The rules for market to today’s college students have changed. Both on the legal front and what resonates with them. According to a survey of Elite Daily readers/subscribers 33% of millennials rely mostly on blogs before they make a purchase, compared to fewer than 3% for TV news, magazines, and books. That number looks a lot different with older generations putting more emphasis on traditional media.
You know you need to grab college students attention during this critical time where they are developing brand preferences and buying habits. If you get the right help, it can lead to great things. Unfortunately for brands wanting to capture this valuable demographic, many student marketing companies still haven’t adjusted.
With over a million google results showing up for Youth Marketing Vendors, how do you know who to choose? Use the below 7 questions in your search to ensure you hire an agency that resonates with college students to deliver a good return on investment for your company’s future or as I like to say – 7 Questions that lead to incredibly effective student marketing campaigns!
1. WHAT ARE A FEW SPECIFIC WAYS YOUR AGENCY HAS EVOLVED OVER THE PAST FEW YEARS?
When they speak about what college students are doing, saying, engaging, how do they incorporates current market research into its own outreach. For example, mobile-only internet usage and early technology adoption are becoming increasingly normal among college students.
“Mobile has quickly moved from being just another way to consume content to a platform that helps us accomplish more all day, every day. While the desktop computer is of course still relevant, digital media consumption on mobile devices has truly skyrocketed in the past several years…. 21 percent of millennials are no longer using desktops to go online,” comScore said.
So is the agency still interacting with students as part of Campus Rep / Brand Ambassador Programs entirely through a website, or have they incorporated more communication through a mobile device?
2. WHAT’S A SPECIFIC CAPABILITY THAT DIFFERENTIATES YOU FROM COMPETITORS?
Ask questions about their business practices. For example, “How do you interview students for brand ambassador positions?” Most will explain how they review a resume, conduct a phone interview, ask questions about their involvement on campus, and then make the hire.
One or two agencies may give you a different answer and reasons to support it.
A more student-specific answer to that same question acknowledges that these are college students, not entry-level team members. As such, they lack relevant experience for a resume or to talk about in interviews. You can’t use the same interview process you use when interviewing full-time team members. If you’re looking for someone to present your product in front of a classroom, you want to identify someone comfortable doing in that situation — likely an extrovert. Tests such as Myers-Briggs and Personality Index can assist you in identifying these types of traits.
3. DO YOU HAVE KNOWLEDGE OF MY INDUSTRY?
When you find someone who has worked with similar companies, you spend less time educating them and more time on execution. Follow up with questions about your industry, to get a good indicator of what they already know. Case studies also help.
4. WHAT DO THEIR PROPOSALS, EMAILS, AND OTHER FORMS OF COMMUNICATION WITH YOU LOOK LIKE?
Before making a decision, take a look at how they format their own communication with you (think proposals and emails). How they design their own materials is a good indication for how they will design yours.
5. WHO WILL MANAGE OUR WORK?
Find out who will handle your file should you hire this agency. This may not be the person you initially spoke to. Remember, you are going after college students for their lifetime value — you’re playing the “long game.” You will likely work with the agency for a few years if they deliver on what they present. Review the person’s Linkedin profile. Are they connected to a mutual connection that you can talk to? Consider having more than one meeting with your potential agency. The more times you interact, the better idea you’ll have of their personality and work style.
6. HOW DO YOU CONTINUALLY EDUCATE YOURSELVES ON THE DEMOGRAPHIC?
They may attend conferences, write blogs, and be active in engaging college students on social media. It is a big plus if your agency can regularly come to you with fresh insight.
7. WHAT DON’T YOU DO WELL?
No one is an expert at everything. Create a list of multiple capabilities and avoid companies that give you a nod to your entire list. You are looking for an expert at reaching the 18 to 24 year old demographic on college campuses. Outfitting a vehicle for a road tour is likely something that falls outside these capabilities. So it’s unlikely the same agency can be an expert at both.