Last month – yes it’s almost a whole month ago we were all loving life at YMS16, how time flies – our very own Ian Pain lead a cracking panel talk with some other pretty important industry peeps about best practice when executing student marketing campaigns.
It’s safe to say that there was quite a lot of juicy insight shared and some equally interesting ideas to takeaway and apply to your next campaign. So for those who didn’t manage to catch all the gems because they were too busy tweeting about how amazing Ian was, or the rest of our pals who couldn’t make it along, here is a quick recap on the best bits.
What is the role of student marketing campaigns today?
Ian explained there was no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach as it differs depending on the brand or client that we are working with. However, if you look at the role in a broader context, the most obvious point to make is that the student market is a lucrative one, estimated between £15-£20 billion, so can a brand afford not to create campaigns that target this market? Certainly not, and its not just because of the potential spending power this demographic has.
University is often the first time that young people start making their own buying decisions and brand affiliations. They have a chance to reinvent themselves and engage with new people, new products, and new brands. Ian believes the role of any student campaign is to try and begin building a relationship; there are so many emotive milestones that a student has and the ability for a brand to align themselves with those is crucial.
The role of brands when marketing to students is the same for any demographic they are targeting – to sell. However, we’re finding through our independent research that students are much more savvy these days and have higher values that they expect to see from the brands they engage with and ultimately buy from. Students, in a nutshell, care more about the products they are using so are more aware of CSR issues.
The rise of social media and experiential marketing campaigns
At BAM, when planning campaigns for our clients and brands, we look at all the channels available and determine at the off which are going to be the best to deliver the objectives set out. It’s safe to say that the higher education space has never had more routes to market. While on the one hand this makes life more complex, for the most part of it, it gives clients much more ability and flexibility to get the results they need.
We’ve seen a substantial increase in enquiries from clients and other brands asking how they can incorporate social media and experiential activity into their marketing plans. First hand experience at Freshers’ events and seeing the power these kind of integrated campaigns can have has been great to see. It’s now about harnessing these channels to further deliver against wider business objectives and not just isolated student targeted campaigns.
Ian’s Top Tips
Just remember ROPES:
Research: Don’t try and launch your brand into the student space simply because it is a lucrative market. If it doesn’t fit the youth/student demographic, don’t force it! Ask some students what they think about your service before doing anything else.
Objectives: Start with the end in mind. What are the objectives and how will you measure the success of your campaign?
Plan: Plan, plan, plan. And make sure you give yourself enough time to. The student market is pretty laid back but it still needs a lot of planning time to get things right.
Execute: Don’t run a halfhearted campaign. Execute it effectively. Better investing less and doing it well rather than stretching the budget too thinly. Always use peer to peer when doing onsite activity, not two glum looking old chaps who can’t relate to your brand or audience.
Start a Conversation: Whatever that is. It has to evoke some feeling and spark a reaction. Gamify on-site activity to build a value exchange. Make it authentic, don’t try and be something you are not.
If you would like to find out more about Ian’s panel discussion, or how we can help your brand develop it’s marketing strategy to incorporate student targeting, please contact us.