Evolving Technologies: Three Ways to Stay Connected to Gen-Z

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By Daisy Perper — Feb 17, 2022 11:00 AM

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Today’s higher education audience consists largely of Generation Z (Gen-Z), which is a highly technical audience that sets the bar high for digital experience expectations. The good news is that while the technology you likely just invested in is already evolving, it’s a matter of adapting and updating your digital strategy to stay on top of these emerging trends. In today’s blog post, we outline three ways to stay connected to your Gen-Z audience and maintain that personal connection in 2022.

Conversational Marketing

This is one you’ll hear often when discussing up-and-coming 2022 content marketing trends, and one higher ed organizations will be expanding on to connect with visitors. Conversational Marketing does away with wait times, and allows for immediate response to questions, form fills and more. The idea is to move your audience through their journey in an efficient and engaging manner with an end goal of higher conversion rates.

According to HEM, Conversation Marketing is defined as “a dialogue-driven marketing approach that promotes one-to-one interactions via messaging apps and voice assistants”. This allows for that real-time interaction to develop a more personal relationship with your audience.

Drift outlines the key to Conversational Marketing as a three step process which includes real time engagement, understanding and recommending an action. Specific to Higher Ed, the use of chat bots on the website are a great way to engage in conversational marketing. As this isn’t a new concept, it is important that your chatbots are equipped with the knowledge of up-to-date frequently asked questions, targeted responses and call to actions, and routinely evolving the overall experience based on real metrics.

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Embracing Social Media

While social media, and TikTok in general, isn’t a new concept, it’s now vital that Higher Ed take advantage of emerging social trends to get directly in front of the Gen-Z prospects. Pew Research Center states that "95% of teens now have smartphones with an average screen time of 7.5 hours a day". Social is an ever-evolving trend that demands no investment in new technologies but rather consistently staying on top of resonating content. It’s time to get creative in recruitment efforts and create fresh organic content that is served alongside their daily feeds.

According to Statista, "25% of all users of TikTok are under the age of 19 and recently passed the 1 billion monthly active users this past september". Given this, higher ed organizations have a huge opportunity to embrace TikTok while having all the talent and tools at their fingertips (think creative student ambassadors!). TikTok is all about authenticity, organic short-form videos are the perfect media to spread awareness, real-life stories, behind the scenes sneak peek, brand sentiment and more. Giving prospects an one-of-a-kind look into real student and campus life without leaving an app they are already on, will be sure to capture that vital sentiment and excitement.

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Highly Personalized and Interactive Content

A no brainer here, the use of personalization is only getting more and more sophisticated. As today's audience continues to expect content that is highly targeted and personalized to their wants as needs, marketers must continue to find ways to stay relevant. This is another one where if you’re already on the personalization bandwagon, the technology may already be there, it's now just a matter of growing it to the next level.

Utilizing existing data is a great way to always feel like you’re evolving suggestions, serving relevant content and developing new design strategies to continue connections. Constantly being aware of current behavior and performance metrics and insights allows you to maintain a fresh website design that effectively serves up the content that is more relevant and valuable to your visitor. This will support routinely knowing what your audience wants, when they want it, and hopefully have a positive impact on conversion and engagement rates.

Additionally, email campaigns are an ever growing way to supply prospects with targeted and engaging content. We’re seeing more and more use cases of interactive content in these email campaigns that not only contain personalized content, but leave a memorable impression. According to Kapost, “interactive content generates 2x more conversions than passive content.” An example of this is a upgrading that website abandonment email to provide additional information through again that short-form video, poll or even a Spotify playlist suggestion. This provides an engagement outlet to re-attract back to the website or encourage another call to action.

Wrap Up

In today’s world, the technologies and trends are always evolving, and we don’t see that slowing down anytime soon. While the Gen-Z target audience is our most tech savvy audience to date, it’s absolutely possible to stay relevant and connected just by updating current tactics and strategies. How do you see your digital marketing strategy evolving in 2022?

Photo of Daisy Perper

Daisy Perper
Marketing Specialist
  daisy.perper@hannonhill.com

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