TARGETING TOMORROW’S STUDENTS
“ Paradox generation
Somewhat contradictorily, of equal importance to peer
approval in any Gen Z marketing plan is a consideration for
their desire to be seen as individuals.
“When it comes to choosing a course abroad, these
students aren’t necessarily looking for an experience, they’re
looking for something that can enable them to prove their
unique merits,” explains Carolyn Gonglefski of Advent
Group, which delivers online and in-person education events
and marketing solutions for the global HE sector.
Speaking from her home office in Paris, the company’s
business unit director tells The PIE that the group organises
events in 61 countries for around 70,000 prospective MBA,
EMBA and master’s applicants each year.
“We’ve found that Gen Z is much more entrepreneurial –
they don’t aspire to hold one position or to work with one
company for a longer period,” she explains. “They like to be
active, mobile and have various opportunities open to them.
“So our focus is to help them prove their uniqueness, and
to address their interest in international study in a way that
can advance their individual path and not necessarily put
them into a mould.”
It’s not about putting up information
that’s static – now you get to experiment
12 | THE PIE REVIEW | ISSUE #26
With a motto of ‘making education personal’, Gonglefski
explains that targeted, bold messaging is part of Advent’s
value proposition. “Even if a student hasn’t registered for a
event or service, we can get a sense of who they are by the
different kinds of content that they’re looking at,” she adds.
“We make sure every campaign is as targeted as it can
be by showing that we know who they are, where they are
via their IP address and what specific event or university
we think that they would be interested in based on their
As intrusive as it might sound on paper, it’s an approach
that Gen Z has ”absolutely come to expect” agrees Jess
Hickman, director of Client Services at UK-based marketing
agency Crunch Simply Digital.
“Gen Z expects to have a personalised approach and
that they are going to be spoken to almost on a one-to-one
basis – even if that is automated – and that they’re going to
get information that’s relevant to what they want,” she says.
In Asia, students likewise respond well to marketing
initiatives that consider their “perspectives on individuality,
success, and sustainability”, says Kim Morrisson, CEO at
China-based consultancy Grok. She is singing from the same
songbook when she advises that Asia’s Gen Z respond best
to brief, snappy authenticity.
“Covid-19 has seen Grok clients transfer budgets that
would have been spent on travel into the use of digital and
social media and distance recruitment techniques to find
new ways of discovering interested students, engaging them,
and converting them,” she adds.
Break from tradition
With Gen Z exploring and even settling on an institution ear-lier
than previous generations (research by Study in the USA
found that students contacted as 15-16-year-old sophomo-res
were almost twice as likely to enrol as those contacted in
their senior year) parental figures and the level of financial
support they can provide will still have an important part to
play in the final decision.
Gen Z students are looking to address
their interest in international study in a
way that can advance their individual
path, uniqueness and career goals
PHOTO: BONGKARN THANYAKIJ / PEXELS