Next-gen appeal: Focusing your marketing to reach Generation Z.

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Date: May-June 2021
From: Journal of Property Management(Vol. 86, Issue 3)
Publisher: Institute of Real Estate Management
Document Type: Article
Length: 1,713 words
Lexile Measure: 1250L

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The year was 19 97-scientists successfully cloned Dolly the sheep, Purel entered the consumer market, Seinfeld was the top show in the Nielsen ratings, and the first members of Generation Z were just born.

With birthdates roughly between 1997 and 2012, Gen Z is the first tech-native generation, never knowing a world before the internet. Creative, culturally diverse, and entrepreneurial, they are concerned with the greater good, as well as financial security, having watched their parents' experiences during the Great Recession.

The oldest in the generation are turning 24 this year, and these Gen Zers, or Zoomers, were the fastest-growing active renter segment in the U.S. in 2020--no small feat given the tumultuous past year.

"We've got an entire group of individuals who are trying to establish themselves," says Barret Newberry, CEO of Seattle-based rental marketplace platform Leasera. "And it's been a tough year. For Gen Z and landlords, this can be mutually beneficial."

Projections show Zoomers will spend more on rent in their lifetimes than their millennial predecessors, according to a HotPads analysis. And as their influence on the rental market will only grow, shifting marketing to attract their attention is paramount. But it takes the right channels and messaging to do it successfully.

A mobile approach

As the most tech-sawy generation to date, it comes as no surprise that their phones are the best place to reach them.

Donna Schmidt, CPM, COO of Price Brothers Management in Overland Park, Kansas, says her company has zeroed in on reaching Gen Z this way through a number of digital strategies, including geofencing, a marketing strategy that involves digitally advertising to potential tenants within a certain geographic radius.

"Chatbots, virtual tours--everything we were forced to do in 2020--that all came very naturally to them," Schmidt says. "Chatbots really seem to have immediate interactions. We've added them to most of our websites, and we've added stories to all of our social media platforms."

Gen Z prefers images over text, and they lose interest more quickly than other generations, says Sherle Brown, an instructor and family and consumer sciences (FACS) faculty ambassador at the University of Georgia, who is involved in outreach marketing targeting Gen Z. "Images are good for grabbing attention, particularly images of something they emotionally connect with doing or that include celebrities or people their own age," she says.

Brown says research at the university has found that Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube channels are the most effective for reaching this audience, whereas channels such as Facebook, Google, and Twitter are better for older generations.

She acknowledges that grabbing...

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