Ahead of her presentation at the Digital Marketing Innovation Summit in New York, we spoke to Patti Girardi, Vice President, Marketing for Chartwells Higher Education Dining Services about how the digital marketing landscape has changed, and how she utilizes it.
Patti serves as Vice President, Marketing for Chartwells Higher Education Dining Services, a division of Compass Group North America. In this role, Patti leads the development and implementation of all marketing strategies, initiatives and campaigns. Patti previously served as Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Fox Cable Networks, overseeing all affiliate activities for cable networks across the Western U.S. Patti began her marketing career with Cox Communications and advanced within field and corporate positions including acting Vice President of Marketing for Cox New Orleans; Director of Web Marketing & E-Commerce; and Brand Manager for multiple Cox product lines.
IE - How do you think digital marketing is going to change in 2016?
Patti - The shift from Millennials to Generation Z as the new “it” consumer group will be the biggest disruption for digital marketers in 2016. Marketers who continue to incorporate Generation Z into the same category as Millennials when referring to the highly-coveted youth demographic will miss an opportunity to most effectively engage Gen Z. Now age 6-21, members of Generation Z command $44 billion in purchasing power and are, in some cases, extreme versions of Millennials. But in many ways, they are polar opposites.
Do you think personalized campaigns will become even more important this year?
Yes! Gen Z expects brands to communicate to them “in their language.” This group wants a story, not a sell. Members of Gen Z are drawn to authenticity, versus a more traditional sales-oriented communication approach. Personalization is an important part of that.
In order to get a comprehensive view of the customer, do you need to market across all platforms?
Gen Z multi-tasks across five digital screens (versus two for Millennials). So we definitely need to market across all digital platforms, effectively leveraging the unique strengths that each one offers, while still telling our story consistently.
How has the way you use data to develop your digital marketing campaigns developed over the last couple of years?
We gather as much data as our budget will allow and use it to drive our digital marketing campaigns. Even just paying attention to the social content garnering the greatest levels of engagement as measured by likes, shares and retweets gives us valuable insight. We also stay on top of the latest secondary research about our target audience. With regard to Generation Z, for example, we know from Sparks & Honey that Gen Zers rally around social causes: 60% are determined to make an impact on the world through their jobs versus 39% of Millennials, and 76% report that they are actively concerned about man’s impact on the planet. For maximum appeal to this group, we attach a social cause to our content.
Is there a particular medium that you’ve found most useful?
This group is all about social. As the first generation that has always had social media and the Internet, this demographic does not differentiate between the two. User generated content programs are highly popular with this generation – this is the age of the selfie!