College students make up the most promising target market for different businesses across the globe. In most cases, college students do not make a lot of money. The irony though, is that they spend a lot of it. Today’s college student will be spending their money on Ramen noodles to apparel, entertainment, electronics, and even spring break vacations. Their spending power was estimated to be over $376 billion in 2019. These simple factors alone make college students a valuable pool for focusing one’s marketing efforts. There are a wide variety of different marketing strategies to reach college students.
Why you should Market To College Students
The idea is that college students live with their families while attending college. However, the reality is that majority of them live on their own. It is at this point that they start exploring different products as they make their own purchases. They are the most excited lot as they are in a position to make independent choices for the first time. As a result, it is most likely that they are going for their favorite brands.
College students make up the most attractive consumer base. They may not make a lot of money but they have a thriving spending power. They are not children anymore and neither are they adults yet. Within this gap, they will have adult desires which they are eager to fulfill. The goal is capturing these desires today and building a great impression of your brand. The end result would be the transformation of a new customer base into regular and future consumers of your brand.
Targeting college students enables the creation of a loyal customer base. Marketing early to students gives you a competitive advantage in establishing brand loyalty and trust. These are a group of people that will form the most affluent, enthusiastic, and loyal group once they graduate and start professional employment.
The idea is that college students make up the most devoted consumer group with over 376 billion in spending power. Their eagerness to devote to specific brands is key for winning loyalty to your business. They are also a potential consumer base that are age-stable and geographically stable for between four to six years. It is ample time to develop effective marketing strategies that target their expectations and meet their needs.
What Factors to consider when Targeting College Students?
Their scope of internet and social media use
Today’s college students are very big on the use of different internet platforms including social media and messaging applications. Digital marketing for instance makes a great approach to reaching college students. However, it is important to exercise caution as college students come across a wide variety of adverts. They can discern between what is genuine and what is not.
College students are within an age bracket where authenticity is very crucial. The key is in identifying how best to delivering value to their life. Also make sure the promotion is done genuinely with meaningful material.
What is early adulthood like?
For college students, this is the onset of their journey to adulthood. It means enjoying independent living with the responsibility of making their own purchase choices. They can thus choose brands they actually prefer. The work of any business is to identify how their goods could meet these preferences and tailor marketing efforts accordingly.
How to Market to College Students the Right Way.
College students are one demographic sensitive to how they are perceived and addressed. How a brand will handle them is key to creating lasting experiences with them. College students are likely not to buy from a brand if they deem it as inconsiderate of them today. Therefore, coin your message that addresses them as they are and not as you think they should be.
College or university students are not a uniform demographic. Depending on various facts such as their majors, they are bound to have radically different perceptions. A communications major will interpret a specific advert differently from a chemistry major. Therefore, marketing to a feasible market may not be an effective strategy. Personalizing marketing strategies to a specific field can be an effective method.
It is critical to understand how a college student spends their money to understand the best form of brand promotion. The popular belief is that a college student has little to no money. In many cases they spend their money on tuition fees and housing though the course of the month. However, one thing students will not have a problem with, is spending on recreational activities.
As a business therefore, your marketing strategies should be centered on identifying factors that could push a student to spend their hard earned money. Factors such a slow prices play a key aspect to influencing purchasing decisions. Strategies developed should also be long-term based. The aim is establishing meaningful relationships with them as a consumer group. College students form a demographic with better purchasing power compared to those who did not attend college.
The form in which a brand coins its message is crucial. Words should be given in the right order. The message needs to be brief. Brands have been known to create few effective words that have gone on to strike positive feedback. Take for example, Nike’s slogan, “Just Do It”. The key factor is to come up with words that create a holistic and positive touch to your brand. One way of ensuring words used in a marketing campaign resonate with college students is seeking feedback from them. A marketing campaign is likely to succeed if the message strikes a chord.
Gen Z and Millennials make the majority of college students today. They make up avid social media users with the ability to go through multiple posts on a regular basis. It is therefore, important that one of these posts they scroll through has your advert. On these platforms, the goal is to gain brand recognition and not necessarily an internet purchase. In many cases as they scroll though social media, the aim is not to buy a product. Where a brand consistently appears on their pages, they are bound to be noticed.
There is also a set of students that typically spend their entire time inside their campuses. They work, eat, and sleep inside their campuses. A business that markets only outside this vicinity is likely to miss out on reaching this demographic. It is important to also reach these students from where they are. A business could locate stations with the most traffic on or around the campus to concentrate its marketing efforts.
The Best Marketing Strategies to Reach College Students
Peer-to-peer (P2P) marketing refers to customer interaction with other customers through referrals. P2P has long been employed on colleges and universities as a critical part of word-of-mouth marketing. Peer-to-peer communication has become a competitive sport thanks to social media.
The college crowd highly depends on brand influence. It is majorly based on the concept of honesty and trust. It is for this reason that they will easily frown upon marketing and brand messages. As such, referrals ted to hold more sway compared to traditional advertising. The idea is that a friend is more reliable and personal. A person is more likely to respond to a product recommended by a person they know. Peer-to-peer marketing thus works for both on-campus events and social media sites.
Gen Z and millennials like being on the first to know and set trends. Peer-to-peer influence is a great tool to use on social media. Here they could keep up with what their peers are doing and purchasing to ensure they up-to-date on upcoming trends. As opposed to banner ads, P2P marketing on social media platforms garners great traction for a brand.
Engage College Students through Event Marketing
College students have been known to prefer the purchase of an experience to buying a tangible product. The idea is ti create ad save memories. They want to have something they ca share with their friends on meet up or on social media. Brand memories can be created through concerts, musicals, touring, and other exhibitions. These activities are some of the items that students are willing to spend their money on as well as promote.
Consumers can engage with products or services through experiential and event marketing, forming relationships, creating memories, and eventually developing a favorable relationship. It’s critical to make sure that your events leave a great impression on both potential and existing clients. The interaction—the opportunity to start a dialogue about your brand—is the whole idea of event marketing. It’s a technique to get a better understanding of how your customers feel about your product by allowing them to express themselves.
Experiential and event marketing enable consumers to engage with a product or service. From this they can develop meaningful relationships and create lasting relationships. The business has the role of creating lasting impressions to a potential consumer group. The whole concept of event marketing is to give people an opportunity to begin dialogue with your brand. Through these events bands can get feedback from their customers.
Utilizing Cross-Platform College Marketing
One of the most appreciated marketing strategy to college students is the development of an appropriate marketing mix. An effective marketing mix captures their attention both online and offline with the aim of enhancing the students’ college experience. A business can promote brand interaction by connecting to the target audience through different parts of their lives. It ca be achieved through the synchronization of different marketing channels. College students make a good fit as they source information from a wide range of sources.
Mobile marketing makes up a critical part of this strategy. 2017 statistics indicated that over 96% of 16-24-year-olds had a smartphone. About 80 percent of them checked on their phone within the hour. Mobile marketing enables marketing on a variety of forms including videos, photos, banners, and interstitial. It enables businesses to customize their messages to meet different brand or advertising goals.
Display advertising is another form of marketing mix frequently used in traditional web advertising. It should not be limited to the older demographic. With display advertising, businesses have the advantage of promoting brand knowledge. A component that works for youthful population as college students brand loyalty is still up for grabs. Display adverts could best be used in journalistic and entertainment websites. The most available formats being banners, pop-ups, and rich media ads.
It is also important to consider the platform used to disseminate your brands message. It means identifying the current channels used for communication between college students. Social media today is supplanting phone calls, text messages, and e-mails. You are most likely to find them on platforms such as Snapchat, Facebook, and Instagram. As such, these platforms have become known as the most effective channels for reaching college students.
The integration of mobile, social, and on-campus marketing is best used by brands to imitate students’ behavior. The aim is to raise brand awareness and recognition while reinforcing the targeted message. With many commercials fighting for their attention, cross-platform marketing is an effective approach for standing out.
Get the Message to the Dorms and Classes
Dorm room advertising is an excellent way of reaching college students where they stay. One form of dorm advertising is the use door hangers. They are similar to the hotel rooms “do not disturb” hangers only that these feature a brand’s slogan. When the student is not at home, it can be posted on their dorm room door. Door hangers have been known be quite effective especially when combined with a student discount or a call-to action message such as a limited coupon.
College students spend a lot of their time as well in dining halls. Meal plans are many times part of the housing package for students living on campus. Also students who do not reside in campus do get access to dining hall services with arranged meal plan packages. In such a scenario, table tents make an excellent form of advertising as they are recurring exposure of a brand. The students frequenting the dining halls will see these advertisements each time they are there. The table tents are usually situated in the middle of every table and thus very difficult to overlook.
When they’re not in their dorms or eating in the dining halls, college students are frequently wandering around campus. This is an excellent opportunity to use peer-to-peer marketing to connect college students. Promotions on campus that are successful must be enjoyable, interesting, and immediately relatable. It pays to use student brand ambassadors in this situation!
Another place to promote to college students is through on-campus promotions. It is common to find students wandering around campus. It could be performed through brand ambassadors who have access to all areas of the campus that also students do. These are brad ambassadors who live the college experience of the same university. College students can develop great connections with these students who may in turn introduce the brand or product to other friends.
Another form of reaching students on campus is though in-class endorsements. It can be achieved through presentations that align with students’ academic journeys. One can choose from a diverse range of topics covered in the colleges and universities. The goals is come up with presentations that are useful to the students while promoting your brand. Bringing your marketing strategy to the classroom is only achievable if your company can provide a presentation that students will find useful.
Some good examples of Companies targeting College Students
Different brands have been tapping into college students in their marketing efforts. Each have used different approaches including;
Amazon has Lockers and dedicated pick up sites in different campuses. These are essentially designed for students. The company also has a wide variety of items from textbooks to gaming consoles which are delivered to their convenience. These two factors are reason why college students are addicted to the brand.
Red Bull uses the brand ambassadors approach. The brand ambassadors are deployed across campuses distributing T-Shirts and hats. The high energy advertising campaign ensures the representation of the Red Bull brand wherever students go.
Nike generally uses athlete endorsements to keep its target consumers talking about it. It also leverages its position as a worldwide conglomerate. However, what Nike does similar to Red Bull is use brand ambassador programs that target college students, its brand ambassadors are students who depict its values of teamwork, passion, and fitness.