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Podcasts Mission Admissions Episode 17
Higher Ed Still Struggles to Connect with Gen Z – Here’s How Marketers and Admissions Professionals Can Fix That
[00:00:00] Andrew Roth: Especially with this generation, you know, my professors would send me these 40 question surveys to my email asking me to do things. I'm like, okay, well first of all, what's the prize and how quickly can I get through this to get to the end? And can I watch TikTok at the same time? And so, you know, it's just clearly there's this disconnect happening.
[00:00:26] Jeremy Tiers: Hey everybody. This is Jeremy Tiers from Tudor Collegiate Strategies, and you're about to check out the latest episode of the Mission Admissions Podcast, A show that's designed to help higher ed become better recruiters, communicators, marketers, and managers. Each week, I'll introduce you to an industry leader or difference maker who will share helpful advice, tips, and strategies that will help you grow professionally and personally.
[00:00:55] Mission admissions is part of the Enroll five Podcast Network and is [00:01:00] made possible by Gecko. An engagement platform that makes it easy for your team to deliver a better student experience. I'm excited to share my latest candid conversation. So let's get started.
[00:01:14] Hey everybody, it's Jeremy Tiers and this is episode 17 of the Mission Admissions podcast. I'm extremely excited to have this guest here with me today. I've been following the work of Andrew Roth and his DC DX company and feel like he's got a very good understanding of what makes Gen Z tick. So Andrew, before we dive in, can you give everybody listening kind of the Cliff notes origin story of your journey to.
[00:01:42] Becoming a 24 year old founder and CEO of a Gen Z consulting firm.
[00:01:45] Andrew Roth: Of course, of course. And thank you again, Jeremy, for, for having me today. And yeah, DC DX is a Gen Z consulting firm, and the origins of it came right around, uh, right around Covid. So I, I, I was studying abroad. I was, I, I was in London and got sent home.
[00:01:59] Um, and kind of [00:02:00] at that time, two things became very obvious to me. One was that. , the voices of Gen Z were, were, were asking, and in some cases demanding things from, from leaders, from institutions, and many times they weren't being heard and listened to. Um, and, and that was only exacerbated by the murder, murder of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement.
[00:02:17] And it just, it became very clear there's this disconnect between what young people wanted and what they were asking for and, and what. What organizations, what brands, what, what institutions were doing and saying. And so, um, you know, that was kind of the, the flip of the switch that said, Hey, there's something, something needs to change here.
[00:02:31] Something needs to happen. But for me, and, and, and as a Gen Zer, I think the, the one thing that, uh, always frustrated me a little bit about. about research and kind of understanding a, a cohort is that, especially with this generation, you know, my professors would send me these 40 question surveys to my email asking me to do things.
[00:02:51] I'm like, okay, well first of all, what's the prize and how quickly can I get through this to get to the end? And can I watch TikTok at the same time? And so, you know, it's [00:03:00] just clearly there's this disconnect happening between. Not only listening to and understanding the voices of this generation, but actually measuring and under and, and, and trying to learn more about them, just the methods themselves.
[00:03:11] And so between those two things, it was an opportunity for us to, to come in as Gen Zers, to bring our voices to the table, but also do it in a Gen Z way. And that's really, really what got us started. .
[00:03:21] Jeremy Tiers: What's the biggest thing Gen Z complains about? ?
[00:03:24] Andrew Roth: The biggest thing Gen Z complains about. Oh my gosh. I, I think, I think there's a , it's somewhat of a misconception, I think in the, in the workplace.
[00:03:32] I just, all the time I see these articles out in the workplace, like Gen Z, they're, they're quiet, quitting, like they don't wanna work hard at their jobs. I think this is just this general idea of that, and that's like, I understand. I think a lot of times there's a, a comparison that happens. You know, back in my day when I was entering the workforce, I didn't, we just didn't say anything.
[00:03:49] We worked and did this and like, that's natural. I get it. But I think with, with this generation, it's about like understanding the context and, and why, why these behaviors are happening, right? It's not that we're lazy [00:04:00] or we're complainers, it's just that we're fundamentally living a different life. We've grown up in a different era, right?
[00:04:04] The fact that, uh, we've been born with technology and Google at our fingertips. We don't remember a time. Before being able to do that. And so yeah, when when we don't get something like that, it might affect how we respond because it's just who we are. It's part of part of our, our nature.
[00:04:23] Jeremy Tiers: Yeah. I have a 13 year old daughter, as a lot of the audience knows and.
[00:04:27] Again, we joke with her all the time. I'm old enough, as I was sharing with you at 47 to remember when email literally became a thing, right? I was literally a sophomore in college and I just remember my university saying, all right, now you gotta wait to go use the computer lab in this thing called email, which is the way we're gonna communicate with you.
[00:04:44] And that's how far we've come, right? Cuz that's the mid to late nineties right there. And to your point, I think it's understanding it has. . So then why do you feel like, because I understand that brands, people who work for colleges and universities [00:05:00] who are listening to this, Andrew, they know it's changed.
[00:05:02] I don't think anybody's looking going, what, what's changed? What they're a different generation with, with all this technology? Why is it so hard? What is the disconnect that you feel like, right? Get so many brands and colleges and companies to struggle. Well, then we're just gonna change the way we do things to make it more, again, customer centered.
[00:05:21] Student focused. Yeah. Great
[00:05:22] Andrew Roth: question. To me, I think the biggest challenge here is that. With this generation, and not even Gen Z specifically, but more of the time we are like our era in culture right now. Things are changing at a faster and faster rate, right? Especially with this generation, with trends and, and with technology.
[00:05:39] It's not only that there's new things being introduced, right? It's not that they're okay, now there's TikTok, and now there's all these new platforms. It's the fact that they're changing, so. , which I think poses the biggest challenge for a lot of marketers and, and institutions to say why even wor, like why even try and understand if tomorrow or the next day it's gonna be different.
[00:05:58] Right. And that's like the [00:06:00] name of our company is DC dx, which is a reference to, to, uh, derivative if you remember your, your, your Calculus Days back in school of d y dx. Right? But where C stands for culture. And it's this idea that in order to understand this generation, in order to truly understand what's happening, we have to actually measure and.
[00:06:14] The way in which culture is changing and how fast culture is changing because that's what's really dictating like the way in which this generation's responding and behaving. And I think we see it all the time that it's just like, how do we even keep up is like the biggest question. How do we keep up with just the rate at which things are happening today and in all areas.
[00:06:32] Jeremy Tiers: So I feel like the platforms, I get that the way we communicate's changing. Right. But I feel like there, and I would love your take on this foundational. That people in my generation, people in Gen Z in your generation, have always wanted, and the generation coming next behind Gen Z, a hundred percent wants the same thing too, which is these lovely buzzwords we've heard about now for years, which are authenticity, just like sounding like a human, [00:07:00] not like a robot, showing empathy.
[00:07:03] Those, to me are foundational things. Andrew, why do you think then it's so hard to kind of get those. Kind of mixed in as we communicate with all of these different brands and companies to Gen Z.
[00:07:18] Andrew Roth: Yeah. I mean, I think one, one part of that is, is, is the pure amount of information that this generation and the next will be receiving.
[00:07:28] Right? It's not just that we want authenticity, it's, it's, it's because of the fact. We see young kids are seeing so many different ads throughout the day. They're getting so many different, they're, you know, because they're on their phones, just their phones alone for seven hours a day, and on TikTok for, you know, two, whatever it is.
[00:07:44] Like, they're, they're seeing so many pieces of information and so the, the, the point at which, like the, the distillation point for them and, and what point they have to make a decision, Hey, is this relevant to me? Do I want to engage with, this is so much smaller and there's so much more of [00:08:00] a, a, you. kind of a, a BS filter.
[00:08:02] Like a lot of people say is there's like a, gen Z has a BS filter because, because they have to. Right? Because it's, there's so much more information that they just have to have this way to sort through it quickly.
[00:08:11] Jeremy Tiers: So then what advice, if you're talking to a company that wants to communicate with Gen Z a college or university's head of marketing, you know, director of enrollment admissions, what advice are you giving him or.
[00:08:25] in terms of, all right, you've got all this outside noise. A lot of what you can't control. If you want to get more people to talk to you, if you want to get more people to open emails, read, text, and respond and like talk to you on the phone, you need to do A, B, and C. What are A, B, and C in your opinion?
[00:08:41] Andrew Roth: Yeah, I think the, the thing that's most important to us in this generation is, is should just. , listen to what we're saying and not even stop there. I think there's, the most successful ones are actually bringing Gen Zers into the process, right? It's not just ask, sitting down in an interview [00:09:00] and saying, Hey, you know, what do you think of this?
[00:09:01] We can change it after this. It's, it's actually creating with them, right? Co-creation is a huge, huge discussion right now, and this idea of community is another buzzword get that gets thrown around, but also something vital. Experience right now for Gen Z of like, it's not just two and four, this generation, it's with, and I think the more that we can have that conversation and the more, the more people realize that, I think like you talked about the challenges earlier, this is another fundamental challenge we see of just the control that marketers have in their process.
[00:09:29] There's a, there's a, there needs to be a a degree that, that. Kind of let loose a little bit, right? You have to bring young people in because you're never gonna, I mean, truly, there's just the only people that can truly understand that the trends and the way these things are evolving are young people, and so it makes things easier for you, right?
[00:09:45] This struggles and challenges can be solved, or at least, you know, lowered by, by just bringing young people in to help with it. .
[00:09:53] Jeremy Tiers: I see so many schools that are starting to get this concept to Andrew. There's a ton who are still not getting it. Mm-hmm. . But I'm [00:10:00] seeing more and more schools saying, you know what?
[00:10:01] We're gonna bring in a handful of students or have a student panel that sits in on our monthly marketing meetings, for example, or something like that, just so as they're hearing us talk, they might go, yeah, that's not gonna work. You don't want to do that with this generation of students, and here's why.
[00:10:16] To your point, I love this concept of. . So if we're trying to get students to say, all right, or young people to say, we want you to be part of this process. If I don't know you and you don't know me, and I wanna reach out to you, Andrew, how do I get that conversation going? You know, how do I get you to say, all right, I don't know who this person is, Jeremy Tier, I'm gonna open this email, or I'm gonna respond to this.
[00:10:42] is it a certain medium? Is it a certain way you phrase it? I mean, gimme any thoughts on that when you start a conversation with somebody you don't know? Yeah.
[00:10:50] Andrew Roth: I mean, un unfor, unfortunately, I think it's all of the above, right? It's, it's number one, understanding the platform is important. Where, where, where can you reach these, you know, [00:11:00] this, this generation in a place that they're gonna be, they're initially going to be even receptive to.
[00:11:05] overall, right? I think if you're, you're giving Gen Z a phone call, like it's probably already off to a bad start . Um, and so even email, like I email is, I know it's, it's the foundation of, of higher ed and, and email marketing. I mean, it's just the foundation of everything. But again, like these, these, for, for Gen Z email specifically has a very, very unique role in, in the day-to-day life versus a TikTok and an Instagram and a Snapchat and a Twitter.
[00:11:30] And so, Understanding where you can enter that conversation. What the expectation, what is it? What is a Gen Zer on Instagram expecting to see? And then when they do see an ad, or when they do see a, a, you know, a marketing promo, what, what are they feeling? Right? That's. That's important to start.
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[00:13:38] Jeremy Tiers: So I want to come back to feelings for sure. Cuz I think you hit on something there that is uber important.
[00:13:42] But let's go back to this concept of, all right, Andrew, I have all this data and you know, we do massive surveys with tens of thousands of students. We partner with other companies and do that throughout the year too. And we've asked for nine plus years running. Things like, all right. What's the primary way you wanna be [00:14:00] communicated during your college search?
[00:14:02] It's overwhelming. The email. What's the first kind of communication you think a college should send? It's overwhelming the email. Do you think then students are lying to us? Or do you think it's just kind of like, I don't know. That's what I'm supposed to say. I feel like, because that's what the generation before me did, like.
[00:14:16] Thoughts on that?
[00:14:17] Andrew Roth: Yeah, that's . I don't think they're not, I mean, they're not lying, but I do think it's, it's a little more complicated than. than just looking at the data and saying, oh, okay, well they said email, so let's, let's just stick with email. I mean, I think part of it yes. Is this conditioned idea that okay, like institutions, brands are, are, have, have always been communicating with me there.
[00:14:37] So that's kind of where I'm expecting them to communicate. And like, I, I still think there's a, a formal role that email. kind of has, you know, there's a, there's a feeling of email that that still has formality compared to the other platforms. And like, there's a balance that a brand needs to play, especially in higher ed, higher education.
[00:14:54] You know, there's things, things you need to protect around your, your, your status as an institution, right? And so I think email [00:15:00] certainly plays a role there. I think if, you know, you're getting a DM from, on Instagram from a, from a school, like it may not, people may be like, who? Why would I like, this is not legitimate.
[00:15:09] Right. Um, But then the other, the next step is like, okay, well what is it that they're actually communicating via email? Right? That's the first step. And the second step is, well, how do you actually get them to open that and, and read it? Um, and, and do something. Even the third, third step.
[00:15:24] Jeremy Tiers: So think back to your college search cuz you're not that far removed from it.
[00:15:27] And I know you have friends who, I'm sure you talked about this with, that you can remember conversations. I don't know if Vanderbilt was your dream school, right? Or if it was a school that again, you always knew you wanted to go to. what got your attention and got you to open things and or your friends and or if you all have done research specific to any of that thoughts on any of that you can share?
[00:15:50] Andrew Roth: Yeah, I mean I think I, I, I guess I remember colleges coming into my high school and, you know, hearing them talk and all that stuff. But I think the [00:16:00] biggest differentiator and like what helped the most in the decision making process was not what I was receiving from them. It was actually the actions I.
[00:16:08] on my own to investigate what my curiosities were. It's, it's, it's the fact that I would go on YouTube and say, day in the life of a student at Vanderbilt. Right. And you look at, I mean, one of my friends actually, Elliot Choi, who was kind of the, one of the original creators of like the, the college Day in the Life videos and, and he went to Vanderbilt.
[00:16:23] But like the influence that those videos have because you're able to, to feel and live with these students through, you know, through your screen. Like that was so. Right. And even, even just singularly of the type of student that goes there for someone, because there were videos about that. Like it told me that, hey, people like, like their school, they want to share what their experience is like because they want to show others that they care about that.
[00:16:45] And so, yeah, I would get an email from Mandible and I would probably, I don't know, open it and maybe read it, but, but then I would go on YouTube, then I would go on TikTok and search what's happening. And like that's where the influence happened.
[00:16:57] Jeremy Tiers: And it's interesting you say that. [00:17:00] No question. Right. We're a visual generation, especially young people.
[00:17:03] It's what they've grown up with, with technology. My daughter, if we would let her, would sit on her tablet and watch YouTube videos and you know, vlogs all day every day. Right. But at the end of the day, I think, and I'd love to get your take on this. What separates obviously that from an email or from anything that requires has text is it's visual and you just get a whole different set of emotions and feelings when you watch something than when you do when you read something, right?
[00:17:30] And so let's sit on that concept of feelings. Because when I lead training workshops, Andrew, I talk a lot about how important feelings are. Young people tell us all the time, the feel of campus literally feels and air quotes on a survey ranks as one of the top couple things that helps them select their college or university.
[00:17:48] And how the admission staff and other people treated me throughout the process also ranks super high. What have you found, or what has DC DX found when it comes to just the importance of feelings and emotions when it comes to [00:18:00] any kind of decision making for Gen Z?
[00:18:02] Andrew Roth: Yeah, great question. Great question. So to, to link this back to part of the earlier conversation around, uh, the amount of information that's out there.
[00:18:09] One thing we study a lot is the effectiveness of advertising and what's like, kind of where we are today and when, where we might be going. And I think when we look at the trajectory of trust, right? How, how are we getting this generation to trust and believe in, in things they're hearing and seeing. . It started with, you know, this idea of institutions and kind of a centralized source.
[00:18:29] And, and, and there's a lot of studies that show there's a high distrust for, for like these governments or institutions or things that, that may be saying they're doing things but not actually doing them. And so we moved from there to influencers and, and the way that influencers have shaped from kind of a one to a 1 million.
[00:18:45] Scale, but a more decentralized version. And we're continuing to evolve and, and now we're in kind of this community driven phase where there's, there's a higher level of trust in truth coming from a community. I mean, things like Reddit, right? Especially in the college process, the College Confidential and these Reddit platforms because you're getting this [00:19:00] anonymized source of truth from, from others.
[00:19:02] But to get this is coming full circle to your question, is that experience for this generation kind of becomes this undeni. source of truth, right? Where, where, because there's so much, you know, misinformation out there in, in, on TikTok, you can watch a video and not know if it's created by AI or you know, or in a fake voice.
[00:19:21] The idea of, of experiencing something yourself gives you this un undeniable truth. And I think when you talk about feelings and vibes and, and like these emotions, it's because you can see all these things and you can, you know, hear all these things, but when you actually feel. , it gives you this, you, you, you have to trust it.
[00:19:40] And I think that's why we see this being so powerful, both in advertising and in, you know, in as, as a, as a word that comes up to describe how we're, you know, like what is influencing, you know, our, our, our, our decision. .
[00:19:53] Jeremy Tiers: So let's expand on that because to me, you create feelings a couple of different ways.
[00:19:58] The language and tone of an [00:20:00] email, a text message, whatever it is, is gonna create some set of feelings, right? Mm-hmm. , if you're being empathetic, if it feels like you're feeling, you know, and writing in a personal way versus a very transactional way. Colleges talk a lot about the importance of, well, we just need to get to visit campus.
[00:20:14] Right? Because they're gonna be able to see it, of course. But you and I both know there's no way every student not even close could visit even if they wanted to. Because of means and other things. So what advice would you give to somebody listening who's like, all right, I know how to do it in person when it comes to creating feelings, but those experiences you talked about, Andrew, how do I create those then when I'm either creating video content for them to watch and email a text?
[00:20:41] Thoughts on those
[00:20:42] Andrew Roth: things. A couple ways to approach this. One is, , the, the, you know, social content you can put out that shows and gets people to feel the emotions and the stories of the students that are there, right? Whether it's a day in their life video from, from and from a student or just highlights of, of current students.
[00:20:56] That's, that's one direction. But the other is giving them opportunities [00:21:00] before they get to campus, to, to, to hear from them. Like, I mean, can you, is there a way to talk to some current students, some freshmen or some seniors that have been there for four years and might be able to give some more advice on that?
[00:21:09] And so, just make, making it a more human process building, building the connection with people, whether it's virtual or in person, is really what's, what gives some of that vibe and that feeling
[00:21:21] Jeremy Tiers: well, and that, to that point, Andrew, we see that work really well when we create, you know, company I work for tutoring, collegiate strategies.
[00:21:29] We work with a handful of colleges and universities where we write a lot of the messages they'll send to, for example, a lot of, a lot of the Gen Zers we're talking about today and one of the ways we try to create some of those feelings, You know, you might be sending an email on March 6th today when we're recording this to a bunch of admitted students.
[00:21:46] If you're at a college who haven't made their final decision yet, well, so many of them are struggling cuz we see this in the data with like, how do I know I'm making the right decision, right? I'm worried I'm gonna make the wrong decision. Well, why not? Go talk to some of your [00:22:00] current students and either A, get them to talk about that on video or worst case B, get some direct quotes from them that you can then put in an email.
[00:22:09] And frame the email as, listen, if this is something you're experiencing and thinking about. Totally. Normal happens with students every year. So, you know what? I went and talked with a few of our students who dealt with this last year and our first year students. Now here's what they told me to tell you.
[00:22:24] Do you feel like that's an effective strategy if somebody's trying to get the attention of Gen Z and create those
[00:22:29] Andrew Roth: feelings? Yeah, I mean, I, I think that is effective. It's, it's what? It's not distilling, you know, it's not, it's not making the, the truth muddy. It's just if the. Are saying positive things, then you're seeing those and it's like it, I think there's a, you know, no one wants to be sold to, no one wants to, to, to be feeling like they're being pushed and pulled in a certain direction.
[00:22:50] If you just give transparent transparency into the voices of, of the students, that's really what authenticity rate means. Right. Like that, to talk about those buzzwords you, you mentioned earlier, [00:23:00] you know, it's the biggest buzzword that's out there on Gen Z. Authenticity is just not being afraid to let, to let the, the feelings and, and vibes of on campus emerge on their own.
[00:23:08] Right. It's, it's like, let let that speak for itself. Let the students speak for itself. And if you feel like, and if it's bad, well, well, that's, then there's other problems to take care of on campus before you start to think about, you know, where, where your students are coming from.
[00:23:21] Jeremy Tiers: And I know DC DX has done work with brands like Chipotle.
[00:23:25] what did that work or any work you've done with other brands, Andrew, help you all understand about how Gen Z kind of looks at brands and what causes them to be loyal? Yeah. I
[00:23:34] Andrew Roth: think when you think about the idea of loyalty and Chipotle is a definitely a good example, but it certainly shows in other, other places like it.
[00:23:42] It's feeling as a, as a person, not even just as a young person, feeling as a person, that the brand genuinely cares about you and your life, right? Versus they just want what's in your pocket. . If you as a, as a brand or as an institution are able to make that distinction and, and, and make [00:24:00] that a focal point of your process, the tables turn quickly, right?
[00:24:04] Where it's starting to feel like, Hey, I don't, they don't just want me as a student on their campus, they want me to be happy, right? They, they know that I'm lonely right now. They know that I struggle with my mental health or, or whatever it is, and they're genuinely concerned about that and want to help me with.
[00:24:20] well then I start to see you as a, oh, well, like . Maybe you are someone who can really help with this. Not, not someone that's just not feeding into that automatic cycle of, of, of ignor ignoring emails and, and, and getting rid of that. It's like, oh, well they actually, they actually want me to be happy. Wow.
[00:24:36] That's, that's amazing. Because we don't get that from other places. ,
[00:24:39] Jeremy Tiers: what do you think then the biggest misconception is about Gen Z? Like what do you see more than anything else where you're like, I, I don't know where this comes from, but they, people think X and it's just not true. Yeah. I think
[00:24:49] Andrew Roth: to, to play off of the previous point, it's this idea that, you know, we're, we're this generation's complaining a lot or they're weak or, or, or just like, [00:25:00] I mean, especially, you know, related to the mental health conversation, right?
[00:25:02] It's. , just get over it. Or, or, or, you know, why is it such a big problem? We had the same, you know, we, we saw the same things when we were growing up and I think, you know, that's a huge misconception. Misconception. And it's a dangerous one, right? Because it, it only, it shows that you don't understand young people.
[00:25:19] It shows that you're not listening to them. And it shows that you don't care about solving this problem and making it, making you. ,
[00:25:25] Jeremy Tiers: any strategies that you're seeing work well for companies, Andrew, that higher ed absolutely should be doing if they're not already doing it, when it comes to being more authentic with Gen
[00:25:34] Andrew Roth: Z?
[00:25:35] Yeah, I think we've, we've, we've touched on this before, I think the biggest, biggest tip and, and most tangible takeaways that if you have not done this already, find a group of students that are willing and want to talk. their experience with, with you and, and bring them into that process, right? It's not about making your marketing plan for this generation.
[00:25:52] It's about making it with them. And so bring them into that conversation is, it's, it's an easy way to do it. I mean, it, you're not hiring someone full-time. You don't need to do that. You need to, [00:26:00] you bring, bring 20 students on campus together, and then a, a small group of four of them that you really trust and feel are, are representative of the voices that you're talking to and have them involved in that.
[00:26:09] Put 'em in a text conversation with you and get their thoughts on stuff like, those are easy, easy ways to just bridge. Gap and, and close the disconnect. Really understanding the role that you play in the life of, of this generation is, is the, the first step to finding that meaning, because there are now so many different brands.
[00:26:30] There's anyone that pops up every day. You know, I, I don't know. I think there's a, there's an interesting example in, in the beverage space that just happened, uh, cist, um, was, was. put back for, for a new, new, new face of the Pepsi brand on the, to replace it Starry. And um, you know, it was approached with this very like, oh, let's make this totally four generation Z.
[00:26:53] We're gonna make the colors be for Gen Z. We're gonna, and they brought Gen Zers in, in the process. But I think it was like what they missed was just that [00:27:00] it was just so aggressively like clearly targeting this generation that. , it flopped, right? I mean, we'll see. It's not, it was recently launched, but the immediate reaction on TikTok and on social was like, just bring back cist.
[00:27:12] Right. And so when you talk about to, to relate this back to meaning and role, it's like what role did. , you know, did CRS truly play? What or what role does Pepsi really play in? Like, obviously you don't, you don't just want to be another brand that feels like it's targeting Gen Z. You don't just want to be another institution that's just trying to recruit students in the same way.
[00:27:29] There's a, there's a very specific type of student that goes to your school. There's a very specific type of consumer that shops for your brand. And playing into that, I think will only build the love and loyalty that we see, you know, showcased so strongly from Chick-fil-A and Chipotle and, and all these, you know, kind of top gen Z.
[00:27:48] Jeremy Tiers: Why do you think people wait in line 10, 20 minutes a day at Chick-fil-A? Because they do it everywhere in the entire country, except obviously Sundays, but like just thoughts on that. Starbucks pick a brand. Why do people do that? , [00:28:00]
[00:28:02] Andrew Roth: think there's, with those brands, there's just a. , you know, a, a presence they've had in our lives for so long.
[00:28:09] And like they've built, you know, the idea of convenience, obviously being something that's so built into who this generation is. You know, it's never been easier to get a coffee the way exact, the exact way you want it, um, and have it ready every time you walk in the store. And I think there's just something powerful through that.
[00:28:24] Obviously they've, it's been, they've been working on their brand for, I don't even know how long, but it's a long time coming. But I think, um, you know, we talk about something at DCX called, called Brand magnetism, right? This idea of how. How your brand's actually able to attract and like pull in conversations from Gen Z rather than seek them, like seek them out and, and push them.
[00:28:42] Right. Um, and we measure that in a, in a quantitative way. But what we see when we analyze brands from this. Brand magnetism factor is looking at what factors are actually causing that conversation, right? What factors are, are causing young people to talk about your brand organically without, without needing that prompt from, you know, what are those [00:29:00] factors?
[00:29:00] It, it changes my industry. Um, and, and so in QSR specifically, you, there's, um, there, there are, there's things like the, the drive through experience, you know, What, what kind of, what kind of engagement comes from, like, there's so many videos of Starbucks content where you're just, there's people in the car talking to the, to the, to the, um, you know, the drive through cashier person that's, that's taking your order and, um, or, you know, ASMR content, like is is crazy how, how, how much your brand can actually leverage some of the content around people's fascination with just watching other people eat.
[00:29:32] Um, it does vary by industry, but overall, right, it's this, just this different way of, of looking at culture and kinda analyze. what? What truly is causing young people to talk.
[00:29:43] Jeremy Tiers: I feel like the more personal, the more relevant, less transactional you can be in any medium. Mm-hmm. and all these other words we talked about before, authenticity, empathy.
[00:29:54] No question. I would argue that gets more people to en engage. I also say you just have to ask more intentional questions [00:30:00] a lot. Fair. We've gone from asking, you know, I use this example a lot when I do training workshops, I, we don't just ask our daughter, how was your day anymore? Cuz we'll get good. Right?
[00:30:08] That's all we'll get. Now it's like, Olivia, walk us through everything you did in each of your classes today, but Andrew, right. And I know you're laughing. We get the answer we want. Yeah. All right. In math, I did this and I think a lot of it is there has to be more direction. then just saying, Andrew, do you have any questions?
[00:30:25] Well, of course Andrew has questions. The problem is a lot of times you, you don't know what you're supposed to ask and wait, I don't wanna say something that sounds dumb and, and so any thoughts on just, it's also the language you use when you communicate regardless of what medium it is that has to be more relaxed, conversational, less robotic thoughts on any of that?
[00:30:45] Andrew Roth: Yeah, no, I a hundred percent agree with you. I think, and I think that's a great example. I also have been saying good to my parents for the last. 10 years of responding to how was your day? So, um, I I should have given them that tip when they were, when they were asking that, but, but no, you're, [00:31:00] you're right.
[00:31:00] Right. It's, it's, it's not just where you're asking, it's how, um, and I dunno. I was talking to someone about the work Gen Z in the workplace the other day, and they were asking like, Hey, , why are Gen Z are so re refusing This idea of like, if your boss asks you to present something on this, like the next day going to do it.
[00:31:17] And it's just cuz just the methods of communication, like maybe they can put it together in a, in a slide deck for you in, in, in two hours and turn it around and make it better than anything they could do. But the fear of, of, or, you know, even just the discomfort maybe of getting up and presenting it might make it more challenging and obviously Yeah.
[00:31:32] Should they as a business skill be able to go up and present something? Sure. , but can we work first by just getting the presentation, you know, in, in the format that they want and then get 'em more comfortable to, to get up there and talk. And I think it's just a matter of approaching the situation from the ways that that young people are comfortable doing.
[00:31:49] Jeremy Tiers: couple other things I want to hit on before we finish up today. What are you and, um, DC DX focused on for the rest of 2023? Anything you can share? Like where, where's your focus [00:32:00] right now?
[00:32:00] Andrew Roth: Yeah, great question. So I'm gonna actually bring this back. One of the, one of the questions you asked earlier was the, the, the behaviors in 12 to 24 months that are emerging.
[00:32:09] Um, and there is one that I think is particularly relevant that we're focusing in a lot, uh, on the longer term. Uh, a couple weeks ago, the CDC just released, uh, A youth risk behavior report. That was a 10 year study from 2011 to 2021. Why it took two years to come out after that, I don't know. But, um, they just released it in February of this year.
[00:32:31] And it shows some, some really scary numbers on mental health, on and on loneliness for this generation. Um, and so a lot of our work, even with brands is focusing on how can we put your, put your brand in a spot where you're contributing in a positive way. To the trends and, and trajectory of these behaviors.
[00:32:52] Um, and so, you know, one thing, we're in the dating space right now doing a lot of work on how can we, how we can help Gen Zers build healthy relationships. Because in the [00:33:00] dating world, there's a lot of negative trends happening and like, just, it feels like a, it feels like we're, we're headed towards a really dark space on that side.
[00:33:06] And, and it echoes a lot of the things that we've seen around loneliness and around around these feelings of sadness, sadness, and hopelessness that exist with so many folks. And so, We're building around, you know, uh, these themes in a lot of the spaces that we're working with our clients in. And I think, um, I, I just, I think there's a responsibility that we have as a company at DC dx, but also a responsibility that, that brands should have to keep these things in mind because they're not, like, these aren't trends and they're not, they're not nice to have.
[00:33:36] It's like these need to change otherwise, three years from now, we're gonna be having a very, very different conversation that we should have had. Okay. Which is, how do we get, yeah. I won't even go in there, but yeah. We need to, we need to
[00:33:48] Jeremy Tiers: change things. Yeah. No, it is such an important conversation and, and businesses, colleges, for the most part, all need to invest more in mental health resources.
[00:33:56] And, you know, I, I keep going back to the, one of the first words you used [00:34:00] today, listening. There needs to be more listening. And there's a difference, you know, between, for example, active listening and what I call, and people call competitive listening. It's just something that those things go a long, long way to getting people not only to engage with you, but to pay attention and to communicate.
[00:34:19] I would argue with you, this is a loaded question, but I'm gonna ask it anyways, so take it any which way you want. Thoughts on chat? G P T, .
[00:34:26] Andrew Roth: Oh man, I, my personal thoughts or.
[00:34:33] Jeremy Tiers: Personal thoughts, how it's going to impact just companies, businesses, anything along those lines that you think will be helpful for the audience and anything personal you want to include?
[00:34:43] Yeah, I mean, I
[00:34:43] Andrew Roth: think from a, a business point of view and you know, the news with some institutions trying to ban it, you know, like kids are smart. , I don't, don't underestimate the, the, the savviness of, of kids. And so if you ban chat g p t from your school, we're gonna find a [00:35:00] VPN to work your way around it.
[00:35:01] So it's not the question of, you know, like, and that's not, that's just one example of, you know, whatever you do, that we're gonna find a way around it. And so I think understanding and trying to figure out now, you know, it's some learning I'm trying to do is how we can build this into our, our every day or if not, or every day.
[00:35:16] Like in the places that it's, it's useful and trying to leverage that. Cuz I think what we. with chat g p t is this reliance on, you know, it's, it's reliance on, on old information just being used in different ways and, and to, to repurpose something new. But it's all based on, you know, this old existing sets of information.
[00:35:34] And so like there's a, a risk to creativity and then also an em, like a, a need for, for a focus from, for people on creativity. And I think creative fields are going to especially need to understand how to use that. Cause it's gonna be an important tool for figuring out how to create something. That's genuinely novel and, and innovative.
[00:35:53] Jeremy Tiers: Yeah. And speed and convenience. I feel like, Andrew, I've never been more in demand. Ak we all want more [00:36:00] speed happen faster, and we want it to be, and I I'm with you. I hope what people are going to use is how, how do I harness chat g p t to allow me to be more efficient, for example, with my. , Andrew, we end every episode with two things.
[00:36:15] The first one is a signature question. What's been the most influential resource for you in your young career so far? TikTok.
[00:36:24] Andrew Roth: Is that a fair answer, ? Sure. Yeah. No. Why though? I just, I think, I mean, as a Gen Z research company, I, the amount of time I spend just on, on the platform to understand, excuse me, how, how the language people are using the, the, the things that they're feeling like.
[00:36:41] It is a tool into culture that I think. so fascinating. Um, and I don't know, I mean, there, there was a big article the other day on, I mean, a couple months back on TikTok as the new Google. And I don't think that's necessarily totally true, but there's certainly some valid points into it. And it's just like, it's a, it's a resource, it's an education resource, it's [00:37:00] a, you know, it's a artist discovery research, finding new music there.
[00:37:03] I mean, it's, it's, I found a cooking video last night I was making to pasta, and I was like, all right, let me search how to make this and. Two minutes later, I made a pasta based on TikTok video. And so, no, I don't know. I just think both personal and professionally, it's been like a, uh, I mean there's, there's positives and negative, but it's been a, it's been a, a very resourceful place.
[00:37:21] Jeremy Tiers: It's Gen Z's equivalent of how to, right? Yeah, exactly. Fun. Rapid fire is the last thing we do. I'm just gonna give you four or five things, and I just want quick answers that pop into your head. Okay. Beautiful. Your favorite restaurant is .
[00:37:35] Andrew Roth: Uh, we said it too much today, so I guess I have to say Chipo.
[00:37:39] Jeremy Tiers: I hope that's truthful,
[00:37:41] I did. What's what's your go-to order at Starbucks?
[00:37:45] Andrew Roth: I'm a, I'm just a black coffee drinker. Just
[00:37:48] Jeremy Tiers: a black You and you and me both. I'm an Americano with a blonde espresso all the way. Spotify or Apple? Spotify. You have to pick one. I think I already know the answer, but [00:38:00] Instagram, YouTube, or TikTok. If I have to pick one.
[00:38:03] Yep. You only get one YouTube?
[00:38:05] Andrew Roth: Actually, yeah. To detoxify my life a little bit. Okay. .
[00:38:09] Jeremy Tiers: And Will Vanderbilt your alma mater make the NCAA men's basketball tournament this year? Yes or no? I'm
[00:38:15] Andrew Roth: praying every single morning and afternoon that they do. So I, I got all my bets on. Yes.
[00:38:21] Jeremy Tiers: Well, I think they will probably have to do a couple things in the s e C tournament, but Coach Stackhouse, I think has them headed in the right direction, so I hope.
[00:38:29] Andrew, I appreciate you being on and sharing your knowledge with us. Um, for people who want to connect with you, what are you comfortable with that you're willing to share in terms of the best way to do that? Yeah,
[00:38:40] Andrew Roth: I mean, I honestly, you're anyone, whether you're a student or a professor or anything, you're welcome to get in touch.
[00:38:46] I always love a conversation, you know, a phone call and stuff like that. So, uh, no, show me a, an email andrew cdx.co and I'm always happy to, to chat. Yeah.
[00:38:56] Jeremy Tiers: And Andrew's LinkedIn. If, you know you want to [00:39:00] hit him up there, um, we'll be as well in the show notes. So, Andrew, I appreciate you joining
[00:39:05] Andrew Roth: us. Yeah, no, Jeremy, thank you so much.
[00:39:06] I really appreciate the conversation.
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About the Episode
The what's what...
In this episode, Jeremy sits down with Andrew Roth, Founder and CEO at dcdx, a Gen Z consulting firm.
Key takeaways from this episode include:
7:10 - Advice if you want to get and keep Gen Z’s attention
16:05 - Video, the role of feelings and emotions in decision making, and the concept of experiences
22:43 - What authenticity really means
28:39 - The idea of ‘brand magnetism’
32:00 - Making the mental health conversation more of a priority
This episode is brought to you by our friends at DD Agency:
DD Agency is a higher ed-specific marketing technology agency that has conducted countless SEO Audits for colleges and universities across the country.
In these audits, they detail where you currently rank, what you could be ranking for, exactly how copy should be tweaked on website pages, and much more.
If this sounds like something you could benefit from, give those folks a ping and be sure to mention that Enrollify sent you to claim a 10% discount on any of their SEO offerings.
Head on over to enrollify.org/ddaseo, or simply follow the link in the show notes below…that will guarantee you get a 10% discount off of your audit.
About the Enrollify Podcast Network
Mission Admission is a part of the Enrollify Podcast Network. If you like this podcast, chances are you’ll like other Enrollify shows too!
Our podcast network is growing by the month and we’ve got a plethora of marketing, admissions, and higher ed technology shows that are jam packed with stories, ideas, and frameworks all designed to empower you to be a better higher ed professional. Our shows feature a selection of the industry’s best as your hosts. Learn from Mickey Baines, Zach Busekrus, Jaime Hunt, Corynn Myers, Jaime Gleason and many more.
Learn more about The Enrollify Podcast Network at podcasts.enrollify.org. Our shows help higher ed marketers and admissions professionals find their next big idea — come and find yours!
About the Podcast
An expert in communication, relationship development, and leadership, Jeremy Tiers has quickly become a recognizable name and speaker in college admission and enrollment management circles. He is the Senior Director of Admissions Services for Tudor Collegiate Strategies and leads their efforts in partnering with colleges and universities across the country. Colleges and Universities rely on Tudor Collegiate Strategies (TCS) to train their admissions staff, help them personalize enrollment communications, and to increase engagement from prospective students and their parents during all stages of the college search process.
Andrew Roth is the Founder and CEO at dcdx, a Gen Z consulting firm. As a Gen Z'er himself, Andrew's purpose in starting the company was to bring Gen Z voices to the table. This has led Andrew and the dcdx team to build a network of over 100,000 Gen Z'ers, fueling their work with some of the world's top brands like Google, Chipotle, Denny's, Hinge and more. On top of all this, Andrew is just the average Gen Z'er. He mindlessly scrolls TikTok, questions his eternal anxiety, and orders Chipotle online to avoid talking to people behind the counter.
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Jeremy Tiers, a well-known speaker in college admission, enrollment marketing, and leadership circles is your host for Mission Admissions. Join him every other week as he sits down with industry leaders and difference makers from both inside and outside of Higher Ed. You'll walk away with advice, tips and strategies you can apply in your day-to-day life.
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