How do you adapt your marketing efforts to attract Millennials whose younger children can fill your preschool and infant rooms while still enticing those X-er parents with school agers? X-ers will respond to marketing messaging that gives them verifiable answers to the questions, “How is this curriculum taught?” “What is required to register and get my child started?” and “Is it really going to be as easy to be enrolled here as it says on your website?” Posted quality credentials, clear documentation of learning, and easy registration procedures, could strongly influence X-ers to say “Yes,” when you ask them to enroll. “Millennials are the video generation,” says Robert Wendover, Director of The Center for Generational Studies, so virtual tours, endorsements, and staff interviews can be strong buying influencers for this generation.
In print and online advertising, and in your efforts to influence public opinion, you can use the following techniques to appeal to, persuade, and call to action each target generational group.
- Mix the message –Use the third party endorsement of testimonials to help assure wary X-ers. For Millennials, put those comments on You Tube and back link to the center’s website. Remember, Millennials begin every quest for information with a screen and a mouse. Take advantage of the frequency of messaging social networking offers to provide messages to both generations of buyers of your services.
- Mix pictures and graphics – A mix of pictures or graphics, carefully designed, will grab the attention of prospects in both generational groups. For example, include a photo of an X-er center director with a happy school-ager, and at least one picture of a Millennial teacher engaged in activities with young children, a graphic of your accreditation certificate, and perhaps a photo of a child in your computer lab or completing a lesson on your Smart Board.
- Cut to the benefits on bullets – Bullets make your message a quick read for digitally-savvy Millennials, yet specific for the inquisitive X-ers. Though the theme of your advertising can be more emotional, the bullets need to suggest a serious, yet fun approach to early care and education to capture the X-ers’ attention. Millennials will want brief assurances that high expectations for education and attention will be met. Be sure your bullets communicate benefits; that is, what the prospect gets, not just what you have to offer.
Of utmost importance is to know your target audience. What are their demographic and psychographic (lifestyle preferences) characteristics? What information and services do they ask for? To which kind of inquiry or visit follow up do they respond best? What do your parent surveys show are the factors that keep them at your center? If you have not yet done a profile of the target audience you aim to serve at each of your centers, make that your first step. Until you know who they are, what they are looking for, and how they respond to marketing messages, you can waste a lot of time and resources mis-communicating, and thus not getting the inquiries and conversions you want.
Generational marketing is a way of thinking about how to become more effective at marketing your center and building enrollment. Because the primary target market for early care and education services has changed from a predominance of Generation X-er parents to mostly Millennials, marketing and selling with messages meaningful to both generations helps increase the pool of prospective enrollees. It’s another way of thinking in the prospect’s perspective. When you do that, you have a better chance of turning more of your prospects into enrollments.
Reference: The Center for Generational Studies, Robert Wendover, Director, 303-617-7207, www.generationaldiversity.com.
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