One of the biggest college marketing mistakes professionals and agencies make is believing that they understand the college market. Don’t make this college marketing mistake when advertising to students!
Why Marketing Professionals Believe They Understand the College Demographic
Oftentimes, marketers mistakenly believe they understand the college market. This can happen for a couple of reasons, the first being that they specialize in marketing to millennials. Millennials are a hot topic in marketing today and tons of research have been conducted on this niche market. However, the college demographic (18-24 year olds) is a specialized segment within this niche group and needs to be treated as such, as their desires, motivations, consumer behavior, and lifestyle habits vary greatly from other millennial groups.
The second reason marketers believe they understand the college demographic is because they’ve lived the college experience and it feels good to think they understand this hip, young audience. A common college stereotype is that college students are all: sleep deprived, partying, procrastinators who are experiencing their independence for the first time and obsessed with technology and social media. While stereotypes are rooted in reality, it would be a big mistake to view college students as a homogeneous group based on stereotypes. In depth understanding of the college demographic and the specific colleges your looking to target is a must for successful college marketing!
Falsely Believing You Understand the College Market Can Backfire
It Can Lead to Ineffective College Marketing
Don’t base your college advertising campaign on false assumptions! This can be disastrous for your campaign and a huge waste of advertising dollars. Make sure your campaign design, model, and creative is based on research, experience, and knowledge. This is the only way to ensure success.
It Can Fall Flat
Basing your advertising campaign on false beliefs can make your ads fall flat. Trying to promote your brand as cool or hip is a risky business. Unless you know your message will resonate with students and have conducted targeted runs, don’t market your brand as cool, as this can appear disingenuous and authenticity matters to college students.
It Can Hurt Your Brand Image
You know what’s worse than having an ineffective college marketing campaign? Having a campaign that results in negativity and consumer backlash. College students are a vocal group and if they feel like a company or ad is irresponsible or irrelevant, they will voice their concerns. For example, 3 UK students started a petition against Victoria’s Secret’s “Perfect Body” campaign because they found the messaging to be damaging.
If you’re interested in learning about other college marketing mistakes to avoid, check out this blog series. If you’re planning to launch a college marketing campaign, we highly recommend speaking with an agency that specializes in college marketing!