100 Days of Pop: Episode 11

On day 10 of 100 days of Pop, I’m talking about this book and why it pays to be read up on youth marketing even if your consumer or user is not youth.   

The Book is The Gen Z Frequency by Gregg Witt & Derek Baird- It’s fresh off the printing press and it’s certified fresh.

Gen Z is anyone born from 1996-2011.  “The Gen Z Frequency” Is written for brand and agencies that want to learn more about how this upcoming generation is different from the previous and how to activate a product or service by understanding said differences.

I judge a book by how much meat is there-  Not just explaining, but telling you where to start and the process to bring those ideas to life.  The Gen Z Frequency is rad because it’s more of a youth marketing playbook then it is a business book.  It packs decades of stories, conversations and work that doesn’t just dig into who GEN Z is and what behaviors and ideas unite them but how to bring those insights to life in the real world-  Research, planning, activating, partnering- All covered in here and I’ll be stealing a ton of it.

pop-culture rises up from the youth so any Pop-Marketer MUST have a grasp on the current Zeitgeist with kids from 15-30.  So it’s no suprise that a lot of the content can play for both youth as it does for someone wanting to integrate with pop-culture or utilize pop-marketing techniques to earn audience attention.  

Witt writes about 3 key behaviors that permeate throughout successful youth marketing.

Brands that want to succeed Listen more than they speak, they co-create with their users and they don’t have commitment issues-

Brands that want to resonate with youth should ALWAYS be listening and always have their ears on.   Not listening when you have a question that needs answering, but they build out a process that consistently is dredging the EETHER through qualitative or ethnographic research, social media and search data, and more and more from youth panels and social influencer Q&A where marketers can have constant dialogue with their users.
If you’re making any decisions solely based on what your C-suite or client’s kids think is cool or not or on research that you downloaded from adweek, these are signs that you need a listening strategy, not a silver bullet.
Imagine the empowerment that comes with knowing you have your consumer behind you in the decisions that your brand makes.

Co-Creation is a no-brainer. Building content, products, events, experiences in partnership with influencers or brands that resonate with your consumer or even your consumer themselves. The era of going down in the basement and coming up with the idea in your hands like rafiki presenting simba in Lion King is dated, even dangerous. Brands that want to cater to youth know that it’s ok to color outside the lines and that they don’t have to move the ship all by themselves.  Share the burden and switch it into a value proposition.
The tough part here isn’t that the idea is right, but it’s building the mechanisms and putting the processes in place to be able to co-create.  It’s knowing where to start and how to navigate the uncharted waters of this partnership. Don’t be afraid to ask for help on building these structures into your marketing plan.  That’s the consulting that I do for brands for a living, but if you don’t have the budgets and your in a small biz or bootstrap startup, start by buying this book.

And finally brands that want to attract the youth market and GenZ gotta learn how to commit. I believe the largest failure of brands to be able to engage in culture is that they see it as a campaign or an event.  They believe that if they want to attract those consumers that are in music culture that they can just buy a sponsorship at Coachella- write a check and be done. If they want to attract gamers, they give some XBoxs away to introduce lobster fest or their new pretzel bun.  That’s not how it works and those things are going to lead to burning lots of cash and resources with little return on investment and zero equity built into the culture.
If you want to do it, you gotta do it right, or just don’t do it.  Equity, trust and return on investment is built over time. Your plan must be a constant be above campaigns.  The brand needs to make it bullet proof- It needs to rise above the marketing team and CMO.

Writing this episode was kind of a challenge. There’s so much more to discuss on youth and generational marketing.  

I’m having Greg on The Explicit Content Podcast soon and we’ll discuss more of it but for sure we need a few more episodes on the subject.

Thanks so much for listening today and if you’re interested in youth marketing or Pop-Marketing, pick up the book or at very least follow Greg on the social webs. And with that-  I’m Joe Cox the Pop Marketer and I’ll see you on the next episode of The Pop 100- Thanks!

Joe Cox