The multifamily industry has spent countless hours the past several years diagnosing the tendencies of millennials. But just as the industry has started to understand this diverse generation, a new one is entering the market – Generation Z. Gen Zers are even more tech-savvy than their millennial predecessors and are the first generation to grow up exclusively in the digital age.
Members of Gen Z, born in 1995 or later, have never experienced a world without mobile devices—or texting. They grew up with Facebook and left the social media platform for better options. According to Forrester, 34 percent of teens think Facebook is for “old people.” Facebook doesn’t provide the customized or private experience Gen Zers expect from the brands they engage with via social media. They are more likely to use Snapchat and Instagram for their direct messaging and temporary content.
As Gen Z begins leasing apartment homes, marketers need to recognize these changes and communicate through the channels they use and in the ways they demand. Here are a few tips:
Text – Don’t Call
Communication preferences continue to change across all demographics, but the text evolution is even more magnified for Gen Z. Think mobile first because, Vision Critical has found, Generation Z spends an average of 26 hours per week on their mobile devices.That means they’ll probably search for your community on their smartphone rather than on a desktop. Marketers should make certain that information about their communities is clear and mobile optimized. If Gen Z can’t find the right information within 10 minutes, they are likely to move on to the next community.
Effectively Track the Renter Journey
It is no secret that the multifamily industry has regularly been behind the technology curve, but it is catching up in some arenas—including, notably, lead tracking software. It has become paramount to effectively track today’s fast-moving prospects during their renter journey. If you haven’t done so already, implement technology that can effectively track and manage leads and has the flexibility to evolve with prospect behavior. Be sure to track the various touch points of each prospect to improve conversion ratios and help predict the paths future renters might take.
Message Consistently, Monitor Effectively
Generation Zers are very adept at spotting “brand fraud.” For example, they expect to see negative reviews alongside positive because negative reviews add a layer of authenticity, and they will view them in context. Rather than working to eradicate negative reviews completely - every community is going to have a few disgruntled renters - spend your energy on monitoring and responding to all reviews.
In addition, be consistent with your marketing message across all social channels as well as your community website, because Gen Zers will notice inconsistencies. Bear in mind that this demographic will scour several channels when making a decision and will notice when your tone or content changes dramatically from place to place.
The industry must evolve with the renter. By keeping pace with the changing habits of new generations, you can gain a competitive advantage over your peers and close more leases.