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Generation Z and emailing: how can brands (still) meet the expectations of Generation Z via emailing?

15/03/2022

Updated article
- the 7/04/22 following the live given on this subject!
- on 25/04/22 with the link of the thesis in download!

I have already dealt with the subject of generation Z in a previous article as a result of the interviews I do during the courses I lead.

But here, we'll go one step further: one of my hats is to be a thesis supervisor. Last year, Jeanne and Morgane contacted me to supervise their thesis on the theme: "Emailing and Generation Z" with the following problematic:

How can brands (still) meet the expectations of Generation Z via emailing?

This thesis is so rich in lessons that I wanted to share them during a live session with Jeanne and Morgane.

Generation Z: a real challenge for brands

Attracting this generation is a question of sustainability for companies. "If we miss out on the Instagram generation, we won't have a business in less than 30 years", said Jennifer Jorgensen, vice president of the Häagen-Dazs brand. Indeed, this generation represents 32% of the world's population, THE largest consumer segment. So, let's get started!

Generation Z represents individuals born between 1997 and 2012. Individuals who are ultra-connected, addicted to social networks and mobile applications. They want to be addressed mobile-friendly. They are wary of advertising. It is estimated that 48% of them have an adblocker.

It is very difficult to get their attention. A generation that is difficult to satisfy and where brands must do proof of originality to stand out. They are savvy and demanding. They will not hesitate to question the word of brands and post a negative review. Generation Z expects brands to be able to manage conflicts. They leave a brand very quickly when it no longer meets their expectations.

Nevertheless, if they are loyal to brands, they feel that brands should reward their loyalty. They will seek to consume more responsiblys by learning about the origin of the products, the problems caused by the production and the working conditions. Nevertheless, they continue to consume fast-fashion brands. They want to change their look regularly and they are on a tight budget!

What about email?

To answer this question, Jeanne and Morgane interviewed 10 young people. They took the time to exchange ideas and generate super informative feedback. We translated their verbatims into recommendations for brands:

They check their emails!

They check their mailboxes very regularly: as soon as they get a notification, as soon as they have some free time, as soon as they are bored. Even if they first go to their mobile applications, they still end up opening their mailbox.

Don't despair 😉

Transparency and honesty right from the collection forms

They ALL have at least 2 mailboxes:

  • 1 boite mail “sérieuse” : elle sert à tous les emails jugés importants. Emails administratifs et officiels, liés à leur scolarité, leur recherche d’emploi, aux services de l’état et… à leurs achats réguliers. Cette boite mail est très régulièrement consultée.
  • 1 "junk" mailbox : it is used each time a site requires an email address to access it. It is less consulted than the previous mailbox but is still used.

Be upfront and honest on the collection forms to encourage them to give their "serious" email address. Display the advantages of receiving your emails (surprises, promotions, privileges, values, meaning), reassure them about the frequency and the respect of their personal data.

Transactional emails: take good care of them!

"It's super convenient: a confirmation email to tell you the status of your order, handy for tracking the arrival of the package."

"The email has to arrive within 2 minutes otherwise it bugs me!" "the other time I bought a pair of backet because I had not received the order confirmation email, so I thought my order had not been placed".

Pay attention to the content of your transactional emails! They are very read and very important to them. However, often these emails are done without much thought. Sometimes the technical teams are in charge of the content and design of these emails since they are sent from the website. Bad excuse!
So make sure your transactional emails have the same graphic consistency as your website and marketing emails. Because the designIt's very important for them!
Monitor well the deliverability of these emails. Sometimes Often, they are sent directly from the website's CMS. The CMS of a website does not have in its DNA the sending of emails so they are not very careful about the technical settings of sending. Unfortunately, I receive a lot of confirmation emails in my junk mailbox!

Post-purchase: beware of the opt-out and the timing

"I never really subscribed to a lot of stuff, but since I created loyalty cards in the stores, I get a lot of them and I'm drowned in all these emails."

"A few months ago, I sorted out my emails, so now I get less. But lately I've been buying a lot of stuff online and now I'm getting a lot of it, so I should unsubscribe."

"I haven't used the ones I just bought yet and they're emailing me back! It's a little early what."

Even though the law allows it Should the fact that he is a client automatically give us the right to communicate with him at all times? Clearly not. After a purchase, ask them for their consent before integrating them into the "Newsletter" database.
Exclude the segment "Buyers under 30 or X days old" when sending your product emails.

Content: promotion (in full), humor and creating links

That's all!

Promo, promo, promo!

They are on a tight budget.

Nothing special to say. Brands know how to draw promo 😉

Create a link

ALL of them say that the only emails they read are from brands they "like". There is a clear difference in their minds between emails from lambdas brands and emails from brands they really care about. They like follow someone or a brand. They are used to "following" with social networks.

"It's always for them, to sell what. It's good for them if it works but it's never for us."

"Today's emails are just to get the customer to buy your product from you, it's not to create a real relationship like you can have with a guy in a store, even with all the algorithms in the world, you won't be able to create that bond it's a lure!"

For a brand, creating a link means speak truthfully, be authentic, share your vision, your convictions, explain your decisions, your actions... Many companies do not have a tone of voice, do not share their vision, are afraid of transparency. They are wrong. Young people love it! We often talk about storytelling. Shouldn't we include in the CRM team someone who knows how to write? who has that talent? who embodies that tone of voice? Shouldn't we better integrate the technical and customer relations departments with the CRM department? Since this generation is very attached to transactional emails and delivery tracking emails. The tone of voice should be transpiring through all emails whether they are transactional, marketing or after sales. All these services target the same customers after all!

They want to laugh!

"Humor is a big plus when it comes to standing out from the crowd. Something out of the ordinary!".

"A little bit of a funny tone is still nice."

?? Let go! or have your emails written by someone imaginative, creative and daring! Have confidence too! Even if it seems a bit too borderline... let it be! It's just an email after all!

Email design: no blah, visuals and not too many colors...

They scan emails, they don't read them. They go very fast. They want "visuals that make you laugh serious".

"It's hell their email, you have 15,000 words, the colors just make you want to throw up, you have an epileptic fit when you look at your screen what."

"I value the image of the brand, it has to look good!"

To have coherence and beautiful emails, the design of the emails must strictly respect the web graphic charter. It is therefore necessary to create a design system email with beautiful content blocks that feature beautiful visuals, large images. In addition, brands have to produce more and more emails in droves. If you have an email builder, the email system design must absolutely be integrated to avoid errors.

Personalization in emails: subtlety first!

"It's either not personalized or too tracked."

"Some people do good things but don't go all the way! Like they put Hello Lisa on you and then they offer you products for men!"

"Product recommendations + accumulated points balance, that's really good, you know what you can spend with them".

"They put the first name I find it impactful." "As a result, you inevitably stop on it since you see your first name."

Even though they know it very well, they don't like to feel too tracked. They like the recommendation of complementary products but not the recommendation of products they have seen, that's too much tracking.

The winning combo: personalization of complementary products + promotion + points balance. The first name character: an old classic that still works.

They are over-solicited

Of course they do. They ALL say they get too much email. They are "drowned".

"The number of emails I get overnight, it's outrageous!"

"I find it hyper insistent, I don't respond to emails and they keep sending me emails when I hardly read them."

Do not send emails to inactives or review the way your inactives are calculated. Since opening is not a reliable indicator, base your emails on the absence of clicks (and/or conversions) during several mailings over several months. Send an email highlighting the fact that you're sending great promotions and it would be a shame if they unsubscribed.
Do not send emails between 10pm and 6am. In your scenarios, make sure that this time slot is excluded from the sendings.
But:
If we push the reflection further and consider that almost half of them have an adblocker, how to calculate the inactives?

They sort it out!

"I unsubscribed from emails I wasn't interested in."

"It's still a pain in the ass to put emails in the trash."

"The best part is being able to choose by brand if you want to receive notifications on the app or by email."

Well... I think that here it will be necessary to put itself at the preference center. Even a simple thing to start with that you will evolve later on.

More interaction between emails and social networks

They are born with social networks and they really connect to them all the time.

"The brands that I'm really interested in, I'm going to see them on direct social media, I'm not going to subscribe to their emails."

"It would be nice to get an email when the person starts their stream."

"Today everything happens on social networks, everyone is on everyone's networks"

"If I want to see brand news, I go to Instagram."

Hum... I'm stumped... Maybe play more with the "Custom Audience" module of social networks from the routing tools. It seems to me that this kind of practical module is under-exploited. Otherwise wait a few months, I'll get some students on it, it's a good thesis topic 😉

Shopping cart abandonment email and retargeting email make... splash

"It's clumsy and dishonest, you feel tracked and then it makes you try to catch the customer to pay what."

"Don't remind me I'm poor I get it!"

"It's hyper intrusive, especially when you get them after three hours."

"With this kind of email, I feel like a fish, like I've taken the bait and now he's trying to lure me to him, a little bit like forcing me, I almost want to say "oh yeah, you're really trying to fool me? OK, well, I'll remove the basket and I'll leave!

The cart abandonment email is THE pet peeve of ALL the people surveyed. They feel tracked and they don't like it! And then, they will buy when they can buy! And it's not because they put items in the cart that they wanted to buy, it was just for the fun of it.

The cart abandonment email may not be a priority to implement.
Don't do a follow-up on your abandonment emails or be subtle (complementary products rather than abandoned products)

Birthday: they like it but with a promo!

"That's not bad, if and only if you get an exclusive promo!" "if it's just to wish you a happy birthday, well, it's a useless email".

Make it a priority! Offer a promotion! Get them excited! Script it: before the birthday, on the day and after the birthday!

Openness really doesn't mean much anymore

"You get the email, you just open it to remove the fat, to remove the notification actually.'

Basic, openness is a biased KPI because the opening is "technical" (as soon as the images are loaded, the router counts an opening). The opening can be "involuntary". There are (almost) no more openings on iOS.
So: the opening rate should no longer be a reliable KPI (prefer the click rate).
In your A/B tests, prefer the number of clickers as the winning KPI.
In your email scripts or follow-ups, don't rely on "openers, non-openers" type follow-ups anymore.

Conversion: should it really be an indicator?

In the interviews, no young people said they bought directly from an email. It is more what they see on social networks or mobile applications that make them want to buy.
But, if they know that brands regularly send promotions via email, then yes, it will entice them to buy. But they won't necessarily use email to buy.

Should the conversion indicator be more important than the click? Certainly not.

Sense, sense, sense!

"No, but it's completely stupid, we're talking about carbon footprint. Ok. Our companies ask their employees to send as few emails as possible, to display in the email signature that the email must be deleted once it is read. And on top of that, they stuff marketing emails that have no use! Just because they have to send what, because they have to make the number. Because you understand that the competitors are speaking, so you have to speak up too. And you have the CSR telling you "ah no, you mustn't push to over-consumption."

"All the companies in our time want to be eco-friendly, like we are green! We absolutely have to respect all the commitments we made during the climate agreement, we have to reduce by 4 by 2050, so stop sending hundreds of thousands of emails to everyone, except that if you do that, you lose incredible market shares, so you lose your power and therefore it's not feasible on the business plan."

Bam! The truth is coming out of the mouths of Generation Z.
Support the Email Expiration Date project.
Do not send emails to your inactives.
Exclude from your shipments buyers who are less than X days old.
Make sense, debate internally, with your leaders, shake things up!
Even if email is obviously a micropile in this whole messAwareness must be everywhere and by everyone (not only in CSR).

This article completes this other article that I wrote a few weeks before.

The participants

Jeanne Redo works at Aigle as an Account Manager E-business. Her previous experiences: Clarins, Montblanc and TipToe.

Morgane Vesval works at the Maison du Whisky. His previous experiences: Lacoste, Edgewell Personal Care, Kronenbourg.

Marion Duchatelet She advises Badsender's clients in their emailing strategy and in the choice of their tools. She organizes master template design workshops for LePatron email builder. She writes articles, hosts live shows, does training with Badsender but not only that, she jumps on all good ideas to make sure they become reality. She never gives up, never! She wants to understand everything, EVERYTHING!

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