Our review of The YMS – Youth Marketing Strategy 2016
Pretty much the whole team at BAM attended this year’s YMS conference, held by Voxburner, and we can safely say that the 2016 event smashed it out the park. The Youth Marketing Strategy 2016 played host to 1000 delegates, 120 speakers, 43 exhibitors and lots of great insight into the motivations of young people, how they take in marketing and what works for them.
As a Silver Partner, we were among great company as main sponsors, but the speaker and panel line-up itself was out of this world with the likes of Boohoo, Arsenal, NCS and many more wowing attendees. The venue was buzzing with chat, ideas and creativity; we enjoyed making some new connections and friends, and we were especially happy with how people reacted to our exhibition space that got loads of love on social media throughout the conference.
Making a Scene
In true BAM style, we couldn’t go to YMS without making a scene, so our stand wasn’t just any old stand; it featured an incredibly large and fun fruit machine which gave players the chance to win lots of great prizes. It really helped to draw attention from attendees with over 300 spins played. It also helped us demonstrate just how effective gamification is, especially when attracting the youth market. Participants won over 40 Amazon vouchers between them, as well as some of our larger prizes – two iPads went to lucky winners, Burcak Kilicoglu from Philip Morris Ltd and Oliver Brann from student.com. Georgina from Real Gap Experience won a free advert in the Guardian and Natalie from Boost won an email campaign with us. Congratulations to all the winners and thank you to anyone who came along to say hello and for taking part.
Capturing our Audience
We also held a competition with the chance to win coveted tickets to the Crystal Maze experience that is taking place in London soon. We put a bag of sweets on each chair in the hall, and also gave away bags at the stand. Sugar always goes down well at these kind of events so they were obviously loved by all, with some people even giving us shout outs on Twitter for our sugary generousness.
Whilst we were at YMS we held a workshop event called ‘Ask the Student’, which was a sort of ‘speed dating’ format which allowed marketers to get into a room and ask real students, all at different points in their education, whatever they wanted. There were two international students, two pre-university students, two first years, two second years and two final year students available to answer any questions. For example, some marketers asked about their current marketing struggles, what appeals to them as a student or what they hate.
Many brands attended the event with the likes of Hostelworld, Apple and Redbus among the brands that were keen to get in on some raw student insight. We’ve been busy putting together the findings from this workshop session and collating them into a report that will be shared by us very soon, so watch this space!
New Research: Freshers’ Unplugged
Our very own Dave Cook held a talk along with three representatives from brands that had recent success with targeting students for their campaigns. Alex Rossi a Senior Account Director at the Guardian, John Watts a Network Development Director at Doddle and Claire Bright who is a Local Store Marketing Manager at Greggs. The session was called ‘New research: Freshers Unplugged’; Dave presented new insight, which was followed by a panel discussion on what this research means for brands who want to tap into the student market with their campaigns.
Here are some key takeaways from the talk:
- “Of the 5.8 million 18-24 year olds in the UK, 1.9m are in full time education, that’s roughly a third. Additionally if we look more specifically at the undergraduate market of the 1.8m undergrads, 1.3m are under the age of 24, that’s roughly 75%.”
- “We have found that with the right approach the student market can be very receptive to (face to face promotion), even something as simple as gamifying a campaign rather than just handing out freebies can actually double the campaign results.”
- “We recently asked a selection of organisations to sum up their experience of the student market and there was the usual positive terms such as fun, dynamic, lucrative, brand loyal but two of the most common words were difficult and challenging, there was also a feeling that the marketplace is overcrowded and that brands can get lost. If your campaign is engaging, relates to the market and connects with the individual, you won’t be forgotten. You’ll be loved and talked about.”
Ian, Director at BAM discussed how to run an awesome student marketing campaign and had some equally awesome people join him on the panel too. Celia Forshew, founder at Seed, Charlie Gardiner-Hill COO at The Tab and Tom Weil from The Stu. The talk covered campus events, student brand ambassador programmes, Freshers’ Fair strategies and social media engagement, as well as the big ideas behind the stand-out student marketing campaigns of the year.
Here are some of the key takeaways from the talk:
- “Purely in terms of the student market it is a lucrative one. Estimates are anywhere between £15-£20bn.”
- “The role of student marketing companies is still to sell stuff but equally we know it is much more important to students these days how good a company is. Students are more aware of CSR issues.”
- “Make sure that your product fits the student market. Assuming that’s all good then: ROPES. R – Research, O – Objectives, P – Plan, plan, plan, E – Execute, S – Start a conversation.”
#YMS16 was a great success for us all at BAM, we had a great time meeting lots of new people, and both talks we took part in were well attended and successful. We also had a great time running the ‘Ask the Student’ workshop and our findings from the session will be available online soon. Of course we can’t forget the fact that we’ll see a lovely bunch of you for the Crystal Maze experience later this year! Roll on #YMS17!