Summer is drawing to a close and it is time for the final part of EXECUTIONAL’s Student Marketing Guide. With school and college students returning, it will not be long before university student’s return and begin another cycle…
We have spoken to a number of brands requiring a student promotion since the start of the summer and hopefully, you and your brand are well on the way to creating the perfect student promotion (with a little help from our guides). But if you still need a few more ideas, hopefully, part 3 of the student marketing guide will point you in the right direction.
Student Marketing – The Experiential Approach
It means providing your consumer with an experience, which is relevant to your product or brand proposition. They are not just shown a photo of your product, sent to a website or told about the ethos of your brand, but they experience it firsthand. Then, if executed correctly, this experience creates a link between that long-lasting positive memory and your brand.
For example, if you have a food brand; eXperiential marketing means more than passing the student a sample and hoping for the best. Experiential marketing would mean creating a branded space to run cooking lessons on the university campus, showing students how to cook. Students could then participate and make easy to cook meals in the time before their next lecture, with vox pops uploaded to social media sites and competitions to win home cooked meals for the students and their housemates.
A student fashion brand could create a branded pop-up shop, with live mannequins and catwalks, signing up new users and selling clothes on the day. A drinks brand could have a branded student night, a sports brand a pop-up tennis court, a cosmetic brand have live make-overs, etc, etc, etc. And these type of experiential campaigns helps to open up the marketing possibilities to industry magazines, local press and social media, showcasing the ways in which the brand is providing an experience to its consumers, rather than just a product on the shelf.
There are millions of possibilities to provide students with brand experience and we are always willing to help execute experiential ideas and happy to do that as cost effectively as possible. Taking the time to discuss through ideas and creating a student experiential campaign that really works.
Student Marketing – Get Social
Back in Student Marketing Guide Part 1 I discussed briefly how the student audience over the past five years has changed dramatically and one of those changes has been the rise of social media. Now every brand needs to think of the ways they are going to engage students within the world of Facebook and Twitter.
Most social media is geared around allowing university students to ‘talk’ with their peers; Facebook was invented solely on that premise. So no matter your budget, if you’re running a student marketing campaign, it’s a good idea that you think about integrating social media into that campaign. This can be simple as having the addresses to your social media sites on the leaflet or having a competition that drives people to follow or like your pages.
The first step to doing this can simply be to make sure your social media platforms (website, Twitter, Facebook et al) are all up-to-date. Make sure it has the right logos on, links to the website, any relevant videos or photos and recent posts if students start flooding to pages that haven’t been updated in weeks/months; they will likely follow something else. But once you have them on your site, you have an audience that you can reach and interact with, for almost free (the sites are free, but to have someone, even your own staff update them on a daily / weekly basis, isn’t.)
At EXECUTIONAL we understand the development social media has placed upon marketing and specifically consumer marketing to a student audience. For many campaigns, we will recommend the student promotion is integrated with the various social media platforms, and we can even help to manage those campaigns.
Student Marketing – The Wow vs. The Persistent
I have left this point to last, as it is probably one of our favourites and comes from witnessing the success of a triumphant underdog; the “Rocky” of student promotions.
When working as a student event and nightclub promoter, there was a new start-up student event that was facing tough competition of the established student events that had been promoting to students for years. These companies had the budget for big student marketing campaigns, the types of budgets and reach that this start-up could only dream of. But this start-up persisted, they were outside the campus every day with a box of leaflets speaking to everyone they could. They proved to a few that their event was the best and utilised social media to create a place for peer-to-peer student marketing, which helped the word spread even further. Eventually, this start-up student event was the place to be and the established student events were stunned at the success this start-up has become.
Obviously, the success of this city-specific, student marketing is not the same as pitting your brand against global giants Apple, Nike or Coca-Cola. But there is a moral within this story for all brands and that is whatever you do, be persistent with it. Not all brands have the budget to have a big experiential campaign or have massive teams of promotional staff at the university campus. That doesn’t mean their brand can’t succeed within the student marketing world.
Do your research on the type of student promotion your brand will need (hopefully these student marketing guides will help) and be consistent with the promotion. If the competitor arrives with an experiential campaign with twenty promotional staff on Thursday for a single day, your two promotional staff are there on that Thursday and the next five Thursdays after. Your campaign may not have the instant wow factor, but the consistent approach with the smaller budget will work overtime, just keeping going and be persistent.
Hopefully, Part 3 of eXecutional’s Student Marketing Guide, like Part 1 and Part 2 have helped to give you some ideas on what makes a successful student promotion. Although this 3-part guide has covered quite a few topics, there is still more to cover and every campaign will require a slightly different approach to turn “good student marketing” in to “great student marketing”. So if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to call!