The term “millennials” is one we’ve heard a lot lately, but really, who are these mysterious individuals, why are they so important, and how do we best relate to them? Solving the mystery of marketing to millennials can be a tough case to crack!
Millennials Are Critical to Catholic Schools
They are the generation born roughly between 1980 and 2000, and many of them comprise our current parent pool for Catholic schools. 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.
1. Driven and Goal-Oriented
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.
2. Digital Natives
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.
3. They trust product info from user generated sources
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).
4. They were raised to feel special and expect high levels of attention
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!
5. Admiration and respect for their parents
Involve, cultivate and celebrate grandparents. Consider a recruitment campaign focused toward grandparents.
6. Want to be recognized as individuals – they see themselves as a “brand,” and their children as extensions of that “brand.”
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.
7. Less religiously affiliated, but more socially conscious.
Highlight the school’s service opportunities, its support of Laudato Si, its emphasis on morality, gospel values, ethics, good citizenship, and mission.
8. Need to know the value proposition – “what’s in it for them.”
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.
9. Very involved in their children’s lives
Keep them “in the loop,” communicate regularly about their child’s performance. Emphasize school safety, an important and marketable feature.
10. Very familiar with learning intersecting with technology
School marketing should demonstrate how technology is integrated throughout the curriculum, which is supported by devices (iPads, Chrome books, 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! Understand more about Catholic school marketing to help meet your institution's admissions and fundraising goals by attending an ACAAP of New England Conference.
Infographic from Kate Lau's Millenial Driven Design (2017), Scout Design Northeastern University's student-lead design studio <https://medium.com/scout-design/millennial-driven-design-292c3328c72>
About the Author
Anne has worked on behalf of Catholic schools throughout her entire career, first for her alma mater, the University of Saint Joseph, as Assistant Director of Admissions and then the Director of Alumni/ae Relations, and then for the Archdiocese of Hartford, Connecticut in advancement and enrollment management. Currently, in her role as Director of Community Engagement, she works with all the elementary and secondary schools in the Archdiocese, providing guidance and support for their marketing and promotional efforts.