Gen Z are already becoming more influential than Millennials, so if you’re not talking to them now, you’re really going to miss out in the longer term, Unidays APAC vice-president, Ed Schmidt, claims.
“I think more brands need to get to know them and how valuable their loyalty can be as a customer from their student days and as they move into various life stages,” he told CMO. “And a lot more Australian uni students live at home but still work, so they actually have a high disposable income compared to other generations. They also love to go out a lot and are a lot more confident.”
Founded in the UK in 2011, the global student affinity network offers discounts for everything from fashion and lifestyle brands to technology, and now has a footprint in 32 countries. Through its technology platform, Unidays claims to be able to verify the status of 142 million students globally, or 70 per cent of the world’s university student population.
Recent research conducted by the group revealed that while Gen Z will make up 40 per cent of the population by 2020, brands are still not doing enough to understand or reach this growing market segment.
According to Schmidt, Gen Z are often harder to reach and connect with compared to other generations, and standard marketing tactics that worked for prior generations won’t necessarily work or resonate.
“Gen Z live in a world of everything on demand – even their attention span is really short, so you have to understand this audience really well,” he said.
“Exclusive offers with brands is a great way to start the conversation with Gen Z, which is where we come in. We help brands better understand this generation and help brands establish a connection with this audience as early as they can while leveraging the power of our global network.”
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To date, Unidays has worked with over 600 brands globally, and lists some of the biggest and most relevant to a Gen Z audience including Apple, ASOS, The ICONIC, Dell and Deliveroo. At the same time, the company conducts extensive research to help brands better understand their customer base and even discover new customer segments.
Closer to home, Unidays entered the Australian market in 2012 and now has a fast growing member audience of 450,000 students in Australia and New Zealand. The Australian Unidays team is expanding fast, made up of 14 Gen Z experts based in Sydney.
“The research we’ve done has already help brands like Cotton On and Pretty Polly in Australia look at new market segments ,” Schmidt said. “We also help with retargeting and segmentation – and we’ve already done a lot of the ground work for the brand, which is why they like to work with us.”
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Schmidt agreed Gen Z are certainly expecting more hyper-personalisation from brands, as well as greater social media engagement, given they are true digital natives.
“They expect an authentic relationship with brands but don’t ever assume you know this audience, Gen Z is always one step ahead – and they’ve already made a decision whether to like you or not,” he said.
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