“I believe the children are our future.
Teach them well and let them lead the way”
Ah, the immortal words of Whitney Houston; truer words were never spoken.
The high school and post-secondary students of today are a large group gaining influence among their peers and families. For many industries, they hold the key to future success. New experiences, especially those with brands, can shape long-lasting impressions and purchase behaviors. And while there is opportunity, the challenge marketers face remains: how to reach and influence students.
So, what are the essentials you need to know to describe why your student strategy needs to rock? Here’s what our research shows:
1. According to Statistics Canada approximately 4.5 million Canadians will be between 15 and 24 this year.
Out of those, 2 million are enrolled in Canadian post-secondary institutions. These are future consumers, investors, and owners with great projected purchase power. As Stats Can states: “High-income Canadians tended to be highly educated. Over two thirds (67.1%) of the top 1% had attained a university degree.”
2. Generation Z has influence.
“There has never been a generation with more influence both inside and outside the family and this has changed the dynamic of the modern family. They’re influencing their parents on everything, from what car to buy to where to go on vacation to everything in between” the Zeno project reports.
Their influence extends to other members of their generation, both online and through word of mouth. Staying power is a necessity for building a positive and lasting brand image with this group. They want to be heard and represented, and will share their experience more often and louder than other demographic groups.
3. Students become educated, brand loyal customers.
There is huge upside potential in LTV of this group, particularly the 2 million current post-secondary students in Canada. If you would think that access to unlimited information has made Millennials and Gen Z disloyal, you’re in for a surprise. Research shows that Millennials are loyal to their favorite brands, with just over half saying they are extremely loyal or quite loyal. The key to fostering this loyalty is to keep your brand message consistent and authentic, and more importantly engage in a conversation with your student audience IRL (in real life) and online. Keep in mind that 84% of millennials are researching brands online (according to Hubspot), so this is an excellent medium to get the conversation started.
4. You must create a student specific strategy.
Studies indicate that people will decide in seconds whether a website has what they are looking for, which means that content in any form must get to the point quickly and effectively. This not only applies to your marketing approach, but products and offers as well. Establishing the right offer strategy for students is essential. Get student’s input to ensure you are investing in the right things.
5. Students are not a homogeneous group, so marketing aimed at just students won’t work.
Modern students are aware of marketing and advertising initiatives, so find a way to attract them without alienating them with a one size fits all approach. You need to profile and target properly; take time to understand your audience, and not just their behavior, but also what they think and feel. Emotions are very important at this age, as are the opinions of others in their social groups.
One of our recent clients was able to double their acquisition efforts by targeting behavioural segments with specific messaging for each. Though this takes some testing to achieve it is possible.
6. They Stay Social and Current.
Students are plugged into and aware of popular trends, which makes them more critical of brands. Presenting yourself in the right way has never been more important to success. Gen Y and Z Students are more connected than any other generation, and trends move quickly in their world. Staying on top of their trending topics is important to build trust and emotional connection to a brand. As students become more educated, educating yourself about their questions and concerns more of a priority.
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