Most colleges conduct mandatory orientation sessions involving their entire entering classes—hundreds to thousands of new students—and this presents an excellent opportunity for college marketing.
Thinking back on my own freshman orientation, I realized that such events offer some ideal opportunities for youth marketing. Part of this is due to the nature of the affair, and part relates to the students themselves.
Let’s look at the students in this installment. For various reasons, the new students make great college marketing targets:
- The college experience is new and exciting. Many of them are fresh out of high school, and college represents the culmination of all sorts of youthful dreams and hopes. This desire for fulfillment of their expectations coupled with naïveté makes them ideal consumers.
- Their parents are prepared to spend. Aware that this transition period involves numerous expenses (and possibly eager to send their kids off as well), parents are more willing than ever to assist their children monetarily.
- They look up to the older college students. This characteristic, in particular, would increase the effectiveness of college street teams. Peer endorsement, already an effective college marketing strategy, would have great impact.
- They aren’t yet familiar with the system. Unversed in the multitudinous aspects of college life, they haven’t determined precisely what they do or don’t need yet. As such, a college marketing strategy geared toward exploiting this uncertainty could achieve great success.
An added benefit of focusing on students at orientation is the long-term nature of the college marketing plan—it maximizes the exposure to the demographic, because these students still have their entire college career ahead of them. If they get hooked as consumers now, they may remain loyal to the product or service for years to come. And if that product or service is only relevant to college students (such as test prep, dining programs, etc.), such early exposure could mean the difference between having a loyal customer for four years versus a few months.