5 tips for marketing to college students

(iStock)Take it from a college student: Marketers do not need to spend a fortune capturing the college market. Here is a short list of insights into the college demographic, and how to tap into its juicy center.

We love buzz.
Organizing a Facebook group to promote your product or event is a great way to generate buzz. However, be sure to compliment your viral efforts with a presence on campus. Whether that means dispatching a street team, or hosting an event on campus, just offer incentives for us to come to you and chances are, we will.

We love FREE.
We like getting free stuff — simple as that. (RedBull‘s got the right idea hiring hot college students to give away their product on campus.) Also, we respond well to incentives that are tangible, and easy to understand. You’ll give me $25 to give you my opinion on your product? Done. You want me to mail coupon X to brand Y to receive item Q for reason Z? No thanks.

We talk.
If something on campus catches our eye, we talk about it. Your product doesn’t have to necessarily be groundbreaking, but your execution must turn heads. Stride Gum made a big splash this year on college campuses with their guerilla efforts. If I like your execution, I’m more likely than not to talk about your product with my friends.

We want NEW.
College campuses are great playgrounds for testing emerging media and technology. We love being on top of newest trends/technologies and (big point here) we’re willing to pay for it. Research and personal observation shows: Today’s college student has a surprising amount of disposable income since many still rely on their parents for cash.

Be relevant.
The more you can find out about the colleges you are targeting, the better. We like promotions that are relevant to us. Every school has its own personality and demographic, from state schools to the Ivy League. So you gotta do your research!

Bonus tip:
Nearly every student I know uses ratemyprofessors.com before registering for classes. It’s a great website that provides user-generated reviews on different college professors and courses nationwide. Consider it a great opportunity for college impressions.