Value-Based Marketing: How to Engage Gen Z Meaningfully

In about ten years, the Gen Z or Zoomer generation (currently aged 9-24 years) will be fully absorbed into the workforce. Right now they have an estimated $143 billion in spending power every year, and this is bound to increase as they approach adulthood. As such, organizations should assess how they should engage with this consumer class in the near- and- long-term.

Zoomers are quite a challenging group, as they hold brands to high standards and don’t necessarily respond to traditional marketing strategies. Understanding them and what they value is the key to sustained business growth.

Who are the zoomers?

Gen Z is a diverse generation of media-savvy consumers. Unlike generations Y and X, they are digital natives who spend virtually all their time online. Most Zoomers cannot recall a time without smartphones and social media. This factor alone makes them stand out, meaning that brands have to reimagine their marketing strategies.

Zoomers are also known for the "cancel culture," as they are very conscious and outspoken about social causes. Since Zoomers prefer to spend their money on brands that champion social change, they are considered value-driven buyers, meaning brand loyalty is a myth to them. They are open to expressing their dissatisfaction and are always willing to explore different products or services.

To serve this consumer class, brands need to reconsider how they position their products and services. Gen Z does- and will not respond to company-fed messaging;  they seek authenticity. Diversity, inclusivity, sustainability, and mental health awareness are among the values that Zoomers want companies to take a stand on. For instance, they are more responsive to marketing that features people in untouched photos, reflecting diversity and inclusivity regarding race, gender identity, and even body size.

Leveraging the principles of value-based marketing

Value-based marketing relies on shared values and ethics. It shifts the focus from a brands’ marketing message to its values. This means that when advertising, companies need to not only express the values that are core to their brand but also showcase how those values are reflected in their company’s operations.

For example, zoomers embrace brands that showcase social responsibility but are not deceived by performative actions aimed at appealing to them. Claiming to support social causes is not enough; brands must back their words with action. Zoomers are already mistrustful of most brands, and the old-school marketing approach of embellishment will not only fall on deaf ears but garner their wrath. Authenticity is the only way to the heart of this consumer class. 

A number of brands are taking active steps to be at the forefront of social change. Nike, for one, aims to not only highlight the value of great initiatives but is also walking the talk by manufacturing sustainable products made from environmentally preferred materials such as polyester. Nike is also using renewable energy sources in its manufacturing as an initiative geared towards sustainability.

Microsoft has also made it a point to champion mental health wellness amongst its employees. Through its initiative, Microsoft Cares, employees get access to digital, in-person, or telephone counseling, as well as workshops and support groups. This is just one example of companies starting to take mental health issues seriously in order to effect positive change.

How brands can engage zoomers

To establish meaningful connections, brands must get a deep understanding of Gen Z; they must anticipate and meet their needs to cement loyalty, and gain advocacy. Zoomers are constantly on social media and can select from a wide variety of content, much of it created by their peer group. Brands need to leverage this in their marketing approaches so they can seamlessly fit into the type of content Gen Z consumes.

The following three strategies will help brands close the expectation-experience gap with Zoomers:

  • Engage with Gen Z on their turf and terms. This generation of digital natives seeks escape in the digital realm, so they prefer immersive mediums such as games, videos, and livestreams. They also have a huge presence on digital platforms, and brands need to meet them where they are.
  • Weave purpose into the product and service. Beyond quality products and services, Zoomers also want their brands to be socially responsible. They are more likely to buy from and support brands that create sustainable products and services, prioritize mental health, and stand up for social causes.
  • Hyper-personalize services and products. Brands have traditionally been focused on economies of scale, but now they must find ways to personalize and customize their products and services. Since Gen Z consumers are value self-expression and individuality, brands need to empower them and deliver seamless experiences.

To learn more about how to better engage Zoomers, download our white paper, APAC, The Future Consumer.


Read Next
3 Ways to Improve Retail CX with Value-Based Marketing
Strategy & Insights

3 Ways to Improve Retail CX with Value-Based Marketing

23 March, 2022|4 min