Exams are over, results are in, graduating students are on their way into the world and 1st & 2nd years on their way home for summer, all meaning universities will be empty from now until September.
EXECUTIONAL has years of experience in student marketing, going right back to the university days of running student promotions to working with multi-national companies like Nike. So to help your planning, we thought we would guide you through some of our student marketing experience, to help you get the best out of your student campaign.
Student Marketing – Do Your Homework
You might be thinking that it is a little early to think about student marketing, but the first point and probably the most important one is start planning now!
July and August are the perfect time to do your research and make sure that when Fresher’s Week rolls around in late September you know exactly how your brand is going to reach the student audience.
Below is an example of the things that you need to think about when researching your student marketing campaign:
- What are the key term dates?
- Where do the students go out or eat their lunch?
- What is the major student residential area in the city?
- How many students are at the selected university?
- Is our brand more relevant to certain degrees?
Now the list of points above is just the tip of the iceberg and the exact questions that need to be asked greatly depend on your brand and your student offering. Over the next few points, we will dissect some of the above and go into more detail of what makes a successful student marketing campaign.
Student Marketing – Stay Focused
There are a lot of universities (165) and students (2.5 million full/part-time) in the UK. So the potential for reach (i.e. potential users/sales) definitely exists in terms of audience size. When it comes to reaching that audience you don’t have to target them all in one go, because without everlasting budgets it generally leads to a weaker end-product. Instead the best option is to focus your marketing budget on carefully selected locations and aim for getting better results in those locations.
First of all take the time to explore your offering and how it may transfer better to certain regions, cities or universities. For example, if you are promoting a sports drink, some universities have a larger focus on sports so it would be better to pinpoint those first.
With your budget focused, you can begin to look at how you are going to make a greater impact to the selected audience, which could mean having an experiential campaign or simply being more consistent with the activity. You can also look at ways of engaging that specific audience, even down to having the name of the university on the print material or the t-shirts worn by the promotional staff.
With a more concentrated reach, the better the word of mouth and social media activity around brand will spread through a university/city. Because in the end, it is better to have a great campaign that has 25% of Manchester’s students talking (18,845), than a weaker campaign in the top 20 universities and only have 2.5% of students talking (16,104). Look to choose a few key cities and exhaust them until you have the need/budget to grow, EXECUTIONAL can help research statistics and make sure your campaign is fully focused.
Student Marketing – Is this the right audience?
There is a lot said about having a student audience (keep them for life, etc.), but they are not the easiest to engage with let alone build brand loyalty. Do you still shop where you did when you were in university? So as a brand, you might want to target students – but do they want your brand?
If this is your first entrance into the market ensure that your key messages and product/service offering is of interest to them. Students are a great audience to reach, but you are thinking of reachign graduates, young professionals or any audience – we can help. EXECUTIONAL have a lot of experience in this market, so if you’re not sure that students are the right audience for your brand, talk to us and we will be happy to advise you on the best target audience and the methods for you to reach them.