For Higher Ed Marketers, It’s Time To Get To Know Gen Z

For years, everyone's been talking about Millennials, the largest generation since the Baby Boomers. But what about Generation Z? While the oldest Millennials are approaching their late 30's as of 2018, Generation Z will make up almost 40% of consumers by 2020. Now that they are reaching college age, it is vital that institutions of higher learning focus on getting to know Generation Z better.

Generation Z defined

According to Pew Research Center, Generation Z (also known as “Post-Millennials”) includes all individuals born between 1997 and 2010. Their early lives have been impacted by far-reaching circumstances such as the Great Recession, the rise of ISIS, the election of the first black president, and social movements that support populism and marriage equality. Members of Generation Z are true digital natives, comprising the first generation born into a culture completely dependent on technology. Leaving the house to pick up groceries or take out cash from the ATM become rarer as these interactions move online.

It is vital that institutions of higher learning focus on getting to know Generation Z better.

Best Practices for Marketing to Generation Z 

In order to launch successful advertising and recruitment campaigns for Generation Z, companies and institutions need to approach this cohort differently than when they advertised to Millennials. By getting to know Generation Z, you'll find that they're more future-minded and financially prepared than many of their Millennial counterparts. Furthermore, having grown up in the digital age, Gen Zers are accustomed to conducting online research and are looking to engage with brands they determine to be authentic and socially responsible. Finally, although they may largely lack financial independence, Gen Z is poised to become the largest generation of consumers, in addition to the impact they currently have on household expenditures (with more than 90% of parents reporting that children have influence over family purchases). In short, these "post-Millennials" are already promising to harness tremendous spending power which they will invest in their educational futures, their lifestyles, and their livelihoods -- so the time to get to know Generation Z is now.

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How To Do Higher Ed Diversity Marketing The Right Way

Recruiting a more diverse student body is one of the more common priorities popping up on universities' strategic plans today. In the latest in a series of published reports, this month an article in The Atlantic shined a light on how high school graduate demographics are shifting from being around 70% Caucasian today to closer to 50% by 2030.

Huffington Post, Inside Higher Ed and numerous others also confirm that, while demographics are changing, universities should be very thoughtful about how they adapt to enroll a more diverse student population that reflects of our broader society.

Luckily, modern enrollment marketing is as nuanced as it is complicated. Big data allows for very creative segmentation, while the expansion of digital media enables colleges to target prospective students that were difficult to reach before.

Universities should be very thoughtful about how they adapt to enroll a more diverse student population that reflects of our broader society.

But if you want to recruit a student body that’s more inclusive than the one you have today, think about how you want to address diversity—ethnic, racial, economic, geographic, etc.—in your messaging and on your campus.

How have you positioned diversity on your website? Are your faculty and staff diverse? What services do you have specific to those students who are the first in their families to attend college? Will minority students actually feel at home on your campus? The answers to these questions and more can shape a very powerful narrative and, more importantly, one with greater potential for success. 

The goal of a more diverse and culturally rich academic environment is a noble one. Just be thoughtful and authentic when you have great stories to tell.

Furman Roth Wins Big in National Higher Education Ad Award Competitions

Furman Roth has won several advertising awards from two renowned national educational marketing competitions, including two 1st place Gold wins from the Higher Education Advertising Awards and 2nd place Silver awards from both The Higher Education Advertising awards and from The Collegiate Advertising Awards, in categories including print, out-of-home, social media campaigns (including Facebook and Instagram), student viewbooks and collateral. These 1st and 2nd place awards were won from a pool of over 2,250 entries from hundreds of agencies throughout the country.

“These wins are a reflection of the great work our creative department is doing,” said Ernie Roth, President of Furman Roth.  “Our broad experience in higher education has really helped us take our work to a new level.”

“Working with so many prestigious colleges and universities has really helped us become immersed in the category and the higher ed marketing environment, and has ultimately helped us do better work for our clients,” added Creative Director Jake Rabinowitz. “It takes breakthrough thinking to stand out amongst these major schools and universities in today’s marketing environment, which has become extraordinarily competitive.”

ABOUT THE AWARDS
The Educational Advertising Awards, of which this was their 32nd annual competition, honors exceptional and innovative creativity in education advertising and communications. The finalists and winners are determined by industry peers and the editors of The Higher Education Marketing Report.

The Collegiate Advertising Awards, that accepted more than 900 entries from schools across the United States, “honors excellence in marketing and advertising specific to the field of Higher Education.”

ON RADIO, ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE (RADIO MERCURY AWARDS)

This hilarious video piece from The Radio Mercury awards perfectly illustrates the creative advantages of using radio advertising. For decades, copywriters have referred to radio as "The Theatre of the Mind," and this video sums it up perfectly: On radio, there are no rules. A must-watch for anyone considering using traditional or streaming radio as part of their media mix. 

 

Dr. Phil Vs. Doc Martens - Why Retail Therapy WORKS.

Hi, I’m Deb, and I’m a compulsive shopper.

Or at least I have been. But then again, haven’t we all?

It happens when you just know that everything will fall into place if only you have that perfect pair of boots, fall coat, or new phone. You think to yourself, let me just pop into this store. I’m just going to look, you promise yourself.

Never mind the novel you promised yourself you’d start, or the meditation class you’ve been meaning to try, or even the pipe under the kitchen sink that needs to be replaced. Because those things take time, and nothing – I mean nothing – can compare to the high we get from a short-term or impulse buy.

Are you retailers getting this?

We want to buy your stuff. Not because we can’t live without it, but because we believe we can’t live without it. That’s what we think: our lives will be complete once we have this or that. The truth is, most people don’t need that new dress or pair of boots, but no one who has ever impulsively shopped will admit that.

Now, I hate to encourage businesses to prey on those compulsive shoppers, but I assume you’re just trying to increase sales and make a profit. Heck, we can think positive, that maybe you’re even helping people in the end. So how are you going to get people into your store, or onto your commerce site?

By helping them feel complete, that’s how. Thread counts are great. Non-stick is great. But are they going to make you crave getting under the covers every night, or help you create the relationship-clinching omelet every morning? They better.

So start thinking about how your products are going to make me feel. Stylish? Pampered? Cutting-edge? Savvy? More confident about both myself and my life? Because that’s what I want. And the faster you can get this feeling to me, the better.

There’s a reason for that. In order to survive and pass their genes on to the next generation, every animal is equipped with a “Motivational Triad.” This triad includes pleasure seeking, pain avoidance, and energy conservation. We seek to enhance pleasure, we seek to avoid pain, and we seek to do all that with as little effort as possible. That’s why Fifth Avenue is so popular.

In advertising, reaching this triad is often promised through a visual image.

Remember when car ads always had a beautiful woman leaning against the sports car in question? We’ve moved beyond that, but not far. It’s still the same message, just altered for a new era. In the end, it’s always about pleasure seeking. Because for humans, it’s instinctual. Eventually, the guys who gave up on finding the beautiful woman from the car ads settled down and started a family. Now our compulsive shopper’s pleasure comes from seeing their child have everything, instead of that sports car they once lusted over.

As you can tell, this post isn’t about media spending, or incentivized unit pricing. It’s about feelings, and if you’re not tapping into people’s emotional capital, you’re not tapping into people. 



6 Tips for Email Marketing

Yes, we’re perfectly aware of the irony of writing about the efficacy of email marketing via a marketing email. But, that aside, here are 5 ways you can improve your email blasts:

 

1. Subject Lines Are Everything
An old rule, yet one that still holds fast and true. And if you’re reading this, chances are it worked.

 

2. Keep It Hyper-Niche
Even though you’re sending this email to a lot of recipients, it’s important to make sure you’re covering something that hasn’t been covered ad nauseam. So make it specific. Make it unique. And make it quick before it becomes irrelevant.

 

3. Keep It Short
“When browsing the web, the average adult has a shorter attention span than a goldfish.” –Statistic Brain

Attention spans are getting shorter. And if you don’t hook someone into your content within the first few seconds, you’re toast. So don’t write dauntingly long-winded pieces that require your audience to work. You’re supposed to be giving something to them… so make it easy.

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4. Use Visuals
Any visuals. Gifs, memes, video clips, icons or plain old pictures are what draws the eye and gets attention. Treat an email blast as if it were a children’s book. If you would not read it in a jam, then no one will, even Sam-I-Am.

 

 

5. Make it Mobile Friendly
According to the latest US Consumer Device Preference Report from MovableInk, 66% of emails are opened on a mobile device. And that number is only going to go up. So it’s important to not only make sure the email is formatted properly for mobile, but also if there are any external links (to a blog or a website), make sure that those are mobile-friendly as well.

 

 

6. Be Persistent
Even if you follow all of these tips, chances are approximately 80% of recipients won’t open your email anyway (and that’s on a good day). The idea is to continually provide valuable content to the people you’re trying to reach. Think of it like free samples at the mall, once people know what the Bourbon Chicken tastes like, they’ll be back for more… that is, if it’s good.

When Choosing a Hospital, Patients Follow Their Heart

What factors are influencing patients to choose one hospital over another?  Is it word of mouth, ratings and reviews, or maybe just a gut feeling?  Learning how patients make their healthcare decisions can help hospitals effectively advertise themselves by shaping their message and knowing when and where to reach audiences. 

These days most patients go online to Google their symptoms and research about potential illnesses before making an appointment. Let’s face it, we’ve all gone on WebMD and convinced ourselves we had something at some point.  In fact, according to Google & Compete*, approximately 77% of patients conducted some sort of Internet search before making an appointment with a doctor or physician. 

After they do this initial “research”, patients consider two major convenience factors:  Location and insurance. Traveling to a top rated hospital on the other side of town, in the next city or even outside of the country is financially unrealistic and hugely inconvenient.  And it’s no secret that Hospital visits can be expensive, so it stands to reason that a patient’s desire for a facility that accepts their insurance plan would rank high on their list of priorities, in order to keep out-of-pocket costs to a minimum.

But interestingly, then come emotions. According to a study conducted at Stanford University, patients are more likely to choose a doctor that they feel emotionally connected with on some level.  During this study, patients ended up choosing doctors whose practices represented a “emotional fit” to their needs.  Those who wanted to feel more relaxed choose doctors whose care promoted a relaxed and calm lifestyle.  Patients who wanted an end result of being more energized and active chose doctors that focused on increasing patients’ well being through activity.

So what’s the takeaway from this for marketers? Well, it’s clear that patients are looking for the best care that suits their emotional needs. And that’s good news, because communicating emotion is a discipline in which marketers and advertisers excel (if they’re doing it right). It’s their job to convey the emotions of a healthcare facility in a way that the facility itself may not be able to do on their own.

It’s our job to understand the culture of a facility and the culture of the patients that they are trying to connect with. But it’s not enough to understand who your patients are… you must also understand how your patients feel. 

*Google & Compete, Hospitals Study, 2012

 

    According to a Google & Compete study, emotion is the most important factor for patients when it comes to choosing a healthcare facility. 

 

According to a Google & Compete study, emotion is the most important factor for patients when it comes to choosing a healthcare facility. 

4 Ways to Reach Prospective Grad Students

A smiling, polite High School scholar brandishing a diploma and flanked by Mom and Dad may be the ideal target audience for undergrad admissions marketing, but creating a clear picture of the prospective grad student is more challenging.  While plenty of graduate applicants are still fresh-faced twenty-somethings, many are seeking a second career, juggling children at home, or pursuing a passion that they’d previously shelved.  Here are key points universities would be wise to consider when creating marketing content to attract the amorphous grad student audience: 

 1)    Know thyself:

 

With an understanding of a university’s strengths and weaknesses, you can better allocate money in the budget to bolster certain programs.  A Harvard MBA sells itself, but often schools continue to mail out literature about their most famous programs at the neglect of their unsung academic heroes. 

Cross-promoting less illustrious programs at the same university could attract a greater number of applicants.  For example, if the Iowa MFA webpage provided links to information about the school’s PhD in English Lit, applicants would be enticed to apply to both. 

 2)    Clearly shape the conversation about finances:

Prospective grad students have been consumers longer than undergrads, and further, they are much more likely to be spending their own money rather than their parents’. 

 Give premier real estate in web content and advertising to the most promising scholarships and fellowships the program has to offer.  Offer to assign prospective students individual financial counselors for further questions.  If the program in question isn’t well-funded, have confident answers at the ready and the data to back them up. “Yes, while the program costs $30,000 a year, the average graduate of our program lands a job making $60,000 their first year out, so any loans could reasonably be paid off in a couple of years.”  Avoiding financial conversations makes savvy consumers wary.  

3)    Consider target audiences:

 

Whether it’s a specific field that is particularly prone to having turnover—like publishing, for example—or a specific demographic ripe for considering higher ed—like recent veterans—do your homework on not just who may be a good fit for your programs, but how they might finance it.  While the new GI Bill is often used for undergraduate education, it is also applicable to grad school doing the research for specific prospective student groups makes them all the more likely to apply.

4)    Promote your University’s lifestyle:

Certainly, adding flavor and color to the landscape of the university does great work to woo undergrads and grad students alike.  For example, some undergrads are drawn to Tulane University for their emphasis on New Orleans itself: the restaurants, the music scene, the surrounding regional charm. 

Grad students are more likely to ask questions like: Is the university in an area with good public schools for children?  Is grad student housing available for couples and families?  Is this a program that can largely be completed at night, or remotely?  Could I feasibly finish the coursework while working full time? 

Consider the myriad lifestyle concerns that will impact the choice of prospective students when drafting marketing content.  The program may be ranked impressively by the Princeton Review or have a celebrity visiting professor, but certain applicants will be better swayed by the campus fitness facility and the flexible hours. 

Why Digital Marketing Has Become the Health-Care Industry's Rx for Revenue

We recently came across an article on Ad Age that takes a look at why more and more healthcare organizations are going digital to fulfill their marketing needs.

From the article:

Admissions are falling as higher insurance rates prompt patients to seek more affordable care outside of hospitals and crimp the demand for elective procedures...Many are turning to search, mobile and social for cost-effective marketing that reaches the growing number of consumers who look online for health-care information. Paired with advice from referring physicians, the internet is helping patients make more informed hospital choices.

4 Tips for Higher Ed Content Marketing to Millennials

The problem of marketing to a younger generation isn’t a new one.  While millennials only make up about 10% of general consumers, they (and their parents) are the primary market for Higher Ed marketing.  So, how and where do we reach them?

 1)    Strategy across social media platforms:

While everyone is familiar with Facebook, millennials actually have been leaving it for other, newer, mediums: Instagram and Snapchat, among others.  Facebook can still be useful marketing tool, but a stagnant university “fan” page and typical ad content isn’t going to do the same work as a more personal approach.  (Native content is a buzzworthy phrase for a reason.)

 Also consider how product placement can benefit your brand, whether in traditional outlets like television, or in the form of viral videos or web shows.  Studies show that millennials are especially susceptible to product placement, because they are so used to its ubiquity.  So, while there’s a 98% chance somebody paid a celebrity to wear that Yale hoodie in their music video, millennials are likely to simply take in the image, rather than question its authenticity.  

 2)    Don’t try too hard:

 Learn from missteps made by others: young people have a curated concept of “cool” and will call out brands that are phony.  When McDonald’s tried to coax an indie band to play free under their banner at SXSW, they were blasted on social media and lost a lot of millennial customers. The same holds for schools: if partying is your “thing” (I’m looking at you, LSU), then by all means, make that clear to your prospective students.  But if your institution is better known for excellence in the arts, don’t try to sell millennials on its “coolness”: you’d fare better being straightforward and true to your culture.

3)    Money talks:  

Millennials, and of course, their parents, are more aware of the danger of the student loan crisis than any previous generations.  Devote valuable content space to explaining scholarships and fellowships available, built-in benefits, and plans for students to finance their degree.  (Initiate and control the conversation about finances so that prospective students and their parents realize their options when they look up your university’s tuition.)

4)    Diversify your strategy:

Focus on reaching millennials where they live: on the internet.  Social media, TV, and non-traditional media outlets are all necessary to reach prospective undergrads.  But if their parents are footing the bill, it may make sense to additionally mail traditional promos to homes, knowing it is more likely to reach the parents than the students.  The same remains true for outlets like NPR and newspapers.  If the message of your university is carefully planted in the minds of students and parents alike, your university won’t only have an enthusiastic upcoming freshman, but a mom and dad who are happy to foot the bill.     

Connecting to the Community

Using Social Media to Reinforce the Consumers’ Decision in the Hospital and Health Care System.

Reaching out to the public and creating an open line of communication allows a hospital to tailor services specific to patient wants and needs. By giving the hospital a voice, community members will learn that their opinions and concerns not only matter, but are being heard. Each interaction strengthens the image of the hospital and builds trust among patients.  Connecting frequently through social media deepens the relationship and reinforces the patients’ decision. Almost all US hospitals now have multiple social media accounts.  But are they hitting the target?

People love to talk about their experiences, good or bad. Rely on feedback from patient surveys, social media comments, and word of mouth to know what topics need to be addressed to improve public image. Don’t avoid harsh complaints. Listen to your patients and implement customer services initiatives. Being mindful of patient privacy, respond and comment directly to the individual who complained and let them know you understand their frustration and discuss what steps the hospital and staff are doing to correct the issue.  

In addition to responding to comments, use social media to promote patient education and public health programs. Free clinics, job training, back-to-school immunizations and so many other programs are the heart of communities. By addressing the basic needs of everyday life, the hospital promotes long term health and wellness. Have a record turnout at a women’s health event? Posting pictures will not only enhance visibility of the program but 40% of people will respond better to visual information than plain text. (Source: Zabisco)

Patients often are searching for answers. They are also looking for something else rarely talked about: hope. They want to see positive outcomes, feel inspired and have a reason to feel good about choosing a hospital.

By opening the line of communication, the hospital becomes a friend that is by your side during life’s celebrations and can be depended on during emergencies. Healthcare marketing can be complicated but creating a well-executed social media presence can produce meaningful and measurable results and leave healthcare consumers deeply engaged with your brand while also feeling validated and heard. 

4 Reasons to Consider Newsfeed Advertising

Social media has become part of most people’s daily routine. Wake up, check Facebook and Snapchat; make coffee, scroll through Instagram. Time to cook dinner? Time for Pinterest. Want to vent, head to Twitter. Going to bed – why not stay up for 2 gratuitous hours going from link to link on YouTube. Seeing how dependent we’ve become on social media, it’s unlikely for someone to go more than a few hours (and in many cases, minutes) without checking one of the many, if not all. 

With social media addictions comes a more distracted audience. Commercial breaks turn into phone breaks.  Advertising, and selling, on consumers favorite social sites may be the best way to reach distracted eyes. With a more targeted approach, brands shouldn’t just be heading online – they should be heading directly for the newsfeed.  Here’s why:

 

1. Buy Buttons: Within the last year, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest have added buy and shop buttons to their interface. Mobile shopping has rapidly increased and around 1/3 of online shopping now occurs on mobile. With the new buy buttons implemented on suggested and branded posts, it makes it much easier for a consumer to turn a “like” into a purchase.

 2. We live on our phones: In a day and age where some of us are on our phones more than we sleep, and when we do sleep it’s next to our phones, it makes sense to move to mobile.  College students spend almost 8 hours a day on their phones, meaning that while they’re awake you can likely reach them on mobile.  Almost 80% of internet traffic now occurs on mobile, taking the lead from desktops and laptops.  Online browsing on phones has become a filler for when we’re commuting, waiting for our morning coffee, or just plain uncomfortable.  Smartphones are with us wherever we go, and it’s the place where most people are reading their feeds.

 3. Visually Appealing: Most social media is set up as a visual platform, which is an ideal format for displaying retail advertising. An interesting product image will catch the consumer’s eye, and stand out against the everyday status updates.  Creating branded and relatable posts on social media will make the ads less “ad like” and more like a cool story on their newsfeed. Relating to consumers on the interface they understand may help ads be noticed rather than avoided. 

 4. It’s Native: Reach them where they’re already going. 74% of those online have and use social media, and nearly 3 hours a day is spent on all of the different sites or apps.  Each site can also provide insight on the users likes and interests, clicks, searches, etc.  With this information, advertisers can create a more targeted approach and hopefully a more relatable one as well. 

 

Radio: The Undercover Hero of Advertising

Technology is everywhere and any source of information can be accessed by the quick click of a button. Today, advertising spans across so many new media platforms. But even with the advent of all this new technology, one form of veteran advertising media is still the undercover hero of advertising – radio. Who knew?

Radio is the only medium that truly is everywhere – in homes, cars, restaurants, stores and at work. According to Arbitron, nearly 93% of the US population listens to radio and more than 188 million people hear multiple radio commercials in an average week.

According to the University of Florida, 95 percent of people in their cars listen to the radio and the average American spends 15 hours per week driving, and this makes radio a valuable medium. And radio also has a larger audience than television from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm every day and often hosts the last advertising message the consumer hears before reaching their point of purchase.

Radio is highly targetable. Not only does radio have the ability to reach a wide range of attentive listeners, but radio listeners are loyal to their station, making it easy to target a station for a particular demographic or listener profile. It’s is also an effective direct response medium and advertisers can track the number of listeners on any station at any given time.

Radio is quick to produce and is cost-efficient. Unlike television, radio can be produced in as little as 24 to 48 hours with production costs usually much lower than other mediums. Radio’s low cost per thousand can increase the frequency, reach and longevity of ad campaigns and can therefore increase the company’s return on investment (ROI). In fact, according to a recent Nielsen-Catalina study, when advertising on the radio, on average, there is a $6 ROI for every $1 spent.

So when it comes to choosing your next media strategy, consider including a classic media and let radio be the hero of your message.

The College Research Game

When the school year ends and the weather heats up, students across the country look forward to backyard barbecues, family vacations and sleeping way past noon during their summer break. For many, summer is all about fun in the sun and spending time with family and friends. But for today’s high school students and their parents, the summer before senior year becomes all about the college application process.

Ample free time in the three months off from school allows rising seniors to put more time and energy into gathering information about their prospective higher education goals, and now, more than ever, much of the college research process occurs via digital media.

According to a Pew Research study, 95% of teens (between the ages of 13 and 18 years old) are digital media users, many of which are on Facebook and Twitter. New data on the digital media habits of students from Genius Recruiter suggests that 72% of students followed or liked a prospective university’s Twitter feed or Facebook page and 97% visited the university’s website. The five most viewed features on a school’s website or digital media platform: majors and minors, photos of the campus, curriculum details, residence life and class information. The study also showed that YouTube is one of the top three digital media channels used in the college research process.

Now, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube (among others) offer native advertisements in the form of promoted posts, tweets, trends and video clips to advertise to what they call “tailored audiences.” These posts are targeted to users based on their interests and activities, and using data acquired from their conversations, profiles and behavior.  The digital media users are the ones being sold, without even knowing it – reminding us of the old adage that nothing in life is really free. Digital media companies sell advertisers demographic information and browser data to show users ads that directly relate to the sites they've recently visited – in this case, universities.

Two-thirds of students say digital media engagement influences their college decisions.  So, in order for universities to compete for prospective students’ attention, they have to play the marketing game the modern way. It is almost a prerequisite for higher ed. institutions to have a digital media presence and for their information to be a “like” or re-tweet (RT) away.

[For more information on higher education and its advertising possibilities, contact Jacki Friedman here at Furman Roth Advertising.]