The term “millennials” is one we’ve heard a lot lately, but really, who are these mysterious millennials, why are they so important, and how do we best relate to them? Millennials are the generation born roughly between 1980 and 2000, and they’re critical to Catholic schools since many of them comprise our current parent pool. Like any other generation, millennials have unique characteristics which if understood properly, can help schools market to this group far more effectively. Let’s take a look at ten of the qualities that make millennials distinctive, along with what they mean for your school’s promotional efforts.
- QUALITY: Millennials are driven and goal-oriented.
RESPONSE: Take a data-driven approach to marketing in order to demonstrate a strong Return on Investment (ROI). Use test results, alumni success, faculty credentials, high school/college acceptances, and steady student growth to illustrate the ROI and attract interest.
- QUALITY: Millennials are digital natives.
RESPONSE: Have a flexible, efficient online presence and a robust social media strategy. Be accessible on ALL their devices, utilize videos and texting, and provide all necessary resources online.
- QUALITY: Millennials trust product info from user generated sources.
RESPONSE: “Amp up” your Word of Mouth marketing and Ambassador Program to reach their friends, family and colleagues whose opinion they trust. Post positive school reviews online (i.e. Facebook, GreatSchools.org).
- QUALITY: Millennials were raised to feel special and expect high levels of attention.
RESPONSE: Make sure they have input (i.e. satisfaction surveys, focus groups, School Board, Home and School Association, and committee membership), involve them in decision making, be attentive. They will tell others when they receive this attention – and when they don’t!
- QUALITY: Millennials admire and respect their parents.
RESPONSE: Involve, cultivate and celebrate grandparents. Consider a recruitment campaign focused toward grandparents.
- QUALITY: Millennials want to be recognized as individuals – they see themselves as a “brand,” and their children as extensions of that “brand.”
RESPONSE: Customize/personalize your recruitment approach (personalized visit folders, visitor parking spots reserved by name, social media “shout outs,” visit photos). Recognize their child’s special gifts and cultivate the relationship constantly, or they will move on to something better.
- QUALITY: Millennials are less religiously affiliated, but more socially conscious.
RESPONSE: Highlight the school’s service opportunities, its support of Laudato Si, its emphasis on morality, gospel values, ethics, good citizenship, and mission.
- QUALITY: Millennials are interested in the value proposition – “what’s in it for them.”
RESPONSE: Provide “assistive parenting” – demonstrate how the school will better their lives, will partner with them on behalf of their child, make them a better parent, and benefit their children and their family.
- QUALITY: Millennials are very involved in their children’s lives.
RESPONSE: Keep them “in the loop,” communicate regularly about their child’s performance. Emphasize school safety, an important and marketable feature.
- QUALITY: Millennials are very familiar with learning intersecting with technology.
RESPONSE: School marketing should demonstrate how technology is integrated throughout the curriculum, which is supported by devices (iPads, Chromebooks, Tablets) and innovative programming (Robotics, Coding).
Hopefully, this “personality profile” has begun to unravel the mystery of millennials for you and will help you to approach your marketing in a more strategic fashion. Remember – to effectively engage your audience, it’s necessary to first understand them!