Generation Z: How to engage with young digital natives

By Xane Richards |

June 24, 2020

Up until now, millennials were described as needy and the most talked about generation to date. A new group is making its way onto the workforce landscape: Generation Z.
Generation Z (those born from 1997 onwards) are a generation who have been raised under the social web umbrella, and are often described as being “sensitive”, “born to swipe” and “stay at home”. 
We are currently living in an era where producing your own content can turn you into an online “entrepreneur” – from a makeup guru on YouTube to an influencer in the TikTok community. These days, the internet has defined Gen Z as the new “global influence”.

According to GenZ Insights, research shows that 55% of Gen Zedders would prefer tuning into live-streamed events, rather than attending them.
Trends change from generation to generation, which means so must the strategies of meeting planners. So, what do we need to know about the expectations of Gen Zedders, and how do we design a meeting tailored to the “digital generation”?

Gen Z are more demanding
They place a higher value on factors such as personal experiences, sustainability and flexibility, and attach more importance to a brand’s ethics. Ask yourself: does your event contribute to a social or environmental cause that can drive impact?

They are constantly looking for experiences
Interestingly, over 75% value experiences over products which results in the rise of attendance of live events such as festivals, concerts and gigs. Figures have shown that 80% of meeting planners focus on curating immersive experiences including elements of festivalisation or tailored attendee experiences.
According to Ryan Jenkins, Millennial & Generation Z expert, 87% of meetings and conferences worldwide are held at hotel venues, conference centres or resorts. What if, organisers would use intriguing places such as an airplane hanger, haunted mansion or a huge open aquarium? We need to think of ways to make conferences fresh and exciting.

They are consumer communities
Gen Zedders value online communities because they consider that they are created by causes and interests, and not by educational levels or economic backgrounds (based on a study conducted by McKinsey & Company). Event planners should consider creating meaningful events that are on-brand, and that meet the needs of the community that they’re trying to connect with.

They want to be “social media” connected
This generation is always looking for instagrammable moments, and opportunities to share quick snaps from every place they visit. They are “quick” content consumers, with an attention span of just 8 seconds,  so they don’t like to go through a lot of effort to get their latest news.
If you are looking to place your event at the forefront of this generation of youngsters, thinking strategically of what they consume and what their preferences are like, is very important.
According to Forbes, they value influencer marketing, so they are more likely to attend an event that involves their “role models” and share their values and interests.

They are very tech-savvy 
Compared to their predecessors, Gen Zedders have grown up with technology, and have no resistance when it comes to tech. They expect innovation and want to see high tech experiences from the latest trends, AI, augmented reality and gamification elements.

Meeting planners need to adapt to the new “digital” generation and understand their behaviours and learning preferences. Events are all about creating lasting memories, so it’s important to understand how to engage the new generation of youngsters and create immersive experiences.
Written by Lorena Fasui, Marketing Coordinator.