Rather than outsourcing your college marketing research, have college students provide you with the market research you need by incentivizing them properly.
There is a large business industry in marketing that makes a lot money providing market research to ad agencies and to companies directly. When companies and agencies decide they want to target the college market, the first thing they do is look at the data. Rather than paying a company large sums of money to get this information, companies and agencies should be looking to making the research and data collection process part of the marketing initiative itself. Go right to the source and get inside information from college students directly. Here are a couple ways to go about doing that:
1. Set up Street Teams to Collect Surveys: This can be a very effective way to get the information you need. Comprise a team of college students or college age people to work together and conduct small surveys on various hot spots around campus. Now how do you get busy college students to want to take time out of their day to answer a questionnaire? It’s easy; you provide them with an incentive.
The Princeton Review had a successful campaign a while ago utilizing these techniques. They had college street teams located at various universities around the nation, conducting short surveys over the course of a week. The way they were able to capture undergraduates’ interest was by offering a graduate scholarship to one lucky winner. They were able to get thousands of student surveys with contact information just by providing a small scholarship to one lucky person.
They then had the contact information needed to offer test preparation to undergraduates thinking about graduate schools. This is just one type of incentive. You could also get people to complete surveys by offering them a pen, key chain, lanyard, t-shirt, etc. upon completion of a questionnaire. This gets you the information you need, but also advertises your company logo through the gifts provided. It acts as an incentive to the college students, but also an incentive for the company.
2. Informational Posters with Tear Off Pads: These are also an effective way of obtaining market research for your company. They do two things: provide information about your company and product and allow college students to share their information with you. For example, say a college student is interested in a study abroad experience but is unsure of which program to pursue or how to begin the application process, they see your poster on a bulletin board and their interest is sparked. They fill out the questionnaire on the tear off pad and mail it to you. The college student wants more information about studying abroad and this gives them that opportunity, while enabling you to push your company. This gives you a potential customer and makes your company known, when otherwise they might not have known your company existed.
Successful college marketing is about engaging college students in a way that attracts their attention and then presenting them with a call to action. Begin your college marketing campaign by actively engaging students in the research process.