Insights from the Higher Ed Experts

BY Anthony Campisi | June 12th, 2019

Navigating the Generational Divide: Communicating to Prospects

Navigating the Generational Divide: Communicating to ProspectsBaby boomers. Gen X. Millennials. Each generation has different value sets, core motivations and media consumption habits. Make the most of your communications to each group, and bridge the gap with some universal messaging that applies to all.

Millennials are in the work force and Boomers are slowly starting to transition out of the professional landscape. You’ve been inundated with information about how these groups consume information. But how do you handle communications when you’re marketing a program that may include more than one generation?

Universal Messaging

Marketers can go crazy trying to integrate the buzz words that are important to different market segments. Make sure you don’t offend anyone. Use the right mix of humor. Try to include data that is relevant to a certain career stage, or you’ll lose them. If your head is spinning, wondering how you can stay relevant, consider this – there are some universal messages in education that cut through any generational divide. Those are:

  • Value – Who wants to pay more than something is worth?
  • Return on investment – Most people are looking for a payoff on the time and money they’ve spent.
  • Personal connections – We are all human. Relationships matter. Make sure your prospects know you care and are available to help them.
  • Flexibility – Regardless of career or life stage, we can all use a little more time and control over our schedule to focus on things that are important to us.

Communication Tracks

In a recent blog, we discussed using segmentation to bucket your communication strategies. One way to do this is to segment by age group. For emails, if you have birthdate or years of work experience, you might be able to use that knowledge to craft different messages aimed at core motivations. For advertising and social media, you can depend on certain channels. Check out this infographic showing media consumption habits across generations.

Event Strategy

Wondering why your Preview Day attendance has dropped? Thinking about trying a webinar for the first time? Are you open to testing new types of events? What worked 10 years ago to market an Executive MBA program at a 3 hour event on a Saturday may not yield the same response today. Why? Because when you were marketing your program 10 years ago it was to Boomers who may have been amenable to that type of event. But now, you’re marketing to GenX and even some ambitious Millennials. They don’t have the time to attend this event, although they would attend class if they were accepted to the program. These generations are less likely to invest time in something that is not a sure thing.

Bottom line: Innovation can work in your favor. Try a webinar or a coffee chat. Hold an info session at a restaurant near a business park. You can still keep your favorite events, but it can’t hurt to add new ones to the mix.

Marketing Materials

Have you checked out your competition online recently? You may be surprised at what materials they are offering to prospective students. In an age where the website is king, even supplemental information is shifting. Standard brochures are morphing into videos and blogs. Photo albums are now social feeds.

If you’re looking for ways to innovate to connect with your target, we can help. Get tips to engage prospects on their terms so you can get the most from your communications strategies. Contact GPRS.