses and reading glasses’ retailer, has a leasing program where you could change your sunglasses every season. If renting is the new success mantra, then Warby has shown how to do it. Why buy an outlet when you can rent one, or even create one? Buying a shop or retail space is very expensive. So Warby Parker started selling glasses online and – thanks to all the saving – it could sell them at a very low cost. If there were some fussy customers who still wanted to try on their glasses before buying them, Warby Parker found an interesting way to reach them – through ‘pop-up stores’. They hired a school bus and changed the interiors and called it the Warby Parker class-trip. The bus went to the customer when he refused to come to them.
Just one day before the NY Fashion Week, Warby Parker went to the New York public library (the library had no idea what was going to happen) and at a designated time, 30 models – each one carrying bright blue books – entered the library, sat down, opened their books, and started reading – of course, wearing the latest collection of glasses from Warby Parker. Forty editors, who were supposed to cover the New York Fashion Week the next day, had been invited earlier. They went crazy when they saw this and could not stop clicking pictures. Security at the library too went crazy but could not do much as everybody was just sitting and reading.
The new generation has its own rules and you need to bend your rules to suit them, for this new generation of digital nomads will have it no other way. They love their digital gadgets and it’s through these that you can reach them, however you need to connect with them in the way they like – and not many of them like to buy, they like to rent!
They are totally prepared, totally aware, totally connected – much more than any other generation, they want to make a difference; they know that they can make a difference and they are quickly changing the world – and rewriting the rules.


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