Over the years, Millennials have been the hot topic in marketing. As a matter of fact, we marketers have spent so much time micro-analyzing Millennials' behavior that we seem to have forgotten that while Millennials have become the dominant population of parents, another wave of youth has come to the cusp of adulthood. As a college or university, that means they're at your door.
This article contains five mindset imperatives to help you successfully market your institution to Gen Z.
Before you get started, be sure you firmly believe this foundational fact:
Traditional marketing and advertising methods will not work on Gen Z.
Who Is Gen Z?
Gen Z is the generic stand-in name for the Millennials' baby siblings, children born from around 1996 to present. A defining social distinction that researchers feel is particularly important to note is that your Gen Z doesn't remember September 11, 2001.
A defining social distinction I think is particularly important is that Gen Z has all the traits of their older siblings, the Millennials, but in full force. Where Millennials saw the beginning of the tech revolution and dealt with annoyances like satellite shortages and dial-up internet, Gen Z grew up with WiFi on demand. They excel at and expect online relationships on multiple platforms with the institutions they deal with. It's part of their collective identity.
While Millennials have developed under the onslaught of relentless attacks on their social value rained down from parent generations, Gen Z has developed largely overlooked in their shadow. Thusly, they're coming of age with their self-esteem intact. This, coupled with the fact that they've learned to exist within a vast spectrum of social norms, means they're going to be difficult to segment and selective with their time. They know how important their attention is, and they won't be bullied into giving it without something in return.
It's one of the things I love about them.
One more very important demographic point: in the vein of self-worth, Gen Z owns their space like no previous generation. We can't count on celebrity influence to drive behavior anymore. Remember the Pepsi ad fiasco? The moral of the story there is it's no longer up to marketers to tell youth who to follow. They tell you.
And despite what it may look like from the outside, Gen Z are avid movers, dedicated to social progress. They don't take slights against their values lightly.
OK, now that we've set the stage a little bit, let's explore the main topic of this post. Following are the five mindset imperatives for marketing your college or university to Gen Z.