Increase enrollment by highschool grads

The most recent generation of high school graduates is facing a changed educational landscape. How can community colleges help them make the smart choice?  Community colleges need to take action now to reach this demographic and offer pathways to reach their goals, whatever they may be.

SmartStart is a content marketing strategy aimed at answering the questions your students are asking.


Gen Z has a diverse range of interests and is the most connected generation in history. They want solid, accurate information in order make their own decisions. Our content engages this audience with the stories that matter to them.

Contact us. What are you doing to reach Gen Z? We are here to help.

What is SmartStart?

With our online content library of exclusive articles and proprietary CampaignBuilder software, managing the content of your campaign is convenient and intuitive. As a multi-platform marketing initiative, SmartStart is comprised of three primary content channels:

Direct-mail print

Mobile-friendly microsite

Social media


Check out the latest Aperture blog posts on how the changes of the last year affected the youngest generation, and what it means for community college marketing.


community colleges


quality reviewed


+content marketing campaigns

SmartStart is just one our multi-channel content marketing initiatives. Over the past two decades, Aperture Content Marketing (formerly Academic Marketing Services) has worked with community colleges across the country to spread their message, grow their enrollment, and prepare students for the workforce. Our results speak for themselves.

SmartStart uses extensive research into the interests and reading behaviors of Gen Z to reach them where they are.

Connecting to any demographic involves extensive research into their norms, cultural touch points, and motivations. Generation Z may be the largest generation to enter college, but they’re also keenly aware of the burden of college debt, and taking proactive measures to improve their work opportunities after graduation. This makes community college doubly attractive, as both a cost-effective supplement to their college education, and as providing practical experience that they will be able to use for their careers.

Generation Z are creative problem solvers with a passion for social issues.

Gen Z are doers and makers who care deeply about a diverse range of issues. In particular, they are very eco-conscious, and respond to environmentally-friendly marketing methods. This makes print an especially effective means of engagement: Gen Z knows that paper can be recycled, and leaves a lower carbon footprint than digital. But that’s not all they care about:

  • 88% of Gen Z choose to align with businesses following “responsible practices.”
  • 75% of Gen Z has made a purchase as the result of direct mailing.
  • In marketing, they value genuine consumer reviews over celebrity endorsement.
  • 77% are interested in volunteering to gain work experience.

Content marketing helps community colleges reach students and grow enrollment.

Generation Z have grown up, not just with the Internet, but with smart phones and social media as well. Content marketing isn’t a buzz word for them—it’s the main form of marketing they know.

Moreover, this generation expects many layers of access. Those who receive a publication in print will be quick to take further research online, where they will browse a website from both desktop and mobile devices before following their social media access.

In other words, Gen Z doesn’t think about “multi-channel marketing” so much as just marketing. Their expectations are high, but so is their willingness to engage.

By making your marketing available across multiple platforms, you ensure your audience can find you, no matter where they look.


engagement tools


Assemble content and images, then lay them out using CampaignBuilder to create multiple pieces of marketing material, including web, social, and print content.

engagement tools

Online Content Library

Select from hundreds of articles covering a range of subjects. All articles are researched, proofed, and updated with recent data. Use as-is, or edit to suit your needs.

Demographic Research

Customizable Website

Print Direct-Mail

Social Media

Website Analytics

Email Campaign