If you’re part of a university marketing, admissions, or enrollment team looking to appeal to the traditional student as a part of your college marketing strategy, then you’re trying to reach a group of students known as Generation Z. But what defines this generation? And what sets them apart from the generations that have come before? We want to spend some time giving some insight into Gen Z, and what tools and platforms you can use to best reach this audience.
Who is Generation Z?
Oftentimes people use Generation Z and Millennials interchangeably, but we would argue there are some key differences. While both generations occupy parts of the 90s, but most of Gen Z can’t remember a time without the internet and grew up surrounded by technology. They’re also more diverse, with one 1 in 4 being Hispanic, and they’re on track to be one of the most educated generations yet. Gen Zers also don’t like to be lumped into one large group. They’re individualistic and want to be treated as such. With so much access to information, you can’t take a ‘one size fits all’ approach to this audience.
What we’ve learned from our research, and from talking with our clients, is that Generation Z expects more from their brands and higher education institutions. There’s no room for bland or mundane marketing tactics. You have a limited amount of time to capture the attention of this audience. It’s also important to note, while their attention spans might be shorter, they’re always evaluating what they’re looking at for how it plays into their own lives. Is this brand relevant to me? Is this Instagram post interesting? Gen Z wants marketing that is as unique as they are, evokes emotion, and makes them feel as though they are being brought on a journey.
Where Can I Find Gen Z?
As we noted earlier, Gen Z doesn’t remember a time before the internet. They all have access to multiple devices, including laptops, mobile phones, tablets, etc. So where can you find them? It would be easy to say everywhere, but that would be too simple for this complex audience. A good place to start is with the fact Gen Z spends an average of 4 hours and 15 minutes per day on mobile devices, and 95% own a smartphone.
How to Reach Gen Z
If you’re looking for a place to start reaching Gen Z, social media is king (or queen) with this group. A recent white paper on digital marketing trends from Glacier Marketing reported 95% of Gen Z uses Instagram daily. YouTube (87%) and Snapchat (82%) were the next most popular platforms. What this tells us is this generation is not looking to digest any text-heavy content. Being able to communicate your message quickly and build a connection is important. If you’re looking for some tips, check out another blog we wrote on engaging with prospective students and features sections on Instagram and YouTube.
While we only noted the top three, it’s safe to say Generation Z is active on a lot of online platforms. What you have to consider as a brand or higher education institution is if what you have to say makes sense for the platform you are looking to jump on. While TikTok is the new hot thing, can you occupy that space and present meaningful information? If not, then we recommend focusing your strategy elsewhere. It’s important to always keep in mind that just because your audience is there, doesn’t mean it always makes sense for you to be there.
If there’s one thing you should take away from this post, it’s that this generation can’t be put into a box. Take a look at how you are currently marketing and ask yourself, how is this relevant? and what emotion am I trying to evoke? If you aren’t currently marketing to Gen Z or would just like some help re-evaluating your strategies, reach out to our team!