Face-to-face contact with a new generation

Posted: 12 Oct 2018 - 15:21
Face to face contact with the next generation
There’s no denying, the digital age has made the world a more connected place. From the instant communication of WhatsApp and Messenger, to the targeted marketing opportunities of email and SMS, to a good new-fashioned catch-up via FaceTime – it’s never been easier to reach a new audience.

But has anything been lost in the process? Online recruitment fairs and virtual campus tours are nothing if not accessible, particularly for international students, but is there any substitute for walking through your new halls, or sharing a coffee with your future lecturer? You need only attend an open day to see the wide-eyed, excited apprehension for yourself. 

Digital and physical need to be used in tandem. Each has its own place in the marketing mix, but we’re championing the power of face-to-face contact with a new generation, one who have become so digitally immune that the in-person becomes profound. 

We see it hundreds of times at UCAS exhibitions, whether between students and universities, brands, or employers. There’s no substitute for a conversation.


The research

Most people have heard the adage that communication is 93% non-verbal, the majority of it being the impact of body language. Whilst the verbal analogue for digital communications is great copywriting and personality, it’s nigh-impossible to replicate the power of an interested expression, or a bright, open posture. 

Research from Beijing University found that the facilitation of ‘continuous turn-taking behaviours’ is an integral part of social interaction and the involvement of all parties – something we see at all our exhibitions. Students are headstrong, intelligent and informed, they want to challenge what you’re telling them. If you’re present, you’re part of the conversation, and have the opportunity to engage in this important back-and-forth to win new customers.

The same applies to trust and credibility, where Forbes found that 85% of people believe face-to-face conversations are the most effective way to build meaningful relationships. The same respondents said that being able to meet potential customers in person was best for persuasion and engagement, leading to decision-making that wasn’t viable in more passive digital alternatives.  


The opportunity

We run exhibitions from March to October, over one or two days, in major towns and cities around the UK. They’re designed to help young people chart their course beyond 18, whether that be into universities, apprenticeships, volunteering, gap years, or careers. 

These bustling events are home to all the advice and support millennials need to make an informed choice on how to move forward. Indeed, 74% of students told us they were going to apply to a university they’d learnt about at one of our exhibitions, and 98% of advisers said they help their students feel better informed. 

But it’s not just universities and the education sector that benefit from our exhibitions. We also host commercial brands and employers, who want to engage with a new generation. The open forum of our exhibitions always gives rise to a forward-thinking and vibrant atmosphere, the perfect marketplace for finding new candidates and customers.  

More than a quarter of a million people pass through the doors of these exhibitions each year, with our attendees finding the experience truly valuable in helping them make their decisions: 

‘I loved how there was such a huge variety of university options, and it has really helped me refine and choose a university.’     

‘Getting to ask specific questions and get specific answers which are difficult to get over the internet.’      

‘Having a visual of all the different universities, as they all look similar on paper, but they have such different vibes when you see their stands and how they present themselves.’      

‘Getting to speak to a variety of universities in one place was a very valuable experience.’      


We’re in the perfect position to support brands that want to speak to, and support the verified student audience, with products and services that will make their next step a confident one.

To find out how we can connect your brand to this important audience, please call 01242 544 881, or email ucasmedia@ucas.ac.uk.
 

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