Trust me, don’t try so hard… 

With all the noise out there today, marketers (and college recruitment professionals) often try to yell as loud as possible in order to be heard.  But are all those yelps falling on deaf ears?  That may be the case if you’re trying to reach Gen Y women.

A new report Radar Research and Pop Sugar Media finds that this audience segment prefers subtle marketing messages and expert advice over overt advertising.  

According to Marketing Charts, “While Gen Y women tend to be skeptical of obvious marketing messages, they do respond to brands and messages they perceive to be “authentic,” a concept which they continue to redefine, PopSugar said. While Gen X women tend to seek insight and brand approval from “experts,” Gen Y women rely more heavily on their peers because they believe their advice about brands to be more unbiased and honest. Gen Y women are more likely to turn to online user reviews, with almost two in five women (38%) trusting the postings of online users to learn more about a product or brand. Gen Y women tend to be slightly more skeptical of professional reviewers and need to be reassured the reviewer doesn’t have a stake in the results of the review.”

For institutions, there are two things you can do to make this possible.  Make it easy for your RAVING FANS (those that are already part of your community) to share their stories with prospects, and focus your efforts on building a strong online presence so that prospects can find you where they’re most likely to begin their search…from a computer or other internet-enabled device.

This probably holds true regardless of gender.  Whether you’re trying to recruit Gen Y women or Gen Y men…it boils back down to the basics.  Provide relevant content that serves as a valuable resource for your customers (i.e. students) and make it easy for them to get more information through easy access to peers and other experts at your institution.  Focus on facilitating these connections so that individual prospects can learn more about what they want to learn about…not just what you want to tell them.

Communication is a two-way street.  Rather than putting all your effort into bringing your message to your audience, make it easier for your audience to find you.