Millenials have been dominating the conversation as a consumer category and even more so in the world of multifamily. However, it’s now time to start talking about Generation Z. These people were born between 1998 and 2016. This means that the older ones are already in college or the workforce. If you are a landlord, it may be time to understand this up-and-coming generation.

The interesting thing about Gen Z-ers is that they have never lived without a screen in front of their eyes. PC’s were in just about every home in the United States, the iMac marked a major reboot for Apple and cell phones were part of daily life – especially since the iPhone was released back in 2007. While Millennials get a bad rap as entitled, self-centered, and shallow, Gen Z is described as technology-dependent. They are growing up in a world with many choices and have become masters at skimming information because of all they need to process.

Gen Z renters will spend more money on rent before they buy a home than any previous generation, according to a report from HotPads. The same report says they will spend 11 years renting before buying a home, one year less than Millenials. For the average 18 to 22 year old Gen Z starting out, they likely won’t be moving into a Class A or B apartment from Day 1. Regardless, A, B and C owners need to consider how to best reach Gen Z-ers and in the manner they want to be reached.

Here are 5 tips you can use to improve your communication success:

1) Be Active on Social Media – Gen Z-ers spend their time online using mobile devices more than any other device, with Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube ranking the top usage. You need to be actively involved in online conversations as they watch for interactions with others.

2) Improve Your Customer Service – Gen Z doesn’t care too much about loyalty promotions. They value customer service and quick resolution to problems.

3) Address What’s Important to Them – Gen Z-ers are passionate about making the world a better place. Focusing on what you are doing to help the environment and discussing green initiatives at your properties goes a long way.

4) Your Testimonial Advantage – Most people rely on social proof when making decisions about moving into a property and Gen Z is no exception. This is a generation that really likes watching product reviews on YouTube and will make buying decisions based on what they see.

5) Be Authentic – Most people want to connect with others that are authentic and true. Gen X-ers want to build a personal, authentic connection. This means addressing any bad reviews that may crop up online and even showing appreciation for the positive reviews. This goes a long way in terms of engagement with the community.

Generation Z will matter more than Millenials as they mature. They will not respond to the same marketing and communication strategies used on Millenials and Gen X. It is important to communicate with them and their parents – typically Gen X-ers that have strong buying power.
So if you haven’t started talking about Gen Z with your property management team, you will want to get on that.

Anyway, what strategies have you employed to get in front of Gen Z-ers? Let me know in the comments.

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