Many of our clients work hard to attract the attention of 18- to 24-year-old college students. But it’s not easy. Here are five keys to reaching this demographic:
- Ramen is dead. Generally speaking, most of today’s college students have been privileged (by Boomer standards) most of their lives. They have discretionary income to spend on entertainment, technology, outdoor activities, and good food ($120b in 2003). They respond to messages of empowerment, not privation.
- Segment by lifestyle. Don’t treat all college students the same. Tailor your message to reach the market that needs your product or service. Sports fanatics will respond differently than an arts crowd or intellectuals.
- Be where they are. If your target market enjoys an active, outdoor lifestyle, sponsor actvities or advertise at events they’re likely to attend. Associating your brand with activities students enjoy helps build a positive image for your company.
- Offer something of value. The youth market embraces diversity and a global prespective. College often opens them up to new experiences. You can earn brand loyalty by offering products or services which enhances their lifestyle or brings them intellectual satisfaction or delight.
- Don’t try too hard. College students are very savvy marketing consumers and know when they’re being given a hard sell. They’re confident and smart. Be authentic and give them relevant information.
The “new youth” demographic is confident, realistic, embracing of diversity, very influenced by friends and the Internet, suspicious of all institutions, global in outlook, and heavily wired. The better you speak their language, the more successful your marketing efforts will be.