This column is authored by Arash Asli, CEO of

saas growth hacksOf all possible hacks, growth hacks reign supreme. Facebook, Uber and AirBnB are just a few of the top companies that were built by growth hacks.

Some of the top Saas Companies were, too.

Growth hacking is all about getting as many users as possible by spending as little money as possible and doing so in a way that continues to grow your business over time. Again, they key is to do so without needing to spend much of anything.

Growth hackers trade away traditional advertising in favour of more innovative (and cheap, self-perpetuating) “hacks.” Growth hacking was once considered a buzzword, but it is clearly here to stay.

While you have to shell out for the execution, growth hacking is like a gift that keeps on giving.

Top SaaS companies used these growth hacks to get them to where they are today.

1. Slack

Slack, the workplace messaging app, has earned the title of being the fastest SaaS business ever. As such they deserve a spot at the top of this list.

From its launch in February of 2012, Slack had thirty-threefold growth in a single year, up to 500,000 daily active users and getting tens of thousands of new users on board every week. It’s currently valued at over 3 billion.

Consider, too, that users are using the app more than 2 hours a day. In other words, that’s nothing short of an incredible engagement. All of this has managed to get Slack a lot of attention from investors. Naturally, it begs the question, how did they do it?

Slack did a few things very early on that provided them with a strong foundation, helping them experience this unprecedented level of growth.

First, you have to take a look at the market. Slack is an interesting one because they had a handful of competitors (Skype, for example) and yet had to simultaneously create and/or define the very market. That was because the market was poorly defined.

By “poorly defined,” we mean that offices and other workplaces were certainly using an assortment of tools to communicate, whether Google Hangouts or Skype Chat, etc, but didn’t realize their need for them.

Slack had to create the need. But, there’s more.

It wasn’t about selling an office messaging app because, as founder Stewart Butterfield pointed out on Medium, they wouldn’t have been able to do it – there wasn’t a demand for it.

Instead, Butterfield said it was about “sell[ing] the innovation, not the product,” which, for all intents and purposes, is not actually a new concept.

What they were specifically selling, according to Butterfield, was “organizational transformation.”

In other words, they weren’t selling an office messaging app, they were selling “making decisions, faster” and “75% less email” and, ultimately, in the grand scheme of things, productivity and stress relief.

More than half of Slack users didn’t even think they needed Slack or any other type of office messaging app in their lives.

Beyond creating the market and selling the innovation, what also made Slack so successful is the fact that it created a useful, high-quality product.

Slack checked all the boxes in terms of ease of use, compatibility with other platforms, reliability and, above all, focusing on its core features and doing those things really well, to near perfection.

For Slack, those three things were search (finding things easily when they were needed), synchronization – users could pick up the app wherever they were, regardless of the device being used – and lastly, quick and easy file-sharing.

As for marketing, Slack used Twitter and word-of-mouth to also hack their growth. Slack’s reliance on the freemium model also can’t be ignored. The freemium model is a classic growth hack.

In this model, users sign up for the service for free; if they want access to more features or more storage, they pay for those services.

Put all of these growth hacks together and you get nothing short of accelerated growth. Slack makes it look easy.

2. Intercom

Take a look at few of Intercom’s impressive numbers: 17,000+ paying customers, an annual recurring revenue of over 50 million and investors like Mark Zuckerberg.

They have had faster growth than Shopify, HubSpot and many other big wig Saas companies. Slack is the only company to outdo them.

If you’re not familiar with Intercom, although you probably should be, Intercom is a customer messaging app.

Just like Dropbox, as you will see (spoiler alert), they managed to hack their growth without spending nearly anything on advertising and marketing. But, how? We will get to it.

OkDork has broken a lot of this down, but a key takeaway that allowed Intercom to have such accelerated growth is through SEO and, in particular, examining its referrals. Remember, there are many tools in the growth hacker’s toolbox and SEO is just one of them.

Essentially, they have a “powered by” statement on those referral sites. In this case, they power the chat service these referral sites use.

Once that chat pops up, users can click the “Powered By” text to go to a landing page for Intercom. They combine this with dynamic keyword insertion in the headline on the personalized landing page for those very referral visitors.

This way, they use their top referral sites to attract more attention to themselves, and once people click and end up on their landing page, those visitors are greeted with dynamic keywords to increase the likelihood of further engagement.

3. Dropbox

Dropbox is now worth over 10 billion dollars as a company, which they did with very little advertising. When it comes to growth hacks, Dropbox is definitely a company with more than a few tricks up its sleeve.

Dropbox actually took a traditional marketing approach – get your customers to market for you through their referral program – and then took it up a level as growth hackers do.

The basis of their referral program was that when you referred a friend, you got to increase your own storage – in short, they incentivized their referrals.

They increased their rewards as you referred more people, and also threw in more space for the referee than if that person had signed up on their own. Next, they put their “Refer a Friend” message everywhere they possibly could.

The reason why referrals are so effective is that friends and family are ultimately much more trustworthy than traditional advertisers.

In fact, their referrals increased their signups by as much as 60 percent. As you will see, Dropbox is all about rewards and incentivizing. They also do this via social media.

For every follow on Twitter or if you connect your Dropbox account with Facebook or Twitter, you can increase your storage space by 125 MB. Users get more storage space and Dropbox gets more advertising.

Just as Dropbox is all about incentivizing, they are also all about free exposure, as you can see. Dropbox makes it easy for users to share photos with family and friends by simply copying and pasting a link. As such, they get a lot of exposure by making file sharing simple.

But, they don’t stop there. When non-users see these photos, they are also met with a little message that emphasizes Dropbox’s ease of use. It also has a call to action.

Keep in mind, too, Dropbox also capitalized on its competitors’ websites that are overrun by ads, while being cluttered and difficult to use. Dropbox solved each and every one of these problems and outsmarted its competitors.

Dropbox’s “Dropquest” – a contest that sent users on a scavenger hunt with the top winners getting free storage and other swag – also generated a lot of buzz and publicity. This was not only a win for current users (more storage) but also gave Dropbox a lot of publicity.

Lastly, Dropbox also simplified their homepage, making it very sign-up heavy. It has remained that way since the beginning. They combined their sign-home page with an easy sign-up form, which users can even do on their desktop. They followed this up with a little nudge as to how to get started.

Dropbox is clearly a pro at growth hacks, with rewards and incentivizing being at the core. Throw in outsmarting your competitors and having a sign-up heavy home page and call it a day.

4. Evernote

Evernote, the note-taker, organizer and “second brain,” has had a bumpy ride – at least in the beginning.

An investor backed out at the last minute and left Evernote with three weeks of money in order to keep operations going. That was until a single individual claimed Evernote changed his life so much that he invested half a million dollars.

Despite nearly running out of money and closing down, Evernote currently has 75 million users and 1 billion dollar valuation, getting each additional million users in almost half the time as the first.

The foundation of Evernote’s growth, above all, is simply a great product, with Evernote’s “Remember Anything and Everything” being at the heart of the experience.

Evernote serves as the user’s “second brain,” and in many ways, this echoes Slack’s innovativeness, selling something beyond itself. That is, Evernote isn’t just a note-taker or an organizer – it is your lifeblood.

A great user experience has also been Evernote’s mission from the beginning. Specifically Evernote set the bar high by creating native apps for every single platform.

They used closed beta to generate buzz, even though according to founder Phil Libin, they had never intended it as that. By the end of the beta, they had over 125,000 users. A lot of it was word-of-mouth.

Evernote also hacked their growth by using the classic SaaS growth hacking method just like Slack did through the freemium software model.

When you offer a product for free, initially you can get a lot of users, attention and, of course, people who will actually pay for your product. That’s because the value increases as you use it – at least in the case of Evernote, where it becomes part of your life.

Game apps, for example, don’t always experience as much success with the model because games only provide brief value before people get tired of them.

While the path to success wasn’t as smooth for Evernote as it was for Slack, they pulled through. These growth hacks continue to drive growth for Evernote today – the features, the word of mouth and the freemium model.

5. Bizible

Bizible offers a B2B marketing attribution and revenue planning software. They used some of the following growth hacks to raise 8 million dollars in funding. The first growth hack they used was a proactive live chat. It asks the visitor a specific question after a given period of user inactivity.

However, not all prompts are created equal. Bizible used a prompt that communicated its value in combination with a plan for capturing emails. Bizible went with “In case we get disconnected, can I have your email address?” The method results in 25% of Bizible monthly revenue, making it their second top sales channel.

Bizible also has success with warming leads before emailing them. They broke down their prospects into two categories: high-value prospects and general. For high-value prospects, they targeted companies and job titles on LinkedIn. They created custom audience lists on Facebook for their general prospects.

Bizible also sent out request a demo emails to their leads, experimenting with different strategies. Although they were reluctant to send out an email offering an incentive (in this case a $25 gift card), this email generated the most success. Larger B2B SaaS use these incentive emails as well.

Lastly, Bizible created a free tool that aligned with their paid product, getting customers’ feedback on what tool they wanted most via Bing Ads Feedback. They created it, marketed it and the whole thing ultimately resulted in tens of thousands in new annual contract value.

Bizible is quick to note, however, that they couldn’t have just created the free tool and called it a day. Marketing on Bing Ads was a huge part of their success.

The Bottom Line

The freemium model is a classic growth hack that has worked for most of these companies. But most of these companies also had a quality product to provide a strong foundation.

What growth hacks is your company using? Let us know in the comments below – we’d love to hear from you.

Have ideas to share? Submit a post on iamwire

A famous line from the flick Field of Desires whispers, “If you construct it, they will come.” But when it concerns getting a healthy and balanced portion of net web traffic, many accounting companies discover that merely having a web site isn’t the trick.

While a great website is crucial as an online, today’s internet marketing for accounting professionals demands a more thorough program than regurgitating a site as well as forgetting it. You additionally require to understand content marketing, social media advertising and marketing, email advertising and marketing, and also extra. The following tips must help a struggling online marketing plan find new life.

Internet Marketing for Accountants Starts with a Strategy

Yes, you require a marketing plan. Equally as an excellent lobster bisque needs a recipe, so also does your bookkeeping firm. You can not expect to produce organisation online unless you have a plan.

  1. Make a note of objectives, budget, and which networks (platforms) you intend to pursue.
  2. Don’t forget to include a section regarding just how you will determine success. Tossing loan right into the web space without method for understanding if you’re acquiring grip or otherwise appears kind of silly.
  3. Do not get captured up in the style or fretting that you’re not an advertising professional. If you think wrong, you’ll understand quickly enough

When it concerns online marketing for accounting professionals, the huge factor is to jot down what you’re going to do and after that venture out there and also do it.


Tune Your Website

Ideally, you recognize that every accounting firm needs a website. And also it shouldn’t look like it roamed out of 2005. Go with a clear, tidy, specialist look as benefits the bookkeeping industry. Is it mobile pleasant? If not, make it so as soon as possible. Majority of all web searches are conducted through a mobile device.

That’s the reality in today’s globe.

If your website is not responsive (catchphrase for use on a smart device), you require to get it in this way. Quickly. As well as unlike days passed, the internet site itself is not the end-all objective. Think of it much more as a channel to capture web traffic from all your various other online channels as well as generate recommendations.

Web Content Marketing for Accountants

Apart from accounting professionals, nobody actually understands the field of accountancy. That’s where content advertising and marketing comes in. It’s an excellent method to demonstrate your experience in the subject and also drive website traffic to your internet site by responding to typical questions in a (hopefully) interesting way.

Right here’s just how it ought to go:

Locate a person on a team that’s a good writer. Sorry, however, it appears that accountant composing often has a tendency to be the reverse of amazing and interesting. What you will do is publish well-written, interesting articles to the site a couple times weekly. Each article ought to be targeted around major keywords. Do this right as well as Google will reward you with ever-higher internet search engine positions as your archive of articles grows.


Social Media Marketing / Management

Advertising and marketing through social media sites is a red hot subject these days, no doubt. The technique is to see to it you’re getting traffic back to the site via your initiatives as well as aren’t just building up huge followings that do not profit your company financially.

If you have actually been taking note, you possibly understand that the “it” social media sites flavour of the day modifications frequently. For now, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, as well as Instagram are all preferred networks.

The trick is not to upload meaningless images of the workplace Christmas party. Your updates should include web links back to the posts you’re uploading on the website. If your web content is engaging and also helpful, a little promo will begin the fire as well as provide a big audience of visitors and potential customers.


Email Advertising

No matter the market, the cash remains in the listing. You need to be making use of every (non-spammy) suggests available to collect email addresses from individuals that have actually shared a rate of interest in your services.

Develop an e-newsletter loaded with details comparable to the short articles you post to the website, just much shorter. Send out a brief, punchy volume often, possibly every 2 weeks or when month-to-month. The goal is to keep your company’s name in the reader’s brain when it comes time to locate a bookkeeping professional.

As far as content, send tax obligation or small company ideas. Anything you assume readers will certainly find intriguing. I urge clients to keep a list of the most common inquiries they’re obtaining. If someone was enduring sufficient to ask, several others are probably wondering the exact same thing.


The Bottom Line

It’s quite feasible that you don’t have anybody on the team with the knowledge needed to undertake a reliable internet marketing campaign. No big deal. That’s when it’s time to bring in experts who have dealt with internet marketing for accounting professionals. You might not have the offered funds to employ a full-time marketer but keeping a specialist to get you to establish as well as running is responsible be extra budget friendly. And also if you ask the best concerns, you can likely learn sufficient while she or he is there to continue the campaign by yourself after they leave. Count on us. It’s simpler than accounting. You simply require to obtain the marketing structure right.

As a business, how likely is it that potential customers will come through your door?
The whole point of an online presence is to entice customers into your store, your leasing office or your showroom so you can convert them to paying customers rather than just browsers online.

Further, nothing is more frustrating as a customer than finding out that you have been given the wrong information about where a business is located. As a customer, how likely are you to give this company your business? Not very. In fact, according to Placeable, 73% of consumers stated that they lose trust in a brand when the online listing shows incorrect information.

1. Missing hours of operation information can be a dealbreaker

There are many things that people look for in listings, whether they are looking at that search engine on a PC or on a mobile device. The top piece of information that most people look for is the hours of operation, since their search is likely for a business that they frequent quite often.

In fact, in a study conducted by local data aggregator Localeze, hours of operation were noted as the most helpful feature in selecting a business during local search. 76% of respondent reporting that they expect this information when searching and 61% believe that it is a feature that helps them to select a business.

Even if people are new to a business, it doesn’t give people a good impression if the business hours are not listed and they don’t know that it’s only open from 11 a.m-6p.m. Tuesday-Saturday.Imagine that potential customer who is ready to spend their money in store, but shows up on Monday at 7 p.m. only to find it closed. That customer is likely going to do another search on a mobile phone to find a different store and spend their money there.

2.You can’t spell NAP data (and score a citation) without an (Address)

While most people would assume that the number one reason people do a search online is for the address or location of a business, the address is actually behind hours of operation as the second most desired information. But, of course, the whole point of being in business is to make money doing what you love or selling what you love. And that happens by attracting foot traffic and increasing customer base.

It bears repeating that if a business address is incorrect on listing sites such as Google or Bing, then customers will not be crossing the threshold. A simple thing such as the wrong number on a street address, or even the wrong town, can mean that a customer cannot find you. The US Postal Service relies on a complex system of checks to verify and standardize addresses, and many of the search engines will default to the USPS for correct mailing addresses.

What this means for the average new business owner is that unless a business is in an established location, getting the correct address on their listing means that both the address from City Hall and the information on USPS must be consistent. If USPS doesn’t recognize that address, then a business owner must contact them to verify their new address and get that information updated on USPS’s online database.

3. Local searchers are mobile creatures

According to Localeze, mobile-phone-based searches drive in-store purchases with more than 75% of searches ending in a purchase—if a business has their listing details correct. Now if half of the people searching for a business listing on a local search engine, such as Google Local/Maps, can’t find the store’s business listing details, then the business is going to lose 100% of their business.

For ease of use for potential customers, some of those details need to be as readily available as possible in a mobile-friendly manner. This can be accomplished with a responsive website that supports cellphone and tablet-specific versions.

4. Updated, accurate websites still serve as a first impression

At the same time, more than 60% of searches on PC platforms such as website portals, Internet Yellow Page directories and local sites have a similar chance of ending in a purchase. While mobile searches are becoming more of a standard in where a customer searches, a business owner should not discount the power of a fulsome, consistent and accurate listing that is reflective of the business website.

Any listing should be linked to the business’s website and feature the exact same information, but more of it. While a website should be enough to entice a customer to visit or buy, if those inconsistencies exist, then trust issues may arise in a business’s practices before a customer ever crosses their threshold.

5. Local searchers mix it up across multiple devices, situations and times

People who search for listings are doing it in many more ways than when the Internet first coalesced into existence about two decades ago. In that time, we went from working on desktops to laptops to PDAs to Blackberries to Apples to tablets—and in each iteration, the methods of search have changed.

However, that has slowed over the last five years or so as web developers realize that they need to be smarter. Rather than designing three different sites for three different platforms, they have created websites that are scalable to the search device. And that has been helped along by the proliferation of types of devices in use everyday.

According to Pew Research Center, In 2015, smartphone ownership in America was at 68%, with tablet and computer ownership at 45%. Statista says that almost half of American adults use their smartphones the most to search for local information online, the other half being split between computers (40%) and tablets (11%). According to Localeze, like the types of devices used, what we are searching for varies by the time of day and device. Entertainment is searched for during work hours on computers, restaurants during evening using phones and health/fitness evening using tablets.

The most important part of those mobile searches is accuracy. If someone cannot find your business in a local search or find inaccurate results whilst out and about, then your business has lost the chance for that browser to become a customer. So having those listings correct in all of the device formats is a must as we, and our technology, continue to evolve in the way we interact with local businesses.

6. Local search results are trusted sources of information

Last but certainly not least is the fact that local search results are considered the most trustworthy. In a study by Neustar, it was determined that these searches, such as “used games Raleigh”, are what people do the most since they put that trust in local business more than big box, big website stores.

Think about it, would you rather find a local store where you can get that latest purse in town right now? Or you can wait a week for delivery, which is four days past the event that you want it for! Local searches lend themselves to instant gratification and that interaction between browser and salesperson will convert that browser from someone who might get just the minimum to a loyal customer who feels like a million having spent a little more, but getting what they consider to be gold!

Those interactions are what lead people to local searches and the absolute necessity of getting your listings correct. Trust leads to loyalty, which leads to more business, which leads to happy customers and business owners.

And it all starts with that correct listing in that customer’s local search.


Click below to schedule a free 1 on 1 assessment of your online presence.

We’ll break it down to discover what roadblocks are keeping you from hitting your goals.

In the workplace today there are five generations; over 72 upwards (Silence), maturists, veterans and traditionalists, Baby Boomers aged 52-71, Generation X aged 36-50, Millennials, otherwise known as Gen Y aged 19-20 and Gen Z, born late 1990s aged 0-18..

ECMA Congress

Speaking at the ECMA Congress (European Carton Makers Association) in Latvia, recently, Henry Rose Lee, speaker on ‘Millennials & Generational issues in the Workplace’, said money is the number one priority for Millennials.

According to Manpower Group’s ‘Millennial Careers 2020 Vision’, Millennials are the least loyal in a job because they believe they themselves are an important brand and if they’re not happy they have the right to move on, also the internet has taught them they can be rich entrepreneurs at a young age. 

92% of Generation Z want to start their own business, 2% actually do it. Social media teaches young people the world is theirs, but change comes over time​,” said Lee. 

We know we all have to try and get on and work with each other in the workplace. What’s important is how do we get multi-generations to work together for the benefit of the whole organisation and how do we get the youngest people to perform efficiently and quickly to make money​.  

As an older generation there is something I have got which younger people don’t have; structure, stability and strategy. Experience, knowledge and skills come with time, yet younger people have a desire for innovation, novelty, variety and change. Young people like new things which is no surprise, but we could put those two things together and do something really great​.”  

According to Lee, three factors impact every generation lifecycle, (we are born, grow old, then die), and when you get to a certain age you change how you think, because we gain responsibilities when we get older, all of those responsibilities makes us think in a sensible and structured way, but when we’re young the sky is the limit, the world is your oyster. 

Structure & stability

What you find is young people don’t vote and older people don’t vote for different reasons, when I’m young I look at politicians we believe they have nothing to say to us, older generations see the other extreme they get to a certain age when they get older and they think ‘its no longer my world’, I can’t control the change, I don’t care who’s in power,” ​said Lee.  

Other factors come into play as we get older; war, politics, famine, illness, currency change, Brexit. Whatever was happening at the time you were born has a massive impact on your life, ie older people still read a car map, younger people use google maps. People hang on to the things they know younger people go for something new.​” 

There are also ‘cohort factors’ at play; ie snapchat, adding a software to your phone, something that has an impact on a small number of people, a cohort factor can become a periodic factor that can be adopted over time, such as Whatsapp.  

Very often once we become older we feel that we are not useful but we have structure and stability we have a way to read a situation differently, and they are just as powerful in the workplace​,” added Lee.

We need to encourage young and old to work together because its vital to business success, older people have emotional intelligence which gets better with age, how you manage people, your identity and assertiveness and strategic thinking on how you analyse information.​  

Millennials are least loyal and least likely to build a community in the workplace. They think life outside of work is their community, and work is not that important, If they are not happy in the workplace that is why they walk away.

The only way to address this is by trying to build a tribe within the organisation. They need a leader and a common goal. They expect regular reward and recognition at work. After six months they expect a promotion or a new project.”​ 

Mobile enabled-websites

Lee’s key hacks for recruiting Millennials include; finding their hangouts, have mobile enabled-websites, promos, explain their career path, offer regular updates on their work status and reward them, but take the issue of money off the table.  

She said Skype them via the interview process initially, then quickly move to a yes/no contract and employment because speed is everything to Millennials.

Millennials tend to go after everything online and mobile-enabled. They need to be rewarded with training offering regular upgrades on their career progress with titles​,” she said.  

She said to engage Millennials give them continuous training, feedback, mentoring, buddying, celebrate their induction, show them what good looks like in your organisation, add additional communication tools, ie Whatsapp, Instagram. 

On how to retain Millennials she said; build a tribe, set up projects for people to work together on global projects because it makes them feel more important and align your business to some key goals.  

Baby Boomers

Breaking down the difference in generations, Lee said the Silent generation born in the 1920s to 1940s are called ‘silent’ because they don’t say anything, but they have the most experience and knowledge of the world, they have lived through tough times.

Baby boomers from 1947-1966 occurred when there was a spike in birth rate after World Ware II. This generation are aged between 52-71 and statistically this generation drinks more alcohol than any of the others.

Generation X is named after a book, written by Douglas Cougland, describing a new generation of young dystopian youth. Born from the 1960s to 1980s, aged 36-51 and Millennials, born 1980s to 1999 aged 19-35. They were called that because Strauss and Howe generational theorists said they will graduate around the year 2000 in the Millennial. 



Take out your AirPods for a second. We need to talk.

For the past 10 years, my friends and I were the generational stars of the party: They called us millennials, and we were the envy and fascination of the world. Marketers craved our approval, CEOs wanted to hire us, the media fought for our attention, and parents everywhere worried that we were doing sex wrong.

It was fun while it lasted. But like a slice of avocado toast left too long in the sun, our cultural relevance has begun to rot. 2017 is the beginning of the end of the millennial era, and we are rapidly ceding influence to you, a group now dubbed Gen Z.

Some strange, exhilarating, and awful things are going to happen to you as my aging generation hands over the crown. You will be celebrated and scorned, built up and then torn down. You’ll be blamed for a series of absurd and unlikely trends that probably have nothing to do with you: If a company is failing or a TV show bombs or a weird new drug becomes popular, it’ll be all your fault.

Sometimes it felt weird, being blamed for everything that wasn’t working. But seriously, cherish every minute of it, especially when you do something good for once. You might usher in an era of lavish office perks and meaningful career paths. You may reinvent brunch. You won’t have the joy of inventing the selfie, but you’ll probably take it in an exciting new direction. You’ll almost certainly get a Time magazine cover, and an ambitious media company owned by old people will definitely declare itself your generational voice.

The oldest Gen Z’ers are turning 18 this year, and we millennials, long used to being the cool kids, can already feel your cultural power pushing us to the side. While big and deeply uncool companies once paid $20,000 an hour to learn how millennials think, they’ve now moved on to shelling out cash for Gen Z experts, frequently paying teens themselves to advise on what’s cool. Gen Z has already been declared “the next big retail disruptor,” and consumer goods companies are already getting anxious about whether you’ll buy their shampoo.

If I’m honest with myself, the writing has been on the wall for a while. While you crazy kids were busy 3D-printing fidget spinners in your school science labs, we millennials grew up and aged out. We’re getting married, buying homes, having babies, and worrying about our retirement funds. In short: Millennials are over.

It’s a hard moment for us to process. Obviously we’re a generation defined by our abject narcissism, whose self-esteem will crumble the moment we’re no longer the center of attention. But somehow, slipping into obsolescence also feels like a relief. For one, the Olds in our offices no longer look to us to explain the latest and hippest tech product or internet thing. An uncle wants someone to explain a Facebook meme this Thanksgiving? Great. My 14-year-old cousin can handle that one.

Getting old also means becoming more comfortable with yourself. I recently went to a music festival where the average age was about 16 and realized, you know what? I will probably never wear jorts over a head-to-toe fishnet bodysuit, and that’s ok. We millennials had Delia’s and the Limited Too. You, Gen Z, are doomed to endure an age of wide-leg pants and oddly cropped shirts.

Second, your youth allows you to take advantage of opportunities that will shape the course of your lives. We millennials created and mastered social media, but even Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel is a married stepdad now. Some members of your generation will undoubtedly found new companies and launch new products that will alter the world in unexpected ways — and many of you will intuitively know how to use those new products better than the rest of us. There’s an entire career to be made that way.

When I graduated into the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, one thing I had going for me was that I knew how to use shiny new internet things better than Generation X types. I could have never imagined that the job I took running a popular beer brand’s Facebook page and tweeting for one of the most loathed cell phone carriers in the country would lead to a rewarding career in media. Soon, you too will have the chance to be the with-it young person in the office, outshining and outsmarting your millennial coworkers at almost everything that matters.

So make the most of it. It probably feels right now like you’ll be young and in the spotlight forever, but remember that you too will be losing your edge in the late 2020s. As for your coming decade in power, I have one urgent request, and the future of our planet may literally depend on it: Please do not let Jake Paulrun for president.

Taylor Lorenz is a journalist and editorial strategist.


Leaders have spent so much time focusing on how to engage Millennials that most of them forget about Generation Z — the next wave of people (those born between 1995 and the mid- 2000’s) just beginning to enter the workforce.

Gen Z is already separating itself from Millennials when it comes to workplace demands. According to Accenture, the number of college graduates in the U.S. wanting to work for large companies rose 37 percent last year. They see the underemployment struggles of their Millennial predecessors and want to avoid that fate.

To appeal to a new wave of workers, employers must offer training and skills development opportunities to stand out from other recruiters and continue to attract top talent.

How to Appeal to the Next Generation

Gen Z is not entirely different from the Millennial generation. This younger class shares the entrepreneurial drive of their older siblings, with around 72 percent of current high-school students hoping to start their own companies.

Many, however, will not end up as founders of new startups, and they are fine with that fate — if their new workplaces facilitate their success. According to Adecco Staffing USA, 32 percent of Gen Z workers expect to be working in their dream job within 10 years. New college graduates name career growth as their top desire from their first jobs, with fulfilling work and stability tied for a distant second. These young workers are hungry for success, and they expect their employers to let them capitalize on that drive.

Leaders can connect to this workforce by delivering on that expectation, providing Gen Z workers the resources they need to reach their career goals. Follow these tips to position your company as a top destination for the next wave of rising talent:

1. Ask them about values and provide relevant experiences.

Discover what young workers want to do and bring them in to experience a day in the life. Steve Robertson, CEO of Julian Krinsky Camps and Programs and a Gen Z expert, advises company leaders to “Get in touch with Gen Z today. Invite employees’ children or local students to explore the workplace. Make the event meaningful for everyone by showing them career offerings. Let them react and ask them what they value.”

Sponsoring pre-professional programs can be a great way to not only train the workforce of tomorrow, but also keep your company top of mind when program graduates enter the workforce. “These events are great opportunities for Gen Z to collaborate, communicate, and create connections,” says Robertson. “They will come away feeling like their opinions matter and, in turn, you’ll be better prepared for their arrival.”

2. Establish CSR programs and charitable partnerships.

Corporate social responsibility and charitable impact appeal to Gen Z, just as they do to their Millennial predecessors. According to Marketo, 60 percent of Gen Z workers want their work to have a positive impact on the world. Look at brands like TOMS and Apple — both popular Gen Z buys — to see the types of outreach this generation admires.

3. Evaluate company culture.

Gen Z is made up of a diverse group of people, all of whom — despite their commonalities — have different motivations and desires. Create a company culture that rewards curiosity and ambition by providing the social rewards, mentorship, and feedback Gen Z craves, along with the transparency and flexibility they and Millennials both cherish.

Successful organizations today are not only building this rewarding culture, but upholding it as a key identifier for their brands. For example, the media intelligence company Meltwater designed its culture around building and reinforcing an entrepreneurial spirit in its people. This culture, represented by MER — which stands for Moro, Enere, and Respekt — is the Norwegian word for “more,” and it helps the company celebrate achievements without losing the passion to succeed.

4. Add technology to the workplace.

This new generation started using advanced technology in elementary school. Smartphones and iPads are second nature to them, and they become frustrated quickly when companies fail to address simple problems with obvious technical solutions. You won’t need to spend much time training them on technology use, but in exchange, they demand that you keep your company up to date.

5. But prioritize face-to-face communication.

In the office, where most companies now use email and apps like Slack to enable communication between co-workers, Gen Z kicks it old school by favoring more face-to-face communication. Although Gen Z workers were raised on social media, they prefer in-person conversations with their leaders. Treat them with respect by listening to their goals and ideas, then provide consistent feedback so they know their voices are heard.

Just as not all Millennials are the same, not all Gen Z workers want the same things. However, these trends indicate a shift in the demands of the next wave of workers, and companies must adapt to the new environment to attract the best Gen Z talent. Follow these strategies to address the needs of the new generation and create an environment that tomorrow’s workforce would happily call home.


The bigger the better may be a draw for a younger crowd when it comes to video screen advertising. But make it personal as well.

In a recent Kantar Millward Brown study, the most positive advertising form for young consumers — Gen Z (born in 1993 onward) and Gen Y (born in 1980 onward) — is cinema advertising.

Each of those groups gave cinema a positive 62% experience. When looking at all demo groups overall, the numbers were pretty good for cinema in general — with a 49% approval number. 

The study also notes that Gen Z numbers are up for mobile video ads in terms of approval versus 2016 — one of only two areas showing gains for any groups. Only billboard/outdoor advertising also showed an uptick versus 2016 — now at 56% for Gen Y.

Mobile video seems to have a big future. Still, overall approval is just 25% — but headed in right direction for younger demos. 

What about other advertising platforms? Many continue to register poor results — including magazine ads, online search ads, online display ads, online video ads, and mobile display ads.

One area that may be somewhat positive is traditional media. TV, outdoor, newspaper and radio ads witnessed no change versus two years ago, with good but not great approval numbers — at 44%, 46%, 43%, and 39%, respectively.

With many disruptive issues around the video advertising format — including the ability to skip digital video advertising after only a few seconds — consumers, especially young consumers, seem to have little patience.

When asked which of the following types of online/mobile advertising they remembered seeing in the last two weeks, 44% of Gen Zs said they remembered seeing some ads “too many times.” When it came to repetitive ads, Gen Y numbers were at 30%.

The study came from over 14,500 interviews among 16- to-65-year-olds between August and November 2017 in 45 countries.

While young consumers seems to understand the consumer-model dynamic — advertising will remain a key piece of their digital media world — they continue to have a relatively short fuse when it comes to overbearing ad campaigns.

Stuff that just sucks — or is seen too many times — won’t get much of a second chance. But very big and some very small personal video ads might do better.


In this post, GlobalWebIndex’s Senior Trends Analyst, Katie Young takes a look at the different social media habits of Gen Z (generally considered to be those aged 16-20) and Millennial users (those aged 21-34), and the impact this could have on brand content.

As Gen Z begin to garner purchasing power, they are now attracting the type of attention that has long been bestowed on Millennials (Gen Y). While we used to think that Millennials were the social media obsessed ones, Gen Z are taking this to a whole new level, spending longer on it daily than any other generation. But with little separating Gen Zers from the youngest Millennials in terms of age, are there noticeable differences in how these two generations use social media?

Gen Z prefer fun content over friends
While Millennial teenagers used social media to update their statuses and to see what their friends were up to, social media is more of a time-filler and content consumption hub for Gen Zers. Unlike Millennials, Generation Z are actually more likely to be using social media to fill up time and to find entertainment, than to stay in touch with their friends.

Above all, Gen Z want to be entertained in the social space. But in the age of ad-free video streaming, brand interruptions are not necessarily well tolerated. It’s imperative that brands create content that cuts through the noise and that Gen Z will want to watch and share. Red Bull is an example of a brand doing this right: it doesn’t create content around its products, it produces innovative original content that captures their customers attention. Its 7 million YouTube subscribers proves the power of this approach.

Gen Z use fewer social platforms but spend longer on them
The number of social media platforms might have grown significantly over the past decade, and even though they are an engaged bunch, Gen Z are choosy about where they are sharing their content. Despite GlobalWebIndex data showing that Generation Z spend longer each day on social media than Millennials (nearly 3 hours, vs 2 hours 39 mins), they actually choose to use less social media platforms/apps that their older counterparts (7 vs 8).

What Gen Z want for entertainment is apparent in their choice of social platforms: YouTube attracts by far the biggest Gen Z contingent. Elsewhere, they’re slightly less likely than Millennials to be Facebooking or Tweeting, but more likely to be Instagramming and Snapchatting.

Influencers beat direct brand interaction for Gen Z
Influencer marketing has become a hot go-to strategy for many brands, and there’s no better generation for this than Generation Z. Snackable, unobtrusive content is key to communicating with them, and an influencer sending out a relevant product recommendation to their following would fit the bill. The results are evident in our data, showing that Gen Z are more likely than Millennials to be using social media to keep up with their favourite celebrities, and they even prefer to follow actors than brands they like.

In contrast, a more direct brand-to-consumer approach is likely to be more effective when marketing to Millennials. Brands they like are one of their favourite accounts to follow on social, and they’re ahead of Gen Z for behaviours like visiting brand’s social network pages and sharing branded social posts. Even though each of the generations are engaged with social media, they tend to have niche needs from brands and influencers.


PSFK’s Forecast Z report examines Gen Z’s interest in a peer-to-peer marketplace and what it means for brands and retailers


  • 4 january 2018

Unlike their Millennial counterparts, we are seeing that Gen Z is more interested in purchasing items from peer-driven marketplaces as opposed to the direct-to-consumer brand model. In our Forecast Z report, PSFK Labs examines the idea of the ‘Human Marketplace’ and how brands can get involved in it instead of having it detract from their business.

Gen Z is a talented and optimistic generation. They want to create, and they don’t necessarily see themselves as participating in the traditional workforce as we know it. 50% of Gen Z already perceive themselves as entrepreneurs, while 63% of Gen Z see themselves as influencers. When compared to Millennials, 17% more of Gen Z say that they prefer to purchase items through other people instead of retailers. All of these things combine to create a generation that will not stand for more of the same, and brands need to be aware of meeting these needs or risk falling far behind.

Brands and retailers are already finding ways to implement new ideas and cater to the desires of younger consumers. Yeay, a Snapchat-style e-commerce app, provides users the chance to market products or merchandise with the hopes of promoting entrepreneurship in the younger generation. Similarly, VFiles, an offshoot of fashion and cultural publication V Magazine, is giving up-and-comers in the fashion world a chance to sell items to an influential audience, gain a following and build their own personal brands.

Brands seeking to jump on the trend of this peer-to-peer marketplace should be open to reaching out to younger consumers and working with members of Gen Z to create a symbiotic relationship. Even more than that, brands should be open to educating consumers to help instill a relationship of long-term trust.

PSFK’s  decodes the shifting priorities, values and behaviors of Generation Z. Members can download the report today, or click here to learn more about the benefits of PSFK membership.

Lead Image: Yeay


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