2016 Conference

The Next Generation: Post-Millennials…What Is Next?

Although Doug Tschopp from Augustana College presented on this topic at Higher Ed Web 2015, the 2016 material has changed based on new discoveries. What do we call them? Gen Z? iGeneration? Rainbow Generation? Really, researchers have not come to a consensus on a name yet. Doug promises to investigate generational theory, and perhaps even define it for us.

Generational Theory

Strauss and Howe define Generational Theory as location in history, beliefs and behaviors, and perceived membership. Generations are defined by the things around us – family life, gender roles, world events, religion, culture, lifestyle, and much more. Doug reminds us of the generations who were introduced to cable television, compared to those who had access to the internet the day they were born.

Defining the Generations

Baby Boomers were born between 1946 -1964, and defined as optimistic, idealist, communicative, and valuing a good education.

Gen X-ers were born between 1965-1980 and described as jaded, and “works to live.” Generation X-ers desire instant gratification and rewards. They value family and were influenced by the rise of cable television.

Millennials: born after 1980. Doug argues that there are three sub divisions within millennials, a 10-year span, and two shorter spans after them.

With this in mind, Doug argues that generations are becoming shorter. First being defined as 20 year spans, and now can be narrowed to one or two years. Generations are shaped by their parents, and let’s not forget world events – the attacks on September 11th, 2001.

iGeneration: Doug states that the iGeneration are those born after 2000. They’re 15-16 years old, and may be starting to think about the college search. This generation earned the “i” from their relationship with technology and how they view themselves.

Your Brain

Doug defined what happens to our brains when we fall asleep. When we are in deep sleep, our brains build and remove synapses, meaning it stores things in our memories or has us forget them. As our brains work throughout the day, we build up toxins which are flushed out during deep sleep. Our phones, which many of us sleep directly next to, will interrupt our sleep – even if it’s on silent – and ruin that cycle. Essentially, as Doug states, “interrupted sleep is bad.” His advice is to do something passive an hour before bed; no television, texting, or video games. Choose a book instead.

The Fun Stuff

Doug highly recommends checking PEW research to keep up with the technology trends for generations and shared some pretty shocking information for higher education marketers:

But where’s Facebook? The room agreed they’re not on Facebook because their parents are there – right? Not true. Those surveyed were asked to name their top five social media accounts…for them, Facebook is not a social media channel, it’s just part of their life.

Neil Howe on the iGeneration

They’ve grown up during the recession – seeing parents lose jobs, siblings move home after college, and are the most like the silent generation who grew up during the Great Depression. The silent generation is made of hard workers and is one of the wealthiest generations in the United States – which is promising for our upcoming generation.

The iGeneration is more conservative and more apt to save money, and are very cautious of their digital footprint. 89% rated a college education as valuable, which is important for us as higher education marketers. They use online college resources, institution websites, and advice from counselors as they begin the search for this important next step.

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By Jackie Vetrano

Jackie Vetrano is the assistant director of MBA prospect management & marketing at UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. She manages and implements the lead-nurture strategy using email as well as other important touchpoints to encourage prospective students to apply to the top-ranked MBA program. Outside of work, you’ll find Jackie participating in hot yoga, out on a run, or watching reality television. She also enjoys traveling, petting her cat, and spending time with her partner trying new foods and experiences.