Graduate School of Business
Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)
Marketing, Higher Education, Gen Z, Digital Marketing
Business | Marketing
Nauman, Marcelyn Candace, "Attracting Generation Z Students to Higher Education Institutions" (2021). Doctoral Dissertations and Projects. 2900.
U.S. Higher Education institutions (HEIs) have faced declining enrollment since 2011. At the same time, the generational cohort of first-time freshman changed from Millennials to Gen Z students, bringing with them a change in wants, needs, and values. A qualitative multiple case study was conducted to understand how to attract Gen Z students to Higher Education Institutions. The two research questions were: 1) What marketing strategies are successful HEIs using to attract Generation Z students? and 2) What are they doing differently to attract Gen Z compared to Gen X or Y? This study was based on marketing theory, generational theory, and the concept of higher education. Marketing theory suggests that product, price, place, and promotion along with a target market are necessary for success. Generational theory suggests that what worked in the past will not necessary be effective today due to the changing values and desires of a generation. To identify learnings, marketing staff were interviewed from five institutions which have successfully increased their enrollment of Gen Z students since 2013. The findings from the research indicate that the Four P’s of marketing remain critical components in attracting this audience. Additionally, a focus on utilizing data to develop marketing strategies was found to be effective, along with a collaborative culture. Institutions can apply learnings by implementing data sharing across campus, cultivating a collaborative culture, using data to develop specific target markets, creating a clear brand, and investing in digital marketing strategies such as website and social media. In conclusion, the results of the study describe how successful HEIs are attracting Gen Z students. The learnings can be implemented at other institutions to help them fulfill their purpose of educating and training students.