How To Better Connect With Generation Z Consumers

How To Better Connect With Generation Z Consumers
Marko Stavrou.

Marko Stavrou, better known as The Gen Z Guy and CEO of Stavrou Consulting, may be young, but he is already one of Africa’s leading Generation Z strategists and next-generation business leaders. The Nedbank IMC’s youngest speaker will share his teachings and tips for understanding the world’s largest growing target market. Modern Marketing is a proud media partner of the event. 

This 19-year-old consults to big business and many others, on how to better connect with their Generation Z consumers and employees. Like all Gen Zers, Stavrou documents his life and learnings through many social media channels, reaching more than two million people across all his platforms in 2023.

The Nedbank IMC team had the pleasure of having a Q and A session with Stavrou.

We know that Zoomers are constantly connected, tech savvy and hyper-informed consumers. What don’t we know about them?

This generation has a remarkable aptitude for adapting and using new technologies – offering us valuable insights on how to better these tools. Financial stability is of paramount importance to them, as is their preference, in the work environment, for independent projects rather than collaborative ones – reflecting a strong sense of self-reliance. Finally, Gen Z can often demonstrate exceptional drive and ambition, fuelled not only by personal gain, but by a genuine desire to make a positive impact on the world.

What can Gen Z teach us about ourselves?

Gen Z is a master of adaptability, not just to technology but also in their navigation of the world at large. We should emulate this and foster our capacity to embrace new paradigms in life and work. This generation has also fully embraced their individuality – perhaps something older generations can focus on to embrace their individual life path, strengths, and challenges.

Connecting with brands on social media (YouTube, Snapchat or TikTok) is a given for this generation. How do you think this impacts on the communicating space for brands?

Many African brands lack a consistent and tailored presence on social media. Generation Z, however, has come to expect engaging and professional online content, using this social media presence to form their brand perception, loyalty and trust. With Gen Z’s 100% attention span being only 8 seconds, coupled with their love of video, short-form content and video is more crucial than ever.

Recent research has found that Gen Zers place a lot more emphasis on affordability, brand authenticity and brand transparency than previous generations. Any tips on what marketers should take from this?

Gen Z’s purchasing decisions are very much based on a favourable reputation. It is crucial to illuminate the social causes a brand champions, its unique culture, and the positive impact its products or services have on the world. One compelling method to achieve this is through influencer marketing, which leverages the power of individuals to organically promote a brand’s message, fostering a more genuine connection with consumers.

What excites you about the upcoming Nedbank IMC and being a speaker at the event?

Navigating the intricacies of the marketing landscape can often feel isolating and lonely; so convening the nation’s leading CMOs and business leaders presents a unique opportunity to foster collaboration and promote knowledge-sharing.

What kinds of insights will be you sharing at Nedbank IMC (without giving away too much)?

Everything CMO’s need to know about Generation Z and more. From practical marketing strategies, to understanding their behaviour, thinking and habits as humans.

Stavrou, you are an inspiration to many young people on our continent and beyond, what would you like them to remember about themselves?

Self-awareness is the cornerstone of a fulfilling life. Without it, navigating the complexities of work and life can be tricky. But introspection must be coupled with action. Step outside of your comfort zone and embrace new encounters and opportunities. They will help you paint a clearer picture of who you are in the world.

Today, Gen Z is the world’s largest demographic cohort, accounting for one third of the global population. They also have the fastest-growing disposable income. Call them what you will, your organisations’ future revolves around them.

The Nedbank IMC conference will be held at the Focus Rooms, Modderfontein, Johannesburg or online on 19 September 2024. In-person tickets are priced at R3000 (excl VAT) until 31 May 2024. Limited seats available. Virtual tickets are priced at R1499 (excl VAT).