5 Tips for Effective On Campus College Marketing to Students

Effective On Campus College Marketing to Students

Reach the elusive, active, niche college student marketplace where students live, study and play using these 5 tips on effective on campus college marketing to students.

Back to school college marketing and  spring break college marketing are excellent times for brands to connect with college students. Food and beverage, entertainment, and automotive industries often all vie for reaching students and leaving impressions on the 18-24 year old COLLEGE demographic. Given that students are making brand decisions, many for the first time, creates an opportunity for brands to connect with students and create lifetime customers. However, using an inappropriate marketing strategy will leave you with little results.

Given the elusive market is often transient, weary, skeptical, and in some cases on fixed incomes makes finding the right college ad agency crucial for success and zero wasted ad dollar spending. Do your DUE DILIGENCE in conducting a qualified search based on experience and proven success.

5 Tips on Effective On Campus College Marketing to Students that drive ROI when targeting the 18-24 year old college crowd:

1. Mobile – SMS – Email

Since most students live a rather active lifestyle and by nature are transient until they graduate, keeping pace with their hectic schedules at times revolves around connecting to their mobile smartphones. It is also important to note that many students today live off campus nearly 58%, so target specific on campus advertising MUST have the off campus supplement.

 2. Nail the Product or Service before launch

College students are by nature BRUTALLY HONEST. They often act as your best ally with word of mouth or peer to peer viral marketing. BUT they can also be a voice of concern if they disapprove of your product or service because it is not FULLY DEVELOPED. For example, promising offers with daily deals that do not exist, coupons that are expired or no longer valid, etc. These can quickly become topics of conversation on Facebook – Twitter – school blogs and other easily researched online and social media platforms. Remember, any press is NOT always good press, especially if spoken in a negative nature.

3. Do NOT TRY and be Cool

Be relevant and hip in your own way. College students are critical thinkers and weary in most cases of more advertising and more exposure than they already receive on a daily basis. You have to RISE ABOVE THE NOISE when reaching out to a college student. The coolness or “Fonzy Factor” comes from students telling you that you are cool and not the other way around. Companies can very easily lose credibility if they push the issue, so DO NOT push the issue.

 4. Advertise in SIMPLE Terms

I have seen clients and agencies spend more  time on development of the creative and production, than actual time spent on message deployment. The end result is usually failure, except for the design agency and printers who make out well. Some of the BEST creative I have ever seen has literally been done in what looked to be a baby handwriting and printed at a local Minuteman Press on black and white paper.

Getting to the point VERY QUICKLY is CRITICAL when trying to capture the attention of a student. Brevity always wins.

It also lends to the pass-along rate via Facebook, Twitter, email,  word of mouth or students actually taking about the ad. Funny, sarcastic, witty, graphic images can create a winning college ad campaign.

5. Reaching & WINNING OVER Mom & Dad Effectively

Understanding that the average disposable income of a college student averages around $315 per month (or $3780 per year) does not seem like much, but when you combine 18 million students’ income the figures are impressive–representing well over $300 Billion. Remember, however, that students often seek out MOM & DAD for larger scale purchases like College SKI Passes, which are typically sold after Thanksgiving Break, spring break vacations, study abroad trips, off-campus housing or apartment rentals, student loans, etc., just to name a few.

Being able to reach parents with email and direct mail during homecoming weekends, alumni weekends, parent weekends, orientation and graduation ceremonies is a major opportunity for clients and should be factor into the timing and launch of your college marketing efforts on campus.

Want more college marketing tips, download our College Marketing 101 whitepaper.

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