Editor’s note: Nate Cusick is a business and marketing development representative at market research tech company Discuss.io, Seattle. This is an edited version of a post that appeared here under the title, “What Gen Z can teach your insights team.” 

I have found myself fascinated with Gen Z (born after 1997) consumers. With technology readily available, they are empowered like no generation before to make savvier buying choices. They are more informed, more aware and even more vocal than Millennials (*gasp*). 

You cannot rely on generic ads, celebrity endorsements or legacy brand name loyalty anymore. Born with iPhones in their hands and Instagram accounts boasting millions of followers, these kiddos are your brand's biggest challenge. What is important to them? How can your brand stand out and make the cut? 

To get a better understanding of a specific Gen Z demographic I spoke with Rob Biebly, VP of analytics and insights at Whiteboard Higher Education, about college-aged Gen Zers and his perspective on how to efficiently break through the noise.

Nate Cusick: Could you tell me a little more about your team at Whiteboard Higher Education?

Rob Biebly: Whiteboard is an enrollment services firm, focused on recruitment and aid strategy. We help institutions identify, engage and enroll best-fit students. Everybody at Whiteboard has some sort of higher education background. I came from a higher education PhD program and worked in the world of financial aid leveraging and admissions and financial aid consulting for a couple of years. I work with partners in that component of the business where we build statistical models and advise clients, who are post-secondary education institutions – generally private schools – on how to best structure their financial aid offerings and how to develop their admissions policies and practices to bring in the classes they want.

NC: How powerful ar...