Category Archives: Authenticity
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.
Many companies face college marketing challenges. Brands can surmount these obstacles by delivering authentic ads to students using the resources and expertise of a reputable college marketing agency.
At a glance, college marketing is a relatively straightforward concept: brands promoting their products or services to college students. In practice, however, college marketing is a difficult endeavor.
The college demographic is increasingly distrustful of corporations and institutions. This is not surprising, given the fact they’re living in uncertain times and face economic challenges ahead; they can’t even be certain that the degrees they’re pursuing will help them gain careers in their field of study and the recent government shutdown only heightened their insecurities about the future.
This blog post discusses a few things to avoid when advertising on college campuses. A pitch made too strong can have the opposite of the desired effect.
It is important when advertising on college campuses to avoid divisiveness and polarizing topics (i.e. religion and politics for starters) and terminology in your ad, unless your organization is specifically oriented in that way (specifically a religious or political group). The reason for this is that you don’t want to alienate a good portion of your potential customers. College students are more open to other ideas, religions, and cultures—so you don’t want to present your company or product is a way that may alienate a large portion of your potential customer base.
Reaching college students on campus is all about being creative and true to your brand and not presenting yourself as something you are not. Authenticity is key in college marketing.
College students are a savvy group attuned to trends ranging from technology and social media to the clothing and entertainment; they are no different when it comes to marketing messages and brand distinction. College students, generally speaking, are cynical toward ‘Corporate America’ and often times are quick to critique as brands try to court them as consumers.
In Sharalyn Hartwell’s recent article, Above All Else, Be Authentic, published by MediaPost, she makes some good points to brands planning a college marketing strategy from a branding and messaging standpoint. She says: