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This is the beginning of another school year. While some parents have been able to change their children’s schools due to reasons best known to them, others are still for the ideal school. This new generation of parents is well informed in their decision-making process as they have access to unlimited information in the palm of their hands. This new generation of parents is referred to as Millennials. They are born between the year 1981 – 1996. One stereotypical feature that stands out when you see millennials is their love for phones. This image comes to mind of many, despite the oldest of this generational group having already surpassed 40.

Perhaps your school is finding it difficult to market to millennial parents, then you are not alone. With shorter attention spans and greater access to information than the generations before them, schools have their work cut out for them. This article will share the major habits and behaviors of Millennials to ensure that your school has better marketing success.


Who are the Millennials?

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Millennials have surpassed Baby Boomers as the largest generation to date. With their emergence during a time of globalization, technological advancement, and financial recessions, their behaviors, lifestyle, and purchasing decisions are unlike previous generations.

Millennials are more educated than previous generations, with a higher percentage holding a bachelor’s degree. Due to the financial stress that many of them come across, they often choose to either delay or not have children. This means a deadly combination of difficulty to afford tuition fees and a reduced application pool driving a more competitive landscape for schools.


Changes in Parenting Styles

When we were growing up, it was the mothers’ duty to worry about the children, and the fathers to provide for the whole family. But this case does not apply to the millennials. When marketing your school to millennial parents, it’s important not to assume that you’re only talking to Mothers. More millennial Dads act as the primary caregiver and identify fatherhood as a central part of their identities.

In addition, YouTube data has shown that millennial Fathers consume more parenting-related content than Mothers, and more than 80% of the fathers turn to YouTube for tips on major parenting topics.

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Millennial parents tend to take a less commanding role with their children than previous generations regarding family. More millennial parents report to providing their children with more decision-making power and involving them in household decisions. Why is this important to note? It means that children of millennial parents might have greater influence in choosing which school they attend.


READ MORE: Understanding the Millennial Parent: Updating Your School Marketing Plan


Millennials and Smartphones

Millennials and smartphones go hand-in-hand. They don’t just own them, they do just about anything on them. Millennials are used to getting immediate access to information anywhere, anytime. From banking to online shopping, millennials rely on their smartphones for many daily tasks.

You won’t see millennial parents at the newspaper stand or getting newsletters out of their bags. This is why schools now use multiple communication channels to keep their community of parents up to date with the latest happenings. Whether that’s emails, newsletters, notices, paper handouts, or event calendars, millennials can easily access them via their smartphones.

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But, it’s not just that smartphones are more prevalent; the way millennial parents research schools has changed too. A higher percentage of millennials confirmed that Google is their go-to resource for finding answers to their questions. In turn, not only does your school need to provide better online experiences through mobile-optimized websites, but you also need a strong SEO strategy to maximize your visibility.


Take a Break from traditional advertising

If your school invests in TV ads, radio, or billboards, it’s time to rethink your strategy! In search of more genuine feedback, this generation is a fan of online reviews. Word-of-mouth marketing takes a new approach in Google and Facebook reviews on everything from choosing where to eat to where millennials should send their child to school. Research shows that more people trust online reviews as much as they trust their friends, so it’s essential to focus on building your school’s social proof.


Social media Netizens

Unlike younger generations, who’ve never experienced a world without social media, millennials can remember a time before Mark Zuckerberg owned the digital landscape. Though it would seem for many, they aren’t looking back, with 90% of Millennials having at least one active social media account. A key point to remember when planning content for your school’s social media channels is that Millennials look for authentic experiences. They aren’t looking for highly polished and curated social media feeds but genuine moments. User-generated content is just one way you can achieve this. Lean on your community, staff, and student leaders to highlight your school’s unique selling points.


Take home points!

Parenting styles have changed; consider whom you’re marketing your school to.

Millennials rely on smartphones, and Google searches more than any other generation — make sure your school website is up to date!

Traditional advertising won’t win them over; focus on building an online review strategy instead.

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