Loyola University Chicago

Quinlan School of Business

Marketing class helps a global agency understand GenZ

Marketing class helps a global agency understand GenZ

Mine Dafiaghor (BBA '19) reflects on his experience with the MintelxGenZ pilot project and his hopes for the future.

This summer, a Quinlan marketing class helped a global marketing intelligence agency understand an entire generation.

This unique opportunity – called the MintelxGenZ pilot project – was the brainchild of Professor Stacy Neier Beran and Jeannette Ornelas (BBA ’13), a senior digital marketing analyst at Mintel and a former student of Neier Beran.

The project brought together Loyola students and Mintel thought leaders to discuss what motivates Generation Z, or people born beginning in the mid-1990s to early-2000s. Read the insights about marketing to GenZ →

Here, Mine Dafiaghor reflects on his experience in the pilot project.

Onward LU

By Mine Dafiaghor (BBA ’19)

First impressions

When I started typing this reflection, I wondered how many alumni were actually paying attention when Loyola writing center representatives showed up in their UCWR class. I’ll be the first to admit that I wasn’t. I remember protracted explanations on appropriate research methods, citations, and database resources that all sounded so cumbersome to me as an 18-year-old freshman living for the weekend.

It wasn’t until my sophomore year when I needed information from Mintel for a marketing paper that I realized those writing center reps may have been on to something.

From then on, I became very acquainted with Mintel, but I never would have guessed how interactive that relationship would become.

MintelxGenZ pilot project

Fast forward to my final course before graduating from Loyola, which was a retail marketing class taught by Dr. Stacy Neier. At this point, I’ve decided on a market research career path, but didn’t know what my next steps would be. Dr. Neier informed me of a pilot program between Loyola and – believe it or not – Mintel.

Students like me would participate in weekly discussions on how Generation Z approaches retail, finance, streaming, beauty, and health, to name a few. The goal of the MintelxGenZ program was to highlight the next generation’s consumer preferences.

Generational differences

Generation Z is such a new age cohort, most people don’t think about what distinguishes them from Millennials. This program taught me that this new generation is a more refined generation than the one before it. Both cohorts are more likely than older generations to align their consumption habits with their values. Both prioritize diversity and inclusion and are also willing to spend more on value and sustainability than Baby Boomers and the Gen X cohort. However, these tendencies appear to be more exaggerated in Gen Z consumers than Millennials.

I believe this stems from a greater sense of urgency that didn’t exist for Millennials. Millennials grew up with a strong economy and an optimism that they would be more successful than their parents’ generation. While Millennials lived through the war on terror and the financial crisis, Generation Z was born in it, and these socioeconomic circumstances dramatically altered their outlook on consumption. This makes them work harder and be more realistic in their approach to social progress.

For example, my biggest takeaway from the program is the paradox between how much value Generation Z places on social responsibility and how much they compartmentalize politics in the same breath. They use consumption as a tool for social change more than politics because they recognize that their consumption habits fund the corporations that fund political campaigns. As America continues to grow disenchanted with its current democratic process, Gen Z is using consumption to redefine how Americans vote for their interest.

Engaged teaching inspires future

As much as I was learning about consumer behavior in the MintelxGenZ program, I’m blessed to say that I was learning even more about myself in Dr. Neier’s online retail marketing course. I’m forever thankful to her for being the most available senior lecturer on campus and inspiring me to hone my writing skills and embark on a career in market research.

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