Marketing to Gen Z


Generation Z (Gen Z) – the generation following millennials – started to enter the university system in the mid-2010s.  Born after 1996, Gen Z is the first generation to have have internet technology readily available from a young age, and they are considered the first true “digital natives.” Additionally, Gen Z is very concerned with financial stability and the long-term value of their investments.

So what does this mean for promoting your program?

You will need to have an online presence. Gen Z has grown up with access to unlimited information and digital interaction at their fingertips. So, when prioritizing your marketing, you will need to make sure you have an online presence, preferably in a way that is accessible by smartphones.

Use social media. The use of social media has become integrated into the daily lives of most Gen Zs who have access to mobile technology, and for university students, this is most, if not all of them. Having a Facebook group or an Instagram for you program is a great way to get the word out to students about your program.

Be creative and concise. Dan Schawbel, the managing partner of Millennial Branding, a New York consultancy, warns his clients that “if they do not communicate in five words and a big picture, [their message] will not reach this generation.” When creating marketing materials, start with the most important, interesting information that will get them to research your program. 

Be clear about career and academic benefits. Many parents of Gen Z students lost their jobs in the recession. As a result, financial consistency, employability, and career stability are very important to this generation. Therefore, talking about all of the career and academic benefits described in the benefits of study abroad section of this website will be valuable in your marketing efforts.

Take advantage of in-person, face-to-face interactions. A lot of Gen Zs’ interactions happen on a computer or cell phone.  When you do have a chance to speak with these students in person, therefore, make sure you get to know them and their aspirations so you can show them how your program is a great fit for them.

Make it about them. This generation is used to having personalized marketing. When talking to them, make it all about their goals and aspirations.

Focus on the adventure behind the learning. This generation loves to “escape their boring lives.” They have Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and new movies weekly that allow them to have an adventure in the comfort of their home. Showing how study abroad allows them to experience the world, while learning about an important topic, will likely engage these students.