How to communicate with Generation Z

Tips for meaningful marketing toward college-age students

Marketing aimed at college-age students must provide consumers a genuine experience from a people-first perspective, Clare Lane writes for Ragan's PR Daily.

Lane speaks with Therese Caruso, managing director for strategy and insights at the Zeno Group communications agency, about the unique challenges in marketing toward the 18-to-25-year-old age group known as Generation Z.  

Data from Zeno Group's "The Human Project" study show that while Generation Z consumers "are tech driven ... they are also more inclined to unplug from their devices," Lane says. Therefore, Caruso says, marketing aimed at this group must "offer a solution that's not just engaging and entertaining, but that enhances their everyday lives more holistically."

Lane offers two insights from Caruso about connecting with this demographic.

One: Be human

Look at your consumers for the people they are, not simply as "targets." Take a comprehensive approach when considering a young consumer's needs to best tailor your marketing message. "Examin[e] the values, the hopes, the fears, and the motivating behaviors across multiple lifestyle categories," Caruso says.

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Two: Recognize shared values

Think about the values that you and your consumers both hold in high regard to establish the common ground for a marketing strategy. If you understand those values, you'll have a more meaningful connection with your audience. "When you understand people in this way you can build trust and loyalty; this will ultimately [lead to] people evangelizing your brand," Caruso says (Lane, Ragan's PR Daily, 3/7).

Your guide to the student mind

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