Why you need to talk beyond your product or service

20 December 2022
5 minutes

Gen Z-ers make up 26% of the global population and will account for 85 million US consumers by 2025. While Gen Z shares some characteristics with their predecessors, the Millennials, they also present some new marketing challenges to brands seeking to engage this lucrative demographic. 

From choosing the right marketing channels to refining your messaging, read on to discover why you need to talk beyond your product and service to win over a Gen Z audience. 

Who is Gen Z?

Gen Z refers to the generation born between 1997-2012. Its members are the most ethnically diverse demographic and considers themselves more open-minded and inclusive than previous generations. Gen Z consumers are tech-savvy and unlikely to recall a time when they didn’t own a mobile phone or tablet.

How do you market to Gen Z?

Marketing to Gen Z is not as straightforward as communicating the features and benefits of your product or service. It’s about creating a meaningful connection built on trust and integrity. Here are some tips for creating an effective Gen Z marketing strategy. 

Tip 1. Be clear about what your brand stands for

Gen Z is a progressively minded, inclusive, and diverse demographic. They value individualism and resist labels. Causes are important to this group, and they will mobilise and campaign for what they believe in. These values are reflected in their buying behaviours, with 31% of Gen Z-ers saying they would stop buying from a brand if it promoted values they did not share and 76% stating it was important to buy from businesses that celebrated diversity

No matter what your business sells, it’s vital you demonstrate authentic values and beliefs. A few sentences on diversity and inclusion on your About Us page is unlikely to cut it. Your approach to social responsibility, environmental sustainability, LGBTQ+ rights, diversity, and equality must be clearly communicated across everything you do. 

If you know there are areas you could do better in, such as increasing racial representation in your workforce, don’t try to brush them under the carpet. Own the situation and be clear that you acknowledge the issue and explain how you are going to change it. Honesty and integrity go a long way with this demographic.

Image of letters that form the word "brand"

Tip 2. Be purposeful

Following on from our previous point, Gen Z wants to buy from brands that are driven by a strong sense of purpose. Naturally, this purpose must be motivated by social good and supports your commitment to acting in a responsible and ethical way, at all times. 


Being a purposeful brand helps you to engage Gen Z-ers hearts, not just their minds. They simply won’t be interested if you are all about the profits or prioritise pleasing stakeholders. 


Alongside building trust based on the above values, being a purposeful brand is also about innovation and having big ideas. Gen Z-ers want to be inspired by their brands and to align themselves with companies they consider visionary. This could relate to the technology you utilise, the influencers you work with, the ethos of your company, the expertise of your people – or a mix of all four. Your purpose must be authentic, meaningful, and credible, and communicated clearly and consistently across all customer touchpoints.


If you aren’t sure about how to define your brand purpose, don’t worry. Gather some key members of your team and think about the following: 

  1. What is your reason for being, beyond the products and services you deliver?
  2. How do you add value to your customer’s lives and to society as a whole?
  3. What makes your approach truly different from your competitors? 


Once you have answered the above, work your responses into a kind of mission statement that communicates your brand purpose. Make sure it relates to your services and products, that it is unique and that it comes from the heart.

Tip 3. Build trust

As you will have gathered from the above points, building trust is key for engaging effectively with Gen Z-ers. In addition to demonstrating good ethics and values, marketers can also build trust by promoting wellbeing in their messaging. Seven out of ten Gen Z respondents in an Endelman survey stated that safety and security are the top priority for this demographic, which, considering the impacts of the pandemic and ongoing global political crises, is hardly surprising. 


Gen Z-ers want to know that your brand has both their best interests at heart. Whether that’s protecting their data or offering them the best quality or value, make sure you are clear about your approach to customer and societal welfare in your marketing messaging. 


Need some help defining your brand’s tone of voice? Check out our 5 tips for content creation excellence. 


Gen Z put their trust in experts over business leaders, politicians and traditional celebrities. Always cite up-to-date research from independent sources, and fact check all your articles carefully. A study by CGK revealed that good company ratings and reviews will make Gen Z customers feel confident to buy from a particular brand. Use relevant, authentic customer stories in your collateral with quotes from real people that reflect the diversity of your customer base. 

Tip 4. Use the right channels

After all your hard work refining your messaging, you need to make sure you use the right marketing channels to reach your Gen-Z audience. Naturally, social media should be a key focus, but as a report from Sprout Social found, the emphasis should be on engaging Gen Z-ers at the awareness stage of the buyer journey. 76% of Sprout’s respondents said that social media enables them to interact with brands, and 78% state they use social media to learn about new brands. Therefore, when approaching your social media strategy make sure you tell a compelling brand story, use plenty of interesting visuals and offer plenty of opportunity for intercommunication and conversation. 

Speaking of conversation, one of the most effective platforms for communicating with Gen Z-ers is messaging apps. In fact, a Facebook survey revealed that 60% of Gen Z-ers wanted to communicate more with businesses in this way. 

Email marketing can also work for Gen Z, as long as the content is entertaining, succinct and information-driven rather than a sales pitch. Over half (53%) of respondents in a study by Media Post said they would be happy to receive an email from a brand once a week. Therefore, if done well, email is a good opportunity to build that all-important loyalty and credibility with this trust-hungry demographic. 

Image of a person holding a phone with that is using different kind of social channels


We hope this article has given you plenty of ideas for how to adapt your marketing to attract a Gen Z audience. Keeping up to date on consumer trends is a challenge, and it can be hard to know if you are barking up the right tree. To make sure you keep your finger on the marketing pulse, take a look at our free State of Content Creation 2022 report today. If you would like to scale your content or need advice on reaching a new audience, get in touch to schedule a demo of the Contentoo platform.

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