Marketing to College Students: What Really Works

Email blasts, pop-up ads, video ads, direct mailers, flyers, radio spots… The list of advertising possibilities is endless! But is it really working? We live in an age where information is at our fingertips and we can search for practically anything. However, with all of this stimulus, we can tend to ‘zone out’ or ‘become numb’ to the brands and messaging in those ads, leaving us only focused on skipping over them.

When it comes to marketing to college students, this is no exception. We surveyed some of our current student brand ambassadors to learn more about what types of marketing work for them. Here’s what we learned:

It’s All in the Messaging.

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52 percent of students surveyed shared that a brand’s messaging is most important to them. Three things to keep in mind when tailoring your messaging: the student perspective, the internal perspective, and the university perspective. Once you have these three insights written down, divide them on a Venn diagram, using three overlapping circles to determine where these perspectives intersect and how. Applying the commonalities into your marketing efforts can help strengthen your messaging.

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Rethinking Social Media.

Some love it, some hate it- but the fact of the matter is, we have to use. An overwhelming 85% of our surveyed students spoke to being on at least three (3) social media platforms on a regular basis (platforms include: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat). Making sure your social presence is strong by posting regularly, developing branded content, and encouraging follower participation is a great way to get the marketing plan moving!

Make it Count.

You’ve got your social media plan and you’ve got your messaging. But before you distribute, ask yourself—is this meaningful? Of the students we surveyed, 70% stated that the content they share on social media is content they find interesting and meaningful. Four things you’ll want to keep in mind: 1) make a connection, 2) be original, 3) provide advancement, and 4) ensure there’s depth to the engagement.

We know reaching college students is extremely important to you and your brand, so let us help!  We can get you started on developing something more meaningful through one of our complimentary 30-minute strategy sessions. Reach out to us today and we’ll walk you through how to better improve your student rep marketing campaign. To learn more, check our Case Studies, or connect with us directly!



Traditional advertising and messaging tactics are quickly fading into the background as new methods of marketing come in. So how can you craft the right messaging for your demographic?

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