PETALING JAYA: Marketers are aiming to have a stronger grip on today’s youths, specifically the Generation Z (Gen Z) group of individuals, as corporate Malaysia transitions into endemicity.
To achieve this, marketers said they need to pivot their marketing strategies more efficiently to target this segment due to their ability to influence peers, hence making them the key target for brands and advertisers.
Snacking giant Mondelez International marketing director for Malaysia and Singapore Arpan Sur said the Gen Z are currently an important market and forms a significant portion of the population.
They bring to the market a new level of influence as digital pioneers, along with new snacking behaviours and unique taste preferences, he told StarBiz.
“While still lacking in purchasing power, this will continue to grow in years to come and their ability to influence peers and followers remains significant, making them a prime target for brands and advertisers.
“The best strategy to market to this generation is by being authentic, transparent and personalised, rather than just marketing hype. Mondelez International’s 2021 State of Snacking report affirms how consumers today are becoming more intentional about their purchase decisions and aligning their snacking preferences, behaviours and purchasing decisions with their values,” he added.
Arpan said creating real, human connections with purpose would be the best way forward for brands to win with consumers in the future.
For Mondelez, its humaning approach (a unique, consumer-centric approach to marketing that creates real, human connections with purpose) enables the company to lead the future of snacking by offering the right snack, for the right moment, made the right way.
“We continue to listen, empathise and adapt our offerings to fit consumer needs at any moment with perfectly crafted products that are a source of delight and human connection,” he noted.
Javed Jafri, who is the Malaysian Advertisers Association (MAA) vice-president and Unilever Malaysia Singapore Myanmar Laos media and digital head, said the marketing strategies targeted towards Gen Z should be more digital-driven as they’re exposed to the Internet since infancy.
“We should look into popular platforms among the group such as YouTube, TikTok or even gaming space such as Roblox.
“As this segment of the population is interacting with different platforms at a very fast pace, for example TikTok built stickiness towards short video content, we need to identify what is the latest trend that appeals to them yet, ensuring that it brings us a healthy return on investment.
“This is because they may be too young to make purchases of large basket value at present time,” Javed said. Mondelez and Unilever are council members of the MAA.
To be able to attract the Gen Z, especially in the post-Covid-19 pandemic, Tune Talk Sdn Bhd CEO Ameen Amaendran said marketers need to pivot their marketing strategy more efficiently.
“As there are so many product options on different platforms to accommodate their needs out there, the user journey plays a big role in making them convert to a specific brand. An ad may attract them but if it takes a long duration for them to complete a transaction, they will be most likely to bounce.
“Besides that, marketers also need to offer different types of payment methods because the Gen Z prefer to use e-wallets and ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ services.
“Lastly, just like their craving for instant gratification, they will also want to receive their orders instantly. So, free and express shipping are one of the major factors that will affect their purchase behaviours.
“If they are able to earn more value in a short period of time, the more confident they are about the particular purchase or brand,” Ameen noted.
As the Gen Z tend to compare prices and check online reviews to ensure the products’ quality before purchasing online, Ameen said marketers have to ensure consumers’ complaints are addressed and reviews are acknowledged on a daily basis.
Tune Protect Group Bhd chief partnership and eCommerce officer Janet Chin said the company’s marketing and advertising efforts are highly digital-centric, in line with the high digital adoption among the Gen Z and millennials.
“These efforts include, among others, deploying a smooth user experience with well-thought of user interface and user experience, ensuring a user-friendly website as well as via the Tune Protect mobile app.”
She said the company’s purchasing process is simple with only three minutes to buy, three minutes to claim and 100% digital.
“The essence for us in deploying this digital marketing strategy is that it helps us to simplify our consumers’ experience, in line with our tagline, ‘Insurance Simplified’, which in turn will result in a pleasant journey for our customers.”
Other digital marketing efforts which are essential in today’s world, Chin added, include influencer marketing, email and social media marketing, bite-size video production supplemented with relevant offline channels.
“What we intend to achieve via these holistic digital marketing tactics is to generate greater brand awareness, attract potential millennials and Gen Z customers, keeping them engaged constantly with lifestyle propositions which suit their life stages and grow with them throughout their journey by offering relevant protection to them,” said Chin.
To grab the attention of today’s Gen Z, the Association of Accredited Advertising Agents Malaysia (4As) president Andrew Lee said brands need to be visual, mobile-compatible, interactive, personalised, use influencers, leverage the power of video and embrace on-demand communication.
“Brands also need to have a meaningful purpose and the ability to provide a solution to a problem that the Gen Z worry about,” he said.
Lee, who is also Havas Malaysia group managing director, added: “This is a generation who knows everything. The ease of accessing information has shaped the way this generation engages with brands and makes purchase decisions.
“They often complain that brands don’t take them seriously enough. Brands are warned not to underestimate this generation as they had done to the past generations.”
Datuk Johnny Mun, who is senior adviser of the 4As and Oxygen Advertising managing director, said among the challenges, marketers will need to understand and master the changing consumption behaviours of this well informed generation to reach them in the most effective and efficient way.
“They are also a more impatient lot as they literally have information at their fingertips and will be less tolerant than the millennials and certainly baby boomers in regards to stale content.
“They need constant newsiness and updates in whatever information they consume to excite them and to keep them at par with their peers.
“Social media is their main go-to source and plays a big part in influencing their decisions.”
Darren Yuen, CEO of Initiative, felt that Gen Z does not just form a segment as consumers for the brand or product, but are also willing curators of content for the product.
That is why cultural affinity and being agile over time allows greater brand positivity, he said.
“Getting the cultural nuances of Gen Z completely wrong could prove to be a big challenge from a marketing perspective.
“Brands should be careful about assuming what Gen Z are, versus the reality of how or what they really are, as they would be less forgiving than the millennials or Gen X,“ he said.