Marketing to college students using cause marketing techniques requires transparency and authenticity.
College students learn about societal problems daily in class. They learn about the challenges facing the public education system, the increase of childhood obesity, the threat of global warming, the effects of the economic recession, and many other social issues, from education to discrimination, gender issues to environmental issues.
When I was in college, I took an honors science seminar class in which we read The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollen. I learned about various farming practices and the effects monoculture has on crop biodiversity. Reading this book made me more aware of what I was eating and how my choices impacted the environment, as well as my health. This was just one class, out of many, that made me analyze my actions and influenced my decisions.
People go to college not just to improve their career prospects, but as an opportunity to expand their minds and grow as people. Cause marketing is a great way of reaching college students, as many care about the world and want to help others to the best of their ability. College advertising allows your brand to increase awareness among students, illustrating the cause your company supports. Collegiate marketing ideas include: campus postering, college flyering, campus ads, P2P marketing, and college event marketing.
College advertising—especially when using a cause marketing strategy—requires skill, ingenuity, and authenticity. Media Post published a recent article by Craig Bida, Proving Your Purpose: Doing Good Vs. Just Sounding Good, which demonstrates the importance of transparency and authenticity:
82% of consumers say they are more likely to purchase a product from a company that clearly demonstrates the results of its CSR initiatives versus one that does not. Marketers (and the agencies who support them) who ignore this need for substance are playing with fire: 40% of consumers say they will not purchase a company’s products or services if CSR results are not communicated.
College students are analytical, inquisitive, and wary of advertising. When developing a college advertising plan utilizing cause marketing, make sure to incorporate substance into your campus ads. It is not enough to say your company supports a cause; you need to show it. This is especially true when advertising to students. College advertising can gain your company loyal customers and fans, if your company supports a cause and builds trust with the students. Contact NAM Youth Marketing to find out more about reaching college students through cause marketing.