Marketing to college students can be daunting, especially on university campuses. Young millennials and G-Zens are not typically swayed by traditional advertisements, so companies have to think outside the box. That being said, it is worth the effort. Students who attend universities in the United States have an estimated buying power of $44 billion. Here are 7 tips from current college students on how to effectively market on campuses.
Skip the Flyers
Distributing flyers may seem to be the way to go when marketing to university students. However, busy students trying to get to class may be annoyed by the interaction, rendering it ineffective.
“I don’t like people handing out flyers. I’m busy and I don’t want to talk to people,” explained Josh Ziegler, physics PhD student at the University of Oregon.
College students also tend to be environmentally conscious, so the less waste the better.
Get a Good Graphic Designer
If your company does decide to advertise through print promotional techniques, consider using posters. This way, students aren’t bombarded with leaflets but can still take in information about your business.
Students usually spend their time on campus at the library, restaurants, and cafes, so these are the perfect places to promote brand awareness.
In order to be eye-catching to aesthetic-obsessed millennials and G-Zers, your poster must have good graphic design.
“I tend to gravitate towards posters in dining halls or coffee shops on campus because that’s where I’m headed to after class. I especially like good graphic design,” revealed Sarah Duncan, MFT candidate at Loyola Marymount University.
Hire Student Ambassadors
Campus Rep programs are mutually beneficial to students and businesses. College students are able to familiarize themselves with a brand which can help them get hired at the company post-graduation. Students also appreciate experience to put on a resume, possible monetary compensation, and swag. In turn, your company can easily connect with the student population, which increases brand awareness for a younger generation.
Offer Free Food
College students usually have limited funds. Free food is an incentive for students to become loyal to your brand. Campus Reps for Insomnia Cookies actually pay college students with their delicious treats if they follow and like the brand’s social media account. It’s a total win-win situation. Students won’t have an empty stomach and your company will have an influx of online engagement.
Utilize Social Media
Placing targeted ads on social media is an excellent way to market to college students. The younger generations are glued to their mobile devices and love using social media sites, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and Pinterest.
“I’d say social media is the best way to market to students. Since it’s part of a set routine for most people anyway, especially the demographic on college campuses, they’re more likely to interact with the ad. Then, if even one of their friends ends up using whatever was marketed to them and enjoys it, they’re that much more likely to try it themselves,” said Meghan Holsclaw, MFA in Writing graduate student at Spalding University.
Gemma Tuna, a sophomore at Dominican University, shared similar sentiments.
“I personally don’t like when on campus marketing is in my face or they repeatedly remind me of what they are offering,” noted the Communications major. “ I look on social media often and find all the information I need regarding companies, events, or other school wide affairs so I do not think it is necessary.”
College students are typically socially conscious and want to buy from brands who have the same principals. However, young millennials and members of Gen-Z can sniff out when companies are not being authentic in their approach.
“Gen Z, an acutely socially conscious cohort, will only do business with companies whose values they share. As the most social media-savvy generation ever, they can quickly determine whether companies are authentic. Companies that want to capture their business must convey their core principles through social channels that Gen Z cares most about, most notably Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat,” explained Mike Grandinett, Advisor to Global Start Ups & VCs, to Forbes.