As the next academic year comes to a start for sixth form and college students, university student recruitment and marketing teams are gearing up to attract a whole new cohort of students for the next academic year.
Unfortunately, there is no simple formula for enticing the new generation of bright new minds; they’ve been brought up in a whole new world compared to the adults trying to attract their attentions now. But, it can help to drive universities’ marketing activities by understanding the mindset and interests of their target audience.
Characteristics of Gen Z
Gen Z, people born between 1995 to 2010, are the first generation to grow up completely in a digital world, making them natives of online networking, streaming and information sourcing. Dependency on their smartphones is ingrained in their culture as it is the first port of call for finding information, making contacts and having instant access to the latest news and reports. Vision Critical’s research found that Gen Z spend on average 15.4 hours on their smartphones per week – more than any other device.
More importantly, social media has exploded on the scene over the past decade and not only do Gen Z use it for posting and liking pictures, they utilise it for news sharing as word spreads quicker on social media channels than traditional news broadcasts. Gen-Z don’t just value facts, they care about their peers’ opinions too, which is why social media is the perfect breeding ground for spreading awareness about new ideas quickly.
Moreover, the globalisation of connectivity means that Gen Z are more concerned with their place in the world and feel a greater sense of social responsibility. McKinsey’s study investigating the behavioural and consumption patterns of this new generation in Brazil found that their behaviour was anchored in one element: their search for the truth. They see past generic slogans and superficial messaging that once enticed the me-generation millennials and align themselves more with institutions that use branding as a form of individual expression and with companies that appear more humane than mechanical.
How can Higher Education institutions establish a better relationship with Gen Z?
What’s the point in taking the long way around anymore? The hours spent on creating flyers and sending them out are completely wasted when most students will take one glance and throw them in the bin.
Connect with them in a way that they can’t possibly ignore you – right through their mobile devices. Gen Z are 22% more likely to prefer in-app notifications than millennials, principally due to the fact their mobile devices act as their primary hub for updates.
In a survey from Ellucian, it indicates that 87% of students said that the technological prowess of colleges was important to them when applying. It shows that universities are tech savvy and in tune with the communication style of the audience they want to establish a rapport with.
Show them the real you
The number one way to effectively recruit members of Gen Z is to be authentic. As mentioned earlier, Gen Z see right through superficial marketing. Being true to their values and voicing a message that encapsulates the heart of an organisation is what appeals to Gen Z as they don’t just feel like the are consumers when aligning themselves with a brand, they also feel like they are actively getting involved in their mission statement.
Higher education marketing and recruitment teams should take this information on board: their audience wants to see real students telling real stories about real university life. Universities could utilise a mobile app to provide a forum on which current and prospective students can interact so that prospects can gain rich authentic answers from sources they can trust. Aside from just interacting with current students, prospects could communicate directly with recruitment teams, establishing a much more personal relationship than one that would be created through traditional forms such as email.
Streamline services on one platform they can trust
Most importantly, students want a more personalised and streamlined service that they can engage with. Whilst 85% of students said their school offered a centralised app for campus services, 42% still reported that they had to log into three to four platforms to access campus information.
Not only is switching back and forth between different apps overwhelming, Gen Z have a shorter attention span than their predecessors meaning that they will quickly give up, rendering the apps useless. Universities need to adopt a digital solution that streamlines their online services in order to provide prospective students with a simple user experience and consolidates a status that Gen Z are happy to identify with.
Proodle appreciates that in order to stay on top of the game, we must move forward with the dynamism of technology and customise digital content that the current generation of students can easily engage with.
What Proodle Solutions offers is an innovative and secure personalised mobile platform for the potential student, which introduces institutions and programmes in a whole new way to make an everlasting impression. We help students understand what a university is about, their requirements, the application process and notify them on the latest social events on one streamlined platform.
If you would like to know more about how Proodle can digitally influence your international recruitment efforts, email us at [email protected] or give us a call on +447776557159