Anders Parment: Generation Z – Challenge or Opportunity for Marketers?

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Anders Parment, lecturer and research fellow at Stockholm's Business School at Stockholm University, conducted a webinar focusing on the significance of understanding Generation Z for marketers.

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Generation Z - Challenge or Opportunity for Marketers webinar slides (PDF)

Anders Parment, lecturer and research fellow at Stockholm's Business School at Stockholm University, conducted a webinar focusing on the significance of understanding Generation Z for marketers. Anders highlighted the emergence of Generation Z, born between 1995 and 2010, as a distinct group of consumers, coworkers, and students, requiring a deeper understanding to effectively engage with them. He emphasised the importance of research and comprehension of generations and their relevance to societal changes and market dynamics. He highlighted the role of collective memories and the formative coming-of-age years, shaping individuals' values and behaviour for a lifetime. 


Generational differences and marketing 

Anders discussed the implications of generational differences in consumer preferences, with examples such as automotive brand perceptions among different age groups. He emphasised the need for marketers to adapt their strategies based on generational perspectives, understanding how each group perceives various aspects of life. He also highlighted the need to urge businesses and educators to stay vigilant about societal changes, given the dynamic nature of contemporary issues such as environmental concerns and geopolitical shifts, to effectively address the evolving needs and preferences of different generations in the market. He stressed the importance of integrating generational insights into marketing strategies to navigate the complexities of today's consumer landscape successfully. 


Generation Z and the pandemic 

Anders discussed the significant impact of the pandemic on generation Z, emphasising its potential long-term effects on their values and preferences. He highlighted how the pandemic led to increased worry about the future among young individuals, along with feelings of loneliness and boredom, exacerbated by periods of lockdown in many countries. He stressed that the pandemic had direct and indirect effects on the labour market, leading to job losses and a shift in values among individuals, which would in turn affect employer preferences. 


Working against polarisation 

Anders addressed the issue of polarisation in society and its influence on the younger generation, noting a shift towards more naturalistic movements in many countries. He advocated for a more open-minded approach to diversity, suggesting that segmentation based on preferences could exacerbate polarisation.  

“The role of the university is to contract polarisation, not make it stronger.”  

He cautioned against relying solely on consultancy reports for understanding the future, noting their tendency to present biased or overly optimistic projections.  


Changes in the labour market 

Anders discussed various challenges and transformations in the labour market.  

He talked about the changes in work attitudes and preferences among young people, including a greater emphasis on flexibility and a lower threshold for changing jobs, along with the evolving role of social networks in the workplace. One notable issue highlighted was the impact of digitisation on employment dynamics, particularly concerning the gig economy and the rise of digital platforms. He called attention to the changing nature of work conditions and professions, emphasising the need for adapting to emerging trends and leveraging data to understand evolving societal needs.  

"We have to learn to know the new generations in order to understand what will happen in the emerging society, and also follow general trends." 

Finally, Anders addressed the evolving preferences and expectations of different generations regarding employment, emphasising factors such as work-life balance, social impact, and the importance of regular feedback. He also highlighted the growing influence of digital platforms and the potential challenges posed by their dominance in shaping consumer behaviour and market dynamics. Anders concluded by stressing the importance of adapting to these changes and harnessing the strengths of each generation to navigate the complexities of the modern labour market effectively.  

“We'll have a great opportunity to learn a lot about society, and also have a nicer and happier life.” 


Q&A session 

During the Q&A session, Anders discussed the potential impact of generative AI over the next years, highlighting transformations in various job sectors, including education and insurance. Parment emphasised the importance of education and skill development in adapting to these changes, stating,

"It will be even more important to be a skilled person, and to have a high level of education and training in the future because of this."  

Anders acknowledged the increasing digitisation of education but stressed the value of in-person interaction. The discussion also touched on the nuanced relationship between digital engagement and personal connection in marketing and teaching. He also gave examples of his memorable teaching moments as well as his favourite activities to engage students in the classroom.  


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