Email, Viewbooks and Non-Personalised communications need to be scrapped, claim the iGeneration

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13th November 2014 17:02 - Media and PR

Research from Worldcom Public Relations Group partners Schneider Associates and The Pollack PR Marketing Group has uncovered that the public relations and marketing of universities and colleges needs to be revised. Potential students are becoming more critical of traditional marketing tactics and with enrolment rates dwindling (down 8 per cent on last year), new techniques are needed.

A recent study, “iGen Goes to School”, has found that today’s cohort of young people are not responding to current PR and marketing strategies as well as they have done previously. “iGens” (short for “iGenerations”) refer to the name given to people born between 1994 and 2004, who require “information on demand”, and instinctively trust advice and opinions of “friends” and strangers who they voice their opinions to on social media. The term was coined by Steven Pollack, who wrote Disrupted.

The study found that prospective students would like to communicate with institutions on their own terms. For example, 92 per cent of those polled admitted that they go on social media at some point during the application process and 60 per cent of the respondents felt more comfortable engaging with institutions on social media.

Authentic and customised content is desired by iGens, who stated that their decision about which institution they attend is influenced by the contact which they receive from that institution (43 per cent). The contact which they felt positively impacted their decision the most was engaging media content such as videos and also face-to-face marketing from current students.

An importance is placed on having a strong digital media presence and on program specialties. Of those surveyed, two in five claimed that the website of a university was the most trustworthy source of information when researching it.

Universities also need to personalise their e-marketing campaigns in order to win the enrolment of iGens. Those surveyed claimed that e-newsletters should be tailored to appeal to prospective students by highlighting the opportunities and features which will apply and make sense to iGens.

This research was carried out with current or recent applicants to universities in the United States. The research involved focus groups and an online survey.

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