Most marketers are finally embracing the Millennial mindset. But what they're not prepared for is the sheer disruption that Generation Z has unleashed on the media world. These teens and tweens represent a fundamentally different attitude when it comes to content creation and consumption -- one that marketers are struggling to align with.
According to T.J. Marchetti, CMO of AwesomenessTV, most brands are simply trying too hard. During his keynote address at the iMedia Entertainment Summit, Marchetti noted that there's only so much marketers can learn by reading about Generation Z. "There's a lot of information out there about Gen Z, but what you need to do is experience them," he said. That means watching what they watch -- even if you don't understand it -- and observing how they engage with media. And much of that engagement is happening on YouTube. (Do you know what a Janoskian is? If not, open up YouTube right now and educate yourself.)
Sure, brands are paying attention to YouTube. But where many go wrong is in their attempts to mimic the popular content they find. Brands shouldn't be mimicking popular content -- they should be leveraging it. By tapping into the right influencers on YouTube, brands can get the reach and engagement they need, Marchetti noted.
Another valuable piece of brand advice: Go native. Tap into the formats that are already popular on YouTube. Don't overthink it, Marchetti advised. Morning routines, pranks, haul videos, "what's in my...," YouTube challenges and colabs, tag videos -- if you aren't familiar with these wildly popular YouTube formats, it's time for a crash course in Gen Z. And it's time to start speaking their language.