College Advertising: Marketing to Students During the Great Recession

College Advertising: Marketing to Students During the Great Recession

In the aftermath of—or arguably still in—the greatest economic downturn since the Great Depression, college advertising is presented with both challenges and opportunities.

The challenges that our current economic climate presents to youth marketing (marketing in general, for that matter) are fairly obvious: reduced sales result in reduced ad budgets for many companies, while others go out of business entirely, and even those staying afloat look for ways to trim expenses.

But because students expecting to graduate in this environment are fearful (rightfully so) of finding good, career-track jobs (according to a recent survey, only 51 percent of college grads were working full-time),[1] this paradoxically presents some interesting college advertising opportunities.

Graduate/Professional Schools and Affiliated Services

One of the best options available to undergraduate upperclassmen facing poor job prospects is simply to defer getting a job in favor of more education, and this means a bigger student market for graduate and professional schools as well as the testing, preparatory, and credentialing services associated with matriculation at them. As such, now might be the best time for institutions and companies in this sector to initiate college advertising programs, whether through posters and flyers on campus, e-mail marketing, campus job fairs, or even social media. Thanks to the job market difficulties students face today, they should be especially receptive to such alternatives. Likewise, because of the increased competition to get into such schools, prep companies and lower-ranked or overseas institutions should enjoy a substantially larger market.

Temp/Part-time Job Offerings

With so few full-time positions to go around, many of today’s college grads are desperate even to find what would once have been considered underemployment. Companies looking to swell their ranks with overqualified temporary or part-time employees would do well to initiate campus recruiting campaigns now—the labor pool is out there, desperate for anything. By utilizing easily accessible campus advertising space such as bulletin boards, job boards, and magazine racks, clients can get a virtually guaranteed response from qualified students.



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[1] Read More: Cliff Zukin’s, “Chasing the American Dream: Recent College Graduates and the Great Recession.” 2012. <http://news.rutgers.edu/medrel/news-releases/2012/05/chasing-the-american-20120510>

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