By Allie Sementelli, PPMG Summer Intern
Marketing products to college students, likely of the iGen/Gen Z generation, is no simple task. Traditional marketing is no longer effective with this group. However, there are strategies that one can adapt and succeed with, earmarked for this rapidly growing market demographic.
1. Promote Affordability
An important consideration is college students’ budgets, which often are very limited. Price is usually the first thing that students look at and, if it does not seem reasonable off the bat, there’s a good chance they won’t take the time to look any further. Oftentimes, businesses don’t even bother to reach out to college students precisely because of their low disposable income. However, if you throw in the words “free” or “student discount,” it will generate excitement and trigger interest.
2. Provide An Incentive
So, you’ve created an affordable and high-quality product, but you’re still not maximizing profits? Have you considered offering incentives? Creating well thought-out incentives often leads to increased student engagement and brand loyalty, which can potentially turn into long-term consumer relationships. Providing samples or free trials are excellent ways to attract college students and set yourself up for future customers. However, be sure to differentiate yourself from competitors and focus on why your product matters to that particular target audience.
3. Reach Them On Social Media
This generation relies heavily on mobile devices in their daily lives, so take advantage of it. TV commercials and radio ads are not going to cut it with this target market: it’s all about social media. College students generally have a short attention span when surfing the web. Try establishing a social media presence with attractive ads that stand out. The most heavily used platforms are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat, all of which offer advertisement opportunities. This age group has also gravitated towards YouTube, blogs and podcasts, giving you several outlets to reach them at.
4. Be Funny
An excellent way to create a memorable ad is to create humorous content. College students, like anyone else, love a good laugh. Twitter especially generates a lot of humor, so try to get familiar with its content to give you an idea as to what types of ads college students gravitate to. A big plus: incorporating pop culture references through memes or animated GIFs.
5. Have A Presence On College Campuses
Social media isn’t the only thing that attracts college students. Pick up what has worked through the ages: personal interactions. Conducting seminars, workshops, or presentations can create a buzz through word-of-mouth. This is a great way to involve students and show them, in a direct way, what you have to offer. You can generate excitement by offering games, giveaways, and competitions so they can win prizes and be turned into an on-the-spot customer.
Want to learn more about iGen/Generation Z? Check out Disrupted: From Gen Y to iGen: Communicating with the Next Generation, authored by Stefan Pollack, president of The Pollack PR Marketing Group