Walking around Times Square at Advertising Week last month, one topic that surfaced on several panels was Gen Z — specifically, how to engage the young consumer group which now makes up an estimated 25% of the U.S. population and has somehow proved more elusive than the notoriously ad-averse, penny-pinching millennial set. At a conference where many sought to offer sage but straightforward advice, few solutions came up for the Gen Z equation. One thing that was clear was that marketers must break with traditional norms of segmenting and crafting their strategies around these young consumers — a sea change that will inevitably put strain on resources and budgets but is necessary as the age group matures into adult buyers. “In the old days, there was one segmentation — that was great and we all loved it,” said Monica Dreger, global consumer insights, Mattel Inc., on a panel. “But now we can’t do that. Now we have to have smaller, more customized, more lean segments to go through. They can’t be based on demographics anymore. “Not [age-based], not gender […] It has to be either behavioral or needs-based,” she added, noting her brand has retail segmentation, entertainment segmentation, purchasing segmentation and more. “It doesn’t help our budgets at all but at least we’re smarter and savvier in how we do things.” Read more at Retail Dive.