Finders Keepers: Trends in Communicating, from Prospect to Alum
March 13, 2007
Current Research on Millenials / Trends in Communicating with Millenials / They've Graduated - Now What?
Part I. CURRENT RESEARCH ON MILLENIALS
Nancy Robinson, Iconoculture
- Millenial generation: Ages 0-28 in 2007
- Pressed for time, money, and direction
- Rationalize indulgence
- 1st generation to accept debt: Teens are entering college w/ credit card debt
- Unrealistic ideas for post-graduation life: the good life
- Respect: inherent, not earned
- Like challenges but w/o disruption to personal life
What is Important to Millenials
- Experience (gap year can happen at anytime)
- Conscience - consumption is cause-connected
- Got a life: Friends, family, and fun come first
- Connectivity: Their attention is their choice (it's not the channel, it's the content)
Hover Me - Helicopter Parents
- Parents are advocates, personal assistants, life coaches
- Tribe of individuals
- Consumption: quality, not quantity
- Privacy not a big issue
- Rave Wireless: connects students to campus
Control Freak: consumers control environs, property, time, safety & well being.
Control, prevention, responsibility, Safety, Security (inner, not external)
- Coaching firms
- Parent bouncers
- Basic life skills courses (cooking, money management)
Come as you are
- Casual - means honest, authentic, approachable & comfortable
- Glass wall, not glass ceiling: must be able to find info at any time & quickly
- Second Life: virtual playground, work summits
- Generation CEO: Entrepeneurial
- They'll work hard, but on their own terms
Free Agent - Millenials expect flexibility, balance, individuality, practicality, trust
- Less restrictive dress code
- Fast, casual restaurants
Book Smart / Money Foolish
- Play now, pay later
- Rising cost of basics forces consumers into the red
- Budgets: coffee, furniture
- Free e-books, comes w/ a catch
- Grad School - $45,000 in debt; $100,000 med school
Dollars and Sense: savvy, reward, practicality security, success
- Peer-to-peer money mgmt programs
- MasterCard are you credit wise?
- Tuition-free colleges
- Raised in bigger houses w/ smaller families: expect more from their environments
- Twice the growth in home ownership
- Dorm Room Decorators
- Comfort, entitlement, reward, savvy, style
- Upscale on-campus living
- Rental Decorating Digest
- Me is We: carry everyone else's expectations & beliefs (parents are part of decision-making)
- Be true to your school: Colleges and universities are brands. Wal-Mart or American Apparel?
- Cautiously Independent
- Entitled Consumers
EASY DOES IT
- Make it easy to find: MySpace is aging - 30-something. Facebook is better
- Make it easy to trust. Touch points is invaluable; snailmail is unique. Keep it personal and consistent. Keep parents in the loop.
- Make it easy to decide - Make 'Acceptance" a big deal: send them a subscription to student paper, give them a compilation from college radio... etc
- Make it easy to fund: Transparency is key
- Make it easy to live: good housing? Hour cars? WiFi?
- Make it easy to learn: mentors, internships, Time mgmt & financial counseling, etc
Key Take Away
- Connected to parents.
- Connected to values: authenticity, integrity, honesty, respect.
- Surrounded by choices.
Part II. TRENDS IN COMMUNICATING WITH MILLENIALS
Kelsey Quiring, Assistant Director, Office of Admissions
Admissions Web site Redesign
- Web = Broadest communication
- Varied audience, mostly millenials
- Personalization: Not all the same - geographic, age, ethnicity, etc.
Developing Strategic Project Plan
- What is competition?
- Why are we doing this?
- Who is audience? freshmen, transfer, international, parents, counselors
- Basic message?
- Overall tone? Vibrant, warm, collegiate, Big 10, community, part of something great
- Call to action? Apply, Visit Campus
- Visual goals? Bold, vibrant, no white space, Logical organization
- Why now?
- Why will students care?
- How will we measure success?
To stay competitive, need to constantly evolve look, messages & fits demands of audience. Message is more important than cutting edge technology. Consumer-driven mindset. Streamlined and clear.
User-friendliness is key - Web map is not as important as the search box.
Differentiate features and benefits: communicate as benefits.
Consumer-demand: instant info, technology is taken for granted, use web for 18 hrs/ week.
Redesign feedback: content more noticeable.
- Student blogging
- Constituent Relationship Mgmt tool (CRM) - submit questions, documents, etc. 24 hours a day
- admissions.tc.umn.edu - click on "Ask Us"
- Harris Interactive: newsletter "Trends and 'Tudes" - research on millenials
- Bob Johnson, Creative Consulting: blog and free newsletter
Assessment: Jerilyn Veldof - firstname.lastname@example.org
- Key Players
- Libraries staff
- (should've done parents)
- "I'm overwhelmed" - don't even know where to begin
- Make it easy to find
- We need one giant library in the middle w/ personal tour guides
- Show that libraries are not obsolete
- Ability to think critically
- Libraries are central, not prelipheral
- How to manage info
- Faculty is best way to communicate library info
- time management
- awareness of campus resources is lacking - too many choices
- finding community is difficult
- Personal touch / Connection
- Independent Access
- Community Space
- Curriculum Connection
Arriving at Solution - Problem statements:
who what why questions
IWWMW technique - what do we want to do? A) "so that..." Redefine: "in what ways might we...?"
Undergrad Virtual Library Web site
- paradigm of exclusion over inclusion
- Selective information: Search box central
- Start point, not end point
- High quality info
- Librarian service
- Intellectually stimulating environment
Part III. THEY'VE GRADUATED - NOW WHAT?
Chad Cono, Alumni Association
Why Alumni Matter
Alumni Relations - a Complex Web
Alumni interact w/ many different units
Foundations vs Alumni Associations (commonly confused) - smaller, private colleges are 2-in-1; larger are 2 separate units: Fundraising & Alumni
UMAA founded in 1944
Central office in Alumni Center w/ staff in collegiate units as well
- Chapters and Contact Areas (MN, country, and world)
- Societies and Affiliates
- Interest Groups (ex - 4-H)
University Pride & Spirit Activities
Maroon and Gold Fridays
Etiquette and Image Dinner
Senior Send off
Distinguished Teaching Awards
- Benefits for U: Advocacy, collegiate support, alumni & faculty recognition, student assistance, annual celebration
- Benefits for Members: MN Mag, Online center, Activities, Discounts
- 10,000 responded to survey: 55% Male, 45% female
- 70% undergrad
- 50-59 largest age group
- Most alumni live in MN, 60% in metro area
- 56% members satisfied with academic experience
- Connection/Identification: 28% University; 17% College
- Strong preference for electronic, on-demand info (poss skewed by electronic delivery of survey)
- Membership motivation is more about loyalty than benefits
- Primary reason for not joining are: geographical distance and does not fit interests
Erica Giorgi, CLA
Department Level Communications
- Department magazines (profile faculty, alumni & students, show impacts of giving)
- Web sites - individualized w/ common visual and content elements (e.g., giving page)
- Tele-fundraising - personalized scripting for departments
College Level Communications
- semi-annual magazine: "Reach" feature faculty, alumni, encourage giving
- E-newsletter - "Alma Matters" engage people in events and volunteer ops
- Public affairs radio - "Access Minnesota" U wide, showcase faculty
- Direct Mail - Annual giving
Mary Bucceti, CFANS
- 14 depts, 100 majors
- Identify with St. Paul campus and college rather than U
- DCAR: Department Council for Alumni Relations
- Print publications
- College wide newsletter
- Alumni focused newsletter
- Golf event
- Mentor Program
Gardening, pets, climatology, health & nutrition, etc.
Focus groups to study what graduate alumni want, need, expect