Kelsey Davis Challenges Generation Z Marketers #AskGenZ

By #Ask-GenZ Archives
Cover image for  article: Kelsey Davis Challenges Generation Z Marketers #AskGenZ

Since the beginning of time, people have built and held power by leading their followers to believe in a common idea and then giving them a way to share information with each other to push that idea forward. Generation Z is the first major group to never have known a world without immediate access to information. Therefore, we not only have the audacity to believe we’re entitled to achieve our highest goals, but we’ve been given the tools to empower our ideas and advocate for ourselves in ways our parents never could’ve imagined. Thus, brand marketers must re-shift the model, mission and mindset of their organization if they want to survive the disruption of Generation Z.

Now, before I challenge you to question your whole approach to Gen Z marketing, you might be wondering who I am. My name is Kelsey Davis (watch video above), and I am the Founder/CEO of CLLCTVE, an agency responsible for developing creative solutions for brands targeting Gen Z consumers by growing our own exclusive community of Generation Z creatives. In my spare time, I am a senior at Syracuse University, studying television, radio, film and innovation, design and start-ups. Over the past three years, while also studying full time as an undergrad, I went from traveling around the world as a freelance videographer working for Grammy-nominated artists, to producing branded content for brands like Conde Nast Entertainment, Land Rover, and Coca Cola. Born in Atlanta months after the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games, I was raised in the midst of the great rise of media and culture, during the intersection of what we now understand as Generation Z and the Millennial generation. While this has positioned the majority of my life experiences as an active participant of both generations, I have been recognized as a researcher and thought leader pertaining to Generation Z.

#AskGenZ will aim to offer you clarity on my generation’s trends, thoughts and behaviors, in a voice that is symbiotically about and by Generation Z ourselves. This transmedia commentary will tackle questions for leading brand marketing executives surrounding the unique and influential 18-24 year-old audience.

In this introductory column, I’m going to start off by challenging you to re-shift the model, mission and mindset behind your individual and/or organization’s approach to marketing when targeting my peers and me.

The Model

The traditional agency model is outdated because of brand marketers’ lack of proximity to Gen Z consumers, who are the largest growing market of content creators and content consumers in the world. The corporate structure of large agency models prevents marketers from measuring and iterating their content to effectively reach the Gen Z market. As a result, they have not been able to scale their creative production process, while maintaining quality control and authentic brand voice among the Gen-Z consumer. Thus, traditional agencies are continually missing the mark on reaching the most profitable generation this nation has ever seen.

The solution to ensuring sustainability over time is to design a new data-driven structure around the model of your organization that’s as fluid and versatile as the trends, minds and behaviors of the Generation Z consumers you’re marketing towards. We’ve been sold lies for years, and thus we have already successfully started going out of our way to escape directly hearing from your brand marketers. Just because brands have seen success in the past does not mean they’ll continue to net the same positive metrics once Generation Z consumers learn of fluff behind an approach.

The Mission

The bargaining power has shifted from the agencies directly to the consumers. By 2021, the content marketing industry will be worth over $400 billion. Of this content, 48% is being consumed by Generation Z.  The mission cannot be focused solely on the goals of brands and marketers, without first having an in-depth consideration of how their business strategies actually empower Gen Z. We consumers should see enough value in the brand to interact and engage with it, without marketers having to be in our face about it. If they empower us to believe in their company’s vision and allow us to be participants as they achieve their company’s mission, Generation Z consumers will literally solve their company’s problems and lead their initiatives for them. If the reframing of the key activities surrounding their company’s mission is effective, they’ll able to create a feedback loop of consistent user engagement that exponentially scales over time.

The Mindset

Let’s face it folks: The demand for original content is rising but agencies’ abilities to deliver is rapidly declining. The last but most important shift that must take place is redirecting your mindset around how you perceive Generation Z. The most influential and powerful generation remains untapped by some of the world’s leading brand marketers, and the power dynamic will turn completely upside down for good if CEOs of brands, marketing firms, and agencies aren’t intentionally thinking like their kids. Jack Myers said it best when talking about Generation Z’s lack of desire to keep old systems that clearly aren’t working around: “Those of us who make the investment to understand them will find they offer uniquely valuable insights and organizational value. Those who assume they are Millennials on steroids will miss an opportunity to be witness to a generation that will be our guides and leaders through a period that will be so tumultuous it will make the past two decades seem like they passed in slow motion.”  (Be sure to read Jack's commentary GenZ vs. Millennials elsewhere on MediaVillage.)

The key is to never stop learning, because your pride is about to start f***ing up your bottom line.

So, What’s Next?

But wait, there’s more! As a Gen Z content creator myself, it wouldn’t be right to dish you this exclusive commentary without additional ways for you to choose to digest. Therefore, check out our #AskGenZ video content and engage with us online to join the conversation. Use the hashtag #AskGenZ on LinkedIn, Twitter, andInstagram and tags @directedbykels and @mediavillagecom so we can cover everything you want to know!

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