Weekly Recap - November 30, 2018

Digital technology use in the U.S. peaks.

Tech Peaks

Consumers' use of digital technologies has plateaued. The growth of U.S. consumers using cellphones, smartphones, social media, the internet and computers has stalled, according to Pew (PewResearch.org, 28 September 2018). Between 2016 and 2018 there was zero growth of cellphone (95%) and smartphone ownership (77%) and social media use (69%). Internet use grew just slightly, from 88% to 89%, and desktop/laptop ownership dropped from 78% to 73%.

+The slowdown is related to near-saturation levels — especially for cellphones, smartphones and internet use — in groups that include college graduates, consumers age 18 to 49 and consumers with household income of at least $75,000. Cellphone ownership in these three groups, respectively, is 97%.

Woke

Millennials don't hit their "financial awakening" until age 33. Millennials are notorious for delaying major life milestones like marriage and kids. True to form, their "financial awakening" is also behind schedule: age 33, on average, according to an Ally Financial survey (NYPost.com, 5 November 2018). This surprises no one. It's been tough for consumers born in the '80s to accumulate wealth, because Great Recession.

+Millennials' monthly expenditures on everything from basics (rent and utilities) to student loans, medical costs, entertainment and travel add up to a hefty $2,165/month or $25,980/year. That means the average Millennial must make about $53,000 just to be comfortable — a figure still out of reach for many. Millennials might do better if they were more financially savvy. Just 35% feel confident about doing their own retirement planning, investing and taxes. 55% could use some help, and half fear they'll never be able to retire.

Banked and Mobile

The ranks of unbanked consumers are shrinking, while mobile banking rises.In 2017, the number of U.S. households without a savings or checking account fell to 6.5%, 0.5% lower than 2015 and the lowest level since 2009, according to an FDIC survey (Pymnts.com, 24 October 2018). While that may be bad news for tech expansionists, it's good news for the U.S. economy.

+"This decline can be attributed almost entirely to improvements in the economic circumstances of U.S. households," the study authors write. 34% of consumers who remain unbanked cite lack of funds as the primary reason for their status, while 12.6% simply don't trust banks and 8.6% balk at hefty bank fees. And 18.7% of households are in the underbanked gray zone; they have at least one traditional bank account but also get other financial services outside the banking system. While the ranks of unbanked consumers are shrinking, the number of Americans using mobile banking continues to rise, from 23.2% in 2013 to 40.4% in 2017.

Trending

What marketers can expect in 2019: Health and Wellness. What was hot in health and well-known in wellness for 2018 might not carry into the new year. As 2019 approaches, brands should reflect on the messages they want to bring with them. And those to leave behind.

Heartbeat takes health tech from wearable to useful. Wearable tech. We take it to the gym, out for a run. We swim with it, bike with it, walk the dog with it. We take it to work, disguised as a tasteful accessory. We even sleep with it. Why? Because we're obsessed with data—and there's no data more fascinating to us than our own personal health information.

Weekly Recap - November 16, 2018

Weeklly Recap - November 16, 2018

Parental Optimism

Doing better than your folks was once a standard benchmark of American life. But that hasn't been the case for a while. About 50% of consumers born in 1984 were earning more at age 30 than their parents did, down from 92% in 1940, according to a National Bureau of Economic Research study (PBS.org, 2 October 2018).

+Offspring optimism is similarly on the decline. Gen We and Younger Millennial consumers are skeptical about their earning potential. Just half of 15- to 26-year-olds expect to eventually exceed their parents' household income, 29% expect to be on par with the 'rents and 20% think they'll be worse off (AP-NORC poll, Oct. 2018). But parents are still optimistic. Some 60% predict that their kids will eventually earn more than they do.

Big Kids, Bigger Expenses

Just because an adult kid moves out doesn't mean she'll stop asking her parents for financial help. The Great Recession prompted many grown-up kids to go back home. Mom and dad have been known to help with the down payment for junior's first home. Some parents carry car insurance and data plans ad infinitum. Turns out, the most expensive stage of parenting after kids leave the nest.

+U.S. parents collectively spend about $500 billion each year on their 18- to 35-year-old offspring, according to a Merrill Lynch survey (ScaryMommy.com, 12 October 2018). The burden is pretty evenly distributed. A whopping 79% of all parents provide some type of financial support to their adult kids, from big-ticket items like weddings to helping in a pinch with groceries and car repairs. Most are happy to help, though 63% say it's given them some grief. Still, 75% continue put their children's needs before their own retirement funds and 93% say "it's worth every penny."

Cause Over Culture

Millennials are more likely to support causes than arts and culture. They care more about social issues like marriage equality and the environment than supporting museums, zoos, symphonies and other cultural institutions. Support for arts and culture dipped sharply in 2014, as more Millennials started to enter the 35- to 54-year-old age cohort, according to an Impacts study of cause priorities (ColleenDilen.com, 3 October 2018).

+Millennials are especially wary of aquariums and zoos, which they perceive more negatively than older generations. 45% of Millennials think dolphin shows are cruel to dolphins, for instance, compared with 25% of older consumers. But lack of support from young consumers cuts across all institutions.

Activated

What marketers can expect in 2019: Cause marketing. Consumers activism is on the rise, and with it brand expectations. Consumers want brands to make good products and do good, positively impacting society and the environment.

Weekly Recap - November 9, 2018

What makes people happy has a lot to do with how much discretionary income they have.

Feels Like Happiness

Wealthier consumers find happiness in experiences, while less affluent prefer stuff. Experiential marketing is what Instagram Stories are made of. Look at me, I'm skydiving into a corn maze infested with zombies. Here I am doing yoga with rescued animals at a vegan, cage-free farm. Turns out, experience is also where happiness comes from—for those who can afford it anyhow Lower-income consumers get more bang for their buck when they buy actual stuff.

+"For lower-class consumers, spending money on concert tickets or a weekend trip might not result in greater happiness," explains Deborah Hall, whose research team published their findings in Psychological Science. "In fact, [they] were happiest from purchasing things, which makes sense given that material goods have practical benefit, resale value and [last longer]" (ScienceDaily.com, 3 October 2018). Perception also plays an interesting role here. When asked to imagine their income had decreased by 50%, study participants reported similar levels of happiness from material and experiential purchases. But experiences make people happier when they imagine their income had grown by 50 percent.

Pay TV

TV viewers can earn points for watching shows on WatchBack. It's a couch potato's dream come true. Thanks to the free WatchBack app from NBCUniversal, watching TV has grown from the lackadaisical to a potentially lucrative pastime. The app offers sweepstakes in which the app's users can win points redeemable for gift cards. Watching featured shows earns consumers entries in the sweepstakes (Variety.com, 5 October 2018). A sweepstakes winner could, for example, be awarded points worth $100 and then convert his or her winnings into a gift card from Amazon, Burger King, Starbucks, Target, Macy's or many other merchants.

+WatchBack offers consumers limited-time viewing of full-length episodes from shows on NBCUniversal's networks plus nonexclusive content from more than 60 partners, including PBS, Mashable, Refinery29, Adventure Sports Network and Newsy. The app also delivers video clips from NBCUniversal's cable networks, including Bravo, CNBC, USA Network and MSNBC and from its broadcast businesses, including NBC Entertainment, NBC News, NBC Sports and Telemundo.

Singled Out

The Collins Dictionary's Word of the Year says a mouthful about consumerism today. There are more than 4.5 billion-words in the English language, but only one can be selected to epitomize the state of our collective conscience. According to Collins lexicographers, that word is "single-use." Last year's Word of the Year was actually two words: "fake news."

+The popularity of "single-use" has increased four-fold since 2013, prompted by news stories and documentary series raising public awareness of this environmental issue. Single-use "encompasses a global movement to kick our addiction to disposable products. From plastic bags, bottles and straws to washable nappies, we have become more conscious of how our habits and behaviours can impact the environment," Collins says.

Input Out

How machine learning is changing the rules of marketing. "Machine learning" may not be as popular a term as "single-use" or "fake news," but the application is changing the way consumers search for information. If your first impulse is to ask Alexa what it is, you're among them.

Holiday marketing: How soon is too soon? Holiday marketing...while some advertisers started their campaigns halfway through October, most retailers officially kicked off the season November 1. Target, Anthropologie, the new Grinch movie and Amazon are some of the brands populating the marketplace early. Oh and Starbucks too! But are consumers ready?

Weekly Recap - October 26, 2018

Facebook users are conflicted, Millennials gifted and Gen We

News To Me

Americans increasingly rely on social media for news—especially Facebook. Pew Research recently asked more than 4,500 U.S. adults where they go for news. Nearly half (47 percent) say they often or sometimes rely on social media, with Facebook being the most popular choice (43 percent), followed by YouTube (21 percent) and Twitter (12 percent). But more than half of the social-media-news consumers consider the information "largely inaccurate."

+But what about that Cambridge Analytic scandal? Are consumers indifferent about data breaches, fake news and Russian trolls? Apparently. Two-thirds (68 percent) of adults use Facebook today, unchanged from April 2016 when the Center last checked in. Three-quarters of users check in at least once a day. Because news.

Holidazed

Millennials love the holidays and have the receipts to prove it. Millennials have been driving holiday shopping for some time now, spending nearly $800 on gifts and goodies compared with around $650 for the average Joe, according to an Accenture survey (BusinessWire.com, 1 October 2018). Nearly half expect to dial it up this season, compared to just 13 percent of Boomers.

+Ready to host or not... Life stage explains a lot here. Millennials are young parents, playing Santa and assuming family dinner duties. This means stocking up on chafing dishes, folding chairs and decorations—items that couldn't argue their way onto wedding gift registries. 60 percent of Millennials plan to host a holiday meal or party compared to 40 percent of Boomers.

Home Schooled

Gen We learn how not to do homeownership from Millennials. Most (83 percent) of 19- to 23-year-old consumers plan to purchase a home within the next five years, per a PropertyShark survey. (CBSNews.com, 11 September 2018). And they're determined to avoid Millennial missteps, like raiding retirement funds to make a down payment or taking out a mortgage that's too big for the household budget.

+Both gens cite student debt as the biggest obstacle on the road to homeownership, but it's more of a burden for Gen We (32 percent) than Millennials (17 percent). And though the lure of big-city lights draws more Gen We consumers (40 percent) than Millennials (30 percent), fully 60 percent of the younger group plan to bypass major metros for more affordable, kid-friendly suburbs.

Big Spender?

What marketers can expect in 2019: Money & Spending. Will consumers spend confidently into 2019 or save more? Depends on which generation you're asking.

Winsta

5 ways marketers can stand out on Instagram. How to do your brand Instagram account better.

What marketers can expect in 2019: Money & Spending.

Money and spending

Learning America's mindset on money and spending is critical for planning a 2019 marketing strategy, especially for banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions.

First, let's talk about 2018:

  • The Good News: Americans are working. In September, unemployment hit 3.7%, its lowest point since 1969. U.S. worker productivity continues to rise, which is helping out the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) predicts growth of 3.1% in the GDP for the year, up from 2.2% in 2017.

  • The Bad News: Housing demand fell in 2018, and in October, the mortgage rate rose to 5%, the highest in 7 years—an alarming trend for future home shoppers. In addition, banks got stingier with credit card lending. Luckily, consumers have become warier about buying on credit anyway.

Now, as the country's therapist might say (if we had one), "How do we FEEL about that?" Overall, the polarized political climate and general chaos has the country a little jittery. Businesses are on edge waiting for the latest political moves on trade. Trust in our institutions is at a low ebb — and that goes for financial institutions, too.

2019 for millennials and Gen Xers: With greater economic and political clout, these groups are going to start demanding change from the government and financial institutions. Americans owe more than $1.2 trillion (yes, trillion) in student loans, and most of it is owed by millennials. Aging Gen Xers are increasingly concerned with the rising costs of healthcare. And everyone wants more transparency in financial services.

Your strategy:

Technology is key. Branch visits for millennials are generally reserved for big events like applying for a mortgage (and increasingly, even that is done online). If they have a question, they're going to look online first, so make sure it's easy for them to find the answers.

Apps for saving and investing, like Digit and Stash, mean that all tech-savvy customers have plenty of non-bank options. Banks or credit unions that don't have an easy-to-use app are at a distinct disadvantage.

Millennials still digging out from student loan debt are going to have a harder time buying their first home. Provide education on low- or no-down-payment programs like FHA or VA loans, and you could help get them in the door (and win their trust).

2019 for Baby Boomers

As a group, boomers are way behind on retirement saving. Worrying about what the government might do with Social Security and healthcare isn't helping matters. No wonder about 60% of boomers plan on working past 65.

Financial companies are aware of this, as evidenced by E*Trade's humorous TV ads in the 2018 SuperBowl:

But don't assume all working boomers want to retire but can't. Some continue working because they want to. And some retire from their first career, but move on to newer, more fulfilling work.

Your strategy:

Offer options for last-minute retirement investing, but keep in mind that this group may also be in the market for help with long-delayed career dreams: owning their own small businesses, for example, or even going back to school. Life expectancy in the U.S. is 76 years for men and 81 for women, and you can only play so much golf.

An uncertain future

The CBO predicts a slowdown in economic growth in 2019, so consumers of all ages will be more cautious with money. Plan your marketing strategy carefully to convince them you're worth the investment.

Weekly Recap - September 21, 2018

Consumers bolster the U.S. economy by saving more

Look Who's Saving Now

Consumers bolster the U.S. economy by saving more. It may have taken a Great Recession, but Americans are saving like never before. Their prudent ways have lingered well into the recovery. In fact, U.S. households have saved more after-tax income than ever before.

+ In Q1 2018, Americans saved an average of 7.2 percent more than the previous all-time high of 6.4 percent in 1990, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis (WSJ.com, 18 August 2018). That's almost triple the 2005 savings low point of 2.5 percent.

Teasing or Testing?

Netflix may be building an ad platform. Netflix has been promoting its original content between episodes of Netflix series of late, prompting marketers to speculate that the popular streaming service may finally start selling space. To be clear, or coy, Netflix says the self-promos are only to improve customer experience.

+ "A couple of years ago, we introduced video previews to the TV experience, because we saw that it significantly cut the time members spend browsing and helped them find something they would enjoy watching even faster. Since then, we have been experimenting even more with video based on personalized recommendations for shows and movies on the service or coming shortly, and continue to learn from our members" (BusinessInsider.com, 19 August 2018).

Selling More Detergent IRL

LOL! P&G tries to court young consumers by trademarking ancient net lingo. Procter and Gamble thinks it can sex up its detergents and air fresheners for younger consumers by trademarking the linguistic coin of the internet realm: popular abbreviations like WTF, OMG and LOL.

+ We're not exactly sure whether anyone can actually trademark net shorthand, but P&G's wish list also includes NBD and FML. It's part of a larger effort to appeal to Millennials and Gen Z by acquiring all-natural products like Native deodorant and creating eco-friendly lines, like Pampers Pure Protection diapers.

Pity Me Not

When you pity people who are sick, you take away their power. This from a wise-beyond-her-years cystic fibrosis patient, Claire Wineland, with her proclamation that we need to change the way we treat sick people.  Read on.

A tale of two industries - When fashion and technology converge. Imagine watching the Emmy's red carpet and seeing a computer determine the best and worst dressed instead of your favorite fashion critic. Imagine waking up and using AI (instead of your best friend) to help you pick your outfit for the day. Although it's been happening for decades, the lines between fashion and technology today are becoming more and more blurred.  Read about it.

Weekly Recap - September 7, 2018

Weekly Recap, September 2018

Don't Just Make Money, Brand. Make Me Proud.

Shoppers are more loyal to purpose-driven brands. Recent research shows that many Americans have an affinity for purpose-driven brands. It goes deeper than mere attraction. Think loyalty, advocacy, even pride. Most consumers (79 percent) say they're more loyal to brands' built on principle versus traditional ones), and 73 percent are more willing to defend purpose-driven brands. They feel a strong emotional connection to purpose-driven brands (77 percent), are proud to be associated with them (70 percent) and are more willing to forgive the brands' mistakes (67 percent). Most consumers (78 percent) expect companies to make a positive impact on society and believe it's not acceptable for them to simply make money.

+ If you give your brand purpose, consumers will want to give you more business. Americans' preference for purpose-driven brands plays out in various practical ways. Eighty-eight percent of consumers say they'd buy products from such companies, 85 percent would support those companies within their community and 68 percent. So much winning.

I Stream, You Stream, We All Stream for TV

Consumers are increasingly likely to stream TV from the internet rather than watch programming on a conventional (non-internet-connected) TV. Streamed TV viewing hours grew 115 percent between Q2 2017 and Q2 2018 (TechCrunch.com, 2 August 2018). The Conviva report also found an "impressive increase … in peak concurrent plays, as 7.9 million people tuned in during the World Cup, which amounted to 118 percent growth in peak concurrency" for Q2, year over year. Even without the World Cup viewership, "peak concurrency in Q2 2018 was up by 45 percent year over year, spiking to 5.3 million concurrent plays during the winner-take-all 7th game of the NBA Western Conference Finals."

+ Consumers use a variety of devices for streaming—mobile phones, tablets, laptops, desktops, internet connected TVs. Mobile is the device of choice for short-form content, while long-form content(think movies and episodic shows) is more typically consumed on connected TVs. TV streaming has been moving toward mobile and away from computers. Mobile had the largest share of plays in Q2 2018 (49 percent), followed by TVs (27 percent) and computers (24 percent). The digital media spend follows.

What Consumers Use Smart Speakers for May Not Impress Brands Much

Smart-speaker owners tend not to use them for shopping. Music is the most popular request smart speaker owners make, according to a recent Voicebot.ai survey of 1,200 U.S. adults. News is the second most common command, with distant topics including "how to" instructions, retail store information, history, movies, sports, among others.

What people ask smart speakers most.

What people ask smart speakers most.

I was enjoying dinner with friends a couple years back when the hostess asked Alexa to play 80s music. There were only eight of us seated around the table and nobody was called Alexa. So I wasn't surprised when the room didn't suddenly fill with dance music or new wave.

But the hostess invoked the mystery guest again, this time a little louder and with a slight edge. "Alexa, play 80s music!" Tears for Fears obliged, "Shout. Shout. Let it all out…"

Roland Orzabal had only started the first verse when the hostess rebuked: "Alexa, not so loud."

"Nice party trick," I thought, as other guests answered my questions before I'd uttered a word. "We use ours mostly to connect with Nest," someone commented. "I got one for Christmas," chimed another. "Haven't even taken it out of the box yet. Where am I going to put that thing?"

Nearly four years later, the voice-activated tech is still playing the hits more than most anything else.

Music is the most popular request smart speaker owners make, according to a recent Voicebot.ai survey of 1,200 U.S. adults. News is the second most common command, with distant topics including "how to" instructions, retail store information, history, movies, sports, among others.

Information Topics Most Requested on Smart Speakers 2018

Consumers also use their smart speakers to control other smart-home devices, like thermostats, lights and locks; and ask for information, like weather forecasts or news updates. The ways in which consumers can use Alexa continue to proliferate as third-party developers create additional Alexa skills—apps that give Alexa even more abilities, connecting her to more devices and even websites. Currently, 45,000 Alexa skills are available.

But for the most part, consumers with smart speakers like the Amazon Echo and Google Home don't use the devices for shopping. Per the Voicebot.ai research, 26.1 percent of consumers who own such devices have used them to make a purchase, and 16 percent of owners do monthly "voice shopping" using their smart speakers.

Sources who have seen Amazon's market intelligence say that the percentage of voice shoppers is significantly lower, with only about 2 percent of consumers with Alexa-powered devices (mainly Amazon Echo speakers) using them for shopping in the first seven months of 2018, according to Gartner Iconoculture research.

Their intelligence also suggests that most consumers who have tried Alexa for shopping didn't do it a second time (TheInformation.com, 6 August 2018). Still, 20 percent of Amazon Echo owners have used Alexa for shopping-related information, like finding deals or tracking purchases (that were probably made on another device)—just not purchases.

While voice-activated search may be off to a relatively sluggish start, brands are nonetheless optimistic. More than 1,200 brands have built apps and products that rely on Amazon Echo and Google Home (Gartners.com, 23 June 2017).

Regardless of whether consumers use smart speakers for little more than play lists, it's impossible to deny their popularity. Amazon is expected to have sold 128 million Echo speakers by 2020 (RBC Capital Markets, 9 March 2017); by 2022, 55 percent of U.S. households will own always-listening voice speakers (Jupiter Research, 11 August 2017).

Before taking your brand boldly into the smart speaker space, consider the nuances between typed search and audible search. Claiming organic territory is always worth the effort and will inform Alexa Skills or other advertising applications.

Like to stay in the loop? Get the Brogan Weekly Recap.

Weekly Recap - August 31, 2018

Generation X

Slackers, My Assets

Generation X is the only generation to have recovered wealth lost during the Great Recession. The Great Recession took a great toll on Gen X homeowners. Largely inexperienced buyers, they bought high and experienced significant declines in home equity when the market collapsed. Yet a Pew Research Center analysis of Federal Reserve data finds that they are now the only generation to have recovered that wealth (PewResearch.org, 23 July 2018).

+ Gen X households' median net worth decreased 38 percent from 2007 ($63,400) to 2010 ($39,200). Wealth loss by Boomers was significantly smaller by comparison (26 percent). Since 2010, the median net worth of Gen X households has risen 115 percent. That means that in 2016, the latest year with available data, the net worth of a typical Gen X household surpassed what it was in 2007 ($84,200 vs. $63,400). A major reason for the rebound: rising home equity levels. The median wealth of Boomer households is still lower than 2007 levels, but their wealth still exceeds that of Gen X.

I'm Done Talking to You, Alexa

More consumers choose privacy over convenience of omnipresent devices (ODs). Hands-free technologies such as voice control make it possible to dice vegetables while DJing for party guests without missing a beat. Play that funky music, Google Home. Consumers loved the idea back in the 2016s when CEB Iconoculture asked about the appeal of voice-controlled tech. More than half of those surveyed eagerly anticipated a post-screen lifestyle where one could simply bark out questions for AI to ponder without the drudgery of a keyboard.

+ But then they got creeped out. Today nearly 3 in 4 consumers (users and non-users of ODs alike) agree that the benefits of using them don't outweigh the privacy risks associated with the behavior (Iconocommunities, March 2018). In fact, privacy concerns prevent people from ever picking up the tech: 2 in 5 consumers who have never used ODs cite privacy concerns as the main factor in their decision to not adopt the technology. Despite growing concerns from consumers, brands base decisions to make use of these technologies (and, subsequently, spend marketing resources to hype up integrations and apps that rely upon them) on highly optimistic projections.

As You Know in Email, One Day You're In. And the next Day, You're Out.

Did you know one in five commercial emails will never make it to an inbox? The reason is complicated, involving sender reputation, IP address, authentication and domains, among other factors. Email is too important a marketing tactic to surrender to chance. We've captured winning email tactics in a breezy guide that will have your content clearing email boxes to addresses at Gmail, corporates and even that one guy who's still on Yahoo (Hi, Uncle Ernie!). In this guide, we unearth everything you ever wanted to know about email marketing, plus tips for every part of the process — from development to deployment. Get the guide.

Gen Z by Any Other Name Is Still Not a Millennial

Wired, wary and willful: Marketing to Gen Z.  Before she trekked to college, we asked our Gen Z intern to conduct a little informal marketing research among her peers. We wanted to get to know this increasingly influential group better—what they value, where they frequent and how to best get their attention. And in what we're learning is true Gen Z fashion, she leaned on technology to quickly craft a survey tool and deploy it to a couple dozen cohorts. See what they had to say here.

Gen Z gets real about marketing.

Gen Z gets real about marketing.

The post Millennial generation Gen Z (aka Gen We), born between 1995 and 2016, makes up over 20 percent of the current U.S. population. So while Gen Z may not be your prime target now, they soon will be. By 2020 Gen Z is set to be the largest generation of consumers, and their spending power already equates to over $140 billion.

I can help. I'm an 18-year-old Gen Zer about to start my first year of college. I reached out to my peers to gather insights to help marketers like you get a better handle on how to connect with Gen Z. I asked about shopping habits, money and preferred social and media channels. I also consulted articles by the Huffington Post and Salesforce for third-party research and trends that influence Gen Z.

Gen Z is not be confused with Millennials

Though older Gen Zers are close in age with young Millennials, there are important key differences to note in the way Gen Z behaves as compared to Millennials. For starters, here are four ways Gen Z differs from Millennials:

Shopping. Though we may be in a digital age, Gen Z actually prefers to shop in store as opposed to Millennials who prefer the simplicity of shopping online. 68 percent of Gen Z surveyed said that they would rather shop in store. That means retail marketers should optimize the in-store experience, providing offers to excite and engage Gen Z.

Money. Gen Z grew up during the Great Recession. They watched the economy crash and many likely watched their parents struggle during this time. This has led Gen Z to be money savvy and conscious of what they spend and where they're spending it. In contrast Millennials tend to care more about the experience of buying the product and less concerned about the cost of it, according to an article by the Huffington Post. So, grab the attention of Gen Z by highlighting deals and steals.

Authenticity. Of course Millennials want brands to be authentic, but Gen Z requires it. The brands that do the best with Gen Z are those that are transparent about their products. How can you be authentic in the eyes of Gen Z?  Show real people using real products. Forget the photo shoots and ditch Photoshop. Capture the raw beauty of life through natural photos. Make Gen Z feel as if they can achieve what's in the photo.

Independence. Whereas Millennials will rage over the hottest brands, Gen Z will not be defined by any one brand. They want a variety of brands and items that allow them to capture their own personality.

Survey says...

Gen Z is always connected. Whether through smartphone, laptop, or even gaming device, we live in a digital age and Gen Z is all about it. When 25 teens (ages 12-18) were asked, 100 percent said that they regularly use their smartphone, and 48 percent reported that they use their phones for 4+ hours a day.

Gen Z

Gen Z

Connectivity is key. Gen Z has major FOMO (fear of missing out) and social media has become there way of always being present.

Gen Z has no time to waste. Long ads and slow load time are not worth the wait.

Gen Z

The best social platform to market to Gen Z

Instagram!

Fifty-two percent of Gen Zers say that the social media platform that they spend the most time on is Instagram.

Gen Z

On top of that 84 percent of Gen Z follows a brand or company on Instagram.

Gen Z

For more on Gen Z/Gen We, read Gen We expects more from brands on social media.

Weekly Recap - August 24, 2018

Weekly Recap

Editor's note: The Recap got a reboot. Keepin' it fresh.

LET'S TALK ABOUT S&P, BABY

Young couples talk openly about money, which bolsters their relationship. Unlike Boomers, who grew up thinking money was a taboo subject, Millennials are an open book. They're more likely than other workers to disclose their salaries, once a workplace no-no. And for Gen We and Millennial couples, financial transparency rules.

+ Seventy-five percent of 18- to 34-year-old couples talk about money at least once a week, compared with 66 percent of Gen Xers and just 40 percent of Boomers, according to a TD Bank survey (CNBC.com, 27 July 2018). And far from damaging their relationship, it's actually a boon, even when they fight about money. 90 percent of the Gen We and Millennial couples surveyed are extremely or very happy in their relationships.

I'LL TAKE "CRIPPLING DEBT" FOR $100K, ALEX

Student debtors compete on a game show to have their loans Paid Off. Student debt casts a pall over the financial lives of loan holders, both now and into the future. But comedian Michael Torpey has managed to create a game — or more rightly, a game show — focused on student debt. On his truTV show, called Paid Off, student-loan holders compete to have their debt eliminated. (BoingBoing.net, 11 July 2018).

+ Not all fun and games. Although the show is fun, it also makes a serious point. "One of the mantras is 'an absurd show to match an absurd crisis,'" said Paid Off host and creator Torpey. "A game show feels really apt because this is the state of things right now" (FastCompany.com, 11 July 2018). 44 million Americans carry student debt, and the total outstanding amount of those loans grew from $481 billion in the first quarter of 2006 to more than $1.5 trillion in the first quarter of 2018, according to Federal Reserve data.

THIS OLD THING?

Shoppers who feel financially constrained don't talk about their purchases. In a series of seven studies, researchers at Ohio State University, University of Southern California and Dartmouth College found that consumers who are feeling a financial pinch prefer not to talk about their purchases. This effect on word of mouth applied to online and face-to-face conversations, purchases of any size, and discussions with both friends and strangers. The studies didn't focus on how objectively wealthy (or not) the participants were, but rather their perceptions of their financial constraints.

+ Theoretically, consumers might have wanted to talk about what they bought to show their spending ability and feel better about spending. But the research results disproved that hypothesis. "Consumers who feel poor at the moment don't want to talk about their purchases because it reinforces negative feelings about their unpleasant financial state," said Anna Paley, lead researcher and Ohio State University visiting scholar (ScienceDaily.com, 18 June 2018).

Weekly Recap - May 18, 2018

Facebook is empowering youth...or is trying to at least. While the Book might need to use some more complex tactics to stay alive among teens, ads don’t. Why some of the best ads are the most simple. Cash is still king for many businesses, but the trend of going cashless is growing, especially in the fast-casual segment of the restaurant industry.

DETAILS, Please

To win back teens, Facebook launched a website. For teenagers these days, Club Facebook is just not the place to be. Facebook has launched a "youth portal" for "teens" featuring things "teens" like such as dancing emoji, social justice and blog posts.

This may be the simplest ad that’s ever saved lives. In this case, all it took was a piece of paper. Holding a piece of paper to your vent could prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, thanks to Grey Poland.

Will cash become a thing of the past at restaurants? For some fast-casual restaurants, going cashless has operational efficiencies and some people say it's the way of the future, but others are calling it a discriminatory business practice.

Meanwhile, back at the RANCH

Key takeaways from the Marketing & Physician Strategies Summit. This year’s Healthcare Marketing & Physician Strategies Summit got me thinking—a lot. I’ve unpacked a few of my favorite tips below to continue sharing. (Unpacked because that’s what people do these days instead of explain.)

THE Topic of conversation

Communicating with visuals. Did you know that 93 percent of communication is visual? Amplify your marketing and discover how your brand can communicate visually. Download our latest free guide, "Communicating with Visuals."

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