Guest post by Katie Cardona, Consultant at Reed Brand Communication
Millennial Parent Research
In the course of the last twelve months the team at Reed Brand Communication have been struck by two things:
- The cry from our clients “our nursery and reception numbers are down” and
- The well-publicised fact that one on three millennials will never be able to afford to buy their own home.
This prompted us to embark on a self-funded research project to explore and investigate the world of the millennial parent with a view to using this information to help schools ensure their marketing resonates with this important group.
So, What Did We Find?
First of all, and worryingly, there is a smaller pool of children for schools to recruit from. Millennials are having children later, or not at all (in 2016 56% of couples aged 25-35 were childless).
We discovered that these are the key themes impacting on their lives:
- Money – financial insecurity underlies all their decisions
- Breakdown of gender expectation – the changing roles of parents
- Diversity – something they expect in all walks of life
- Modern parenting – this is all about shared responsibilities and high levels of involvement
- Convenience – this is the new ‘cool’ as are immediacy and time saving
- Physical and mental holistic well-being and balance are of paramount importance
- The workplace – their expectations are high and they expect these to be replicated in the independent schools they choose for their children
- Digital behaviour – always mobile first, a source of guidance and advice but they recognise the need for a regular digital detox
- Brand loyalty – they seek customer rewards and special deals from the brands they engage with
- Experiences –they love something experiential
- Social responsibility and ethical purpose – giving back is everything
- Nostalgia – a yearning for a time when things were better (in their eyes)
These key themes led us to conclude that what millennial parents seek above all else are…
Simplification, Service and Support
How can schools use this information to ensure their marketing chimes with this important parent group? Here are some brief suggestions you might like to consider.
Adopt best payment practices from the commercial world, such as ‘introduce a friend’. Offer sibling discounts and fee payment options
Expect changes and be ready to meet them with appropriate marketing messages aimed equally at mothers and fathers
Try, as far as possible, to ensure that your schools reflect the demographics of your area
Be ready to meet the demands of two working parents who expect a great deal from the school
Demonstrate empathy with their busy lives. Ensure the bus routes serve the right areas, that the wrap around care is adequate and that communications are clear and concise
Mental and Physical Well-Being
Millennial parents will be looking for a holistic approach to education, a balanced curriculum, a healthy diet and support for the parents
Ensure your school is up to date with regard to recruitment policies, flexible working, perks such as healthcare and fee discounts for staff
Above all ensure your website is optimised for digital and remember that ‘video is king’
Engage fully with current and prospective parents and provide outstanding ‘customer service’ to earn that all-important brand loyalty
Develop a relationship with families and make your open events interactive and fun
Support your local community and make sure you are using environmentally friendly, sustainable materials throughout the school. Single-use plastics are now severely frowned upon
Capitalise on your traditional prep school values