Adaptations to Make as a Marketer: Takeaways from Digital Summit

Posted by Sarah Wai on Dec 18, 2020 4:21:00 PM

adaptability in marketing

I recently had the privilege of attending the Digital Summit, an annual conference (this year it was entirely online) that provides inspiration, learning, and networking opportunities for Digital Marketers like myself. It was incredibly insightful and I highly recommend it to all Digital Marketers going forward.

The Digital Summit was so insightful, in fact, that I came away with 16 pages of notes (for a two-day conference!). Instead of sharing all 16 pages (because that would be overkill), I wanted to share a couple of key takeaways I got from it that I feel could be valuable for every marketer, entrepreneur, and business owner going forward.

Applicable Adaptation Sells

In 1941, the first commercial EVER aired on TV by the watch company, Bulova. Take a look.

If you watched it, you’ll agree that it’s very underwhelming. Oh, and it only cost them $9. We can only dream of that cheap of advertising costs now, right?

The reason it was so underwhelming was that they took their most successful radio ad and played it with an image.

Enter Rolex. Instead of repurposing their radio ads, they created ads that were purely designed for TV. Today, 80 years later, Rolex is worth way more than Bulova and is a household name.

Now ask yourself- How can our company be the Rolex of our industry, rather than the Bulova?

Change is the only constant, and if 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that we can’t pretend change isn’t happening and get left behind. Take a close look at the companies that continue to succeed through the COVID-19 Pandemic. They have adapted. They think outside the box and have anticipated their customers' needs.

Speaking of needing to adapt….

Marketing to Gen Z Means Adapting to New Rules

Today, two in every five consumers are Gen Z. They are your next target audience, and they are unlike any you’ve marketed or sold to before. If you can tap into this market now, it will be a gold mine for years to come. Here’s what you need to know about Gen Z as consumers:

  • They process information faster than previous generations: Your marketing needs to be precise, to the point, and resonate within seconds. They have shorter attention spans than previous generations, but they process information that much faster.
  • They can hyperfocus: When Gen Z gets excited or interested in something, they go deep. They research and learn unlike any generation previously. They won’t just take your word for it, they’ll do their own research as follow-up and ensure credibility. As a company, it’s your responsibility to operate honestly and to provide valuable resources that are founded on truth.
  • They are more independent: They were raised by techy parents who taught them how to find things online and to do research for themselves.
  • They are fiscally conservative: They watched their parents live under mountains of debt, and they will do everything they can to avoid doing the same.
  • They were raised post-9/11: They value structure, security, and safety. They see it as a safeguard against harm, and they’ve never known any different. “Freedom” takes on a different meaning for them than it does to the generations before them.
  • They choose security over passion: Unlike Millennials, Gen Z won’t take time to “find themselves” and pursue passions. They get right to work and they work hard for the life they want.
  • They utilize digital platforms: Whether it’s shopping, personal expression, or expressing support or disgust for brands, they’re online in full force. Most of them have multiple social accounts on social media platforms. We’re talking four different Instagram accounts (one for personal, one for following celebrities, one for special interests, and one for humor), not just one Instagram account for all. They hate the clutter of having one account feed.
  • They research differently than past generations: Most of their research is done on social media (i.e. YouTube, Pinterest, etc) and they only use Google to answer very specific questions (typically only viewing featured info and almost never clicking through). Facebook and LinkedIn are for their parents and they have little to no interest in those platforms.
  • They especially love to learn while being entertained, not just one or the other: They are a generation of doers and therefore want a balance of learning while being entertained. This is why they love YouTube and TikTok, especially.
  • They typically follow nano-influencers (influencers with 1,000-10,000 followers) over micro-influencers (influencers with 10,000-50,000 followers). This has a lot to do with their desire for familiarity and authenticity.
  • They are much less likely to choose the trial and error approach and prefer to do upfront research, as that is more cost-effective.

Finally, Gen Z values value! They will choose the brands that are more ethical over the ones that aren’t. They will choose brands that make a greater impact in communities than those that don’t. They will choose brands that take a stand against injustice over those that don’t. They will choose brands that have track records of honesty and quality over those that don’t. Are you ready to step up to the plate and be the company or brand that they're looking for?

Are You Ready for What’s Next?

Don’t allow yourself to live in denial. Change is inevitable and change is happening. The best way to handle it is to embrace it, adapt through it, and push forward innovatively and ethically. We can help you do that.

Sarah Wai

Written by Sarah Wai

Former Content, Email, and Social Media Marketing Specialist of Tribute Media. Bachelor of Science in Digital Communication Arts and Master in Business Administration.