Beyond Program Info: Why Student Life Matters in Advertising

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Beyond Program Info: Why Student Life Matters in Advertising

Higher education marketers agree that when it comes to student advertising, program information and location are extremely important. It might surprise you, however, to find out that information regarding student life can be just as important to Gen Zs.

As part of our ongoing Gen Z research, we recently held a roundtable discussion with a focus group of high school students. Our conversation revealed some key insights about Gen Zs and student life information.

Read on to find out what we discovered and how to utilize these insights in your student advertising campaign.

Beyond Program Information

Gen Zs are information driven and like to find answers quickly. Providing program information is a valuable piece of the higher education marketing puzzle, and one that should not be overlooked.

But, as our roundtable discussion revealed, universities need to go beyond just program information when providing marketing materials to prospective students.

As high school students prepare to go to college, they are entering an entirely new phase of life—one that can be overwhelming and confusing.

Our focus group of students pointed out that they felt better about the entire college application and admissions process when they knew someone who attended a university they were considering. They viewed this as a great way to get the inside scoop on a school and discover what to expect.

The students in our roundtable discussion expressed a desire to hear from current students about what to expect on campus, day-to-day life as a student, and the general culture and atmosphere that makes each school unique.

What this Means for Marketers

Knowing what students are looking for in higher education marketing messaging is valuable to university recruitment programs. Now, how do you use that information to your advantage?

Along with our Gen Z focus group, we put together some practical ideas for how to elevate your student recruitment strategy by increasing focus on student life.

Ways to focus on student life: 1. Use student and alumni influencers    2. Include recruitment videos    3. Establish a mentor program    4. Implement student life in your holistic process

1) Utilize Student and Alumni Influencers

Gen Zs want to hear the ins and outs of student life straight from the horse’s mouth. Enlist the help of current students and alumni as influencers to share their experiences with prospective students.

A skeptical group by nature, Gen Zs are highly wary of advertising and value authenticity in marketing messages. But 85 percent of Gen Zs surveyed agreed that they would trust current student opinions when making university decisions.

Connect with the alumni department on your campus to find alumni who can share your message. If possible, send in these influencers with your recruitment team on campus visit days so that they can directly engage with students and answer questions about the college experience.

2) Use Recruitment Videos

Even if you can’t bring the influencers to campus visits, you can still share their messages with students.

Consider creating a brief, engaging video about campus life for recruiters to show during high school visits. Feature a day in the life of a current student, highlighting interesting classroom interactions and showcasing the culture on campus.

3) Establish a Mentor Program

Gen Zs desire connectedness and face-to-face interaction. It’s no surprise that they crave someone to talk to regarding a massive life change such as college.

Above all, the students we spoke to wanted someone to go to with questions, to ease their confusion, and to be a trusted resource. Establishing a mentor program where current students can guide incoming freshman would ease their concerns and show that your university is taking a vested interest in them as a part of your community.

Showcase your mentorship in your marketing campaign—this will help attract students and help you stand out from the crowd.

4) Implement Student Life in Your Holistic Advertising Process

Campus visits are not the only place to let student life shine. Remember to incorporate your most important marketing messages as part of a holistic advertising process.

The most successful marketing campaigns incorporate a variety of mediums, from a strong web presence to print to display ads. Don’t overlook any of these opportunities to feature student life on your campus.

Make your message heard by giving Gen Zs what they want and ensuring that you reach them in multiple ways.

As always, we are here to help you build up the most successful marketing strategies to spread your university’s brand message, reach students, and attract prospective recruits. Contact us today to learn more about how to incorporate our insights and strengthen your recruitment plan.

P.S. Follow us on LinkedIn for tips, tricks, and industry updates.

We collected insights from 1,700 high school students on their media preferences for higher ed advertising. Access Report.

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