The high price tag of education, fierce competition within the sector and the Brexit vote have combined to mean universities need to work harder than ever to attract Gen Z students.
Engaging millennials is all just part of the job description for marketers in the university sector. While brands scratch their heads devising plans that will resonate with 16- to 24-year-olds, higher education marketers need to find ways to appeal to the Gen Z market on a daily basis.
“No-one in the university likes to talk about students as consumers, but that’s what they are and this is the second biggest investment they are likely to make in their life.” Karen Smalley, Reading University.
Looking at the wider University of Sheffield brand, Vernon believes telling authentic stories and responding to the issues that matter to people helps universities define what they stand for.
“You could see a range of university campaigns and struggle to tell the difference so messaging is really important. We try to appeal to the students’ future vision of themselves,” she explains.
“Our strategy around undergraduates has been ‘Transform your future’ and we use it in our campaigns. Not just the experience they get when they come here, but what happens around graduate employability, which is where our alumni stories come in.”
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