The 18-24 demographic may be one of the most powerful demographics out there, but marketers struggle to effectively reach this demographic. It’s one that is always talked about in numbers, but what it really should be called is the ‘college demographic’. Not everyone in this demographic is necessarily in college, but regardless of that this time is a pivotal one because a new independence is born. During this time, children split from parents and become their own consumer. Sure they may have a few brands they cling to out of nostalgia, but the most exciting thing for them and marketers is that their parents aren’t doing the choosing for them anymore. They are on their own. It’s what makes this the best time to reach out to them, because they are establishing their own identity apart from the family dynamic. More and more students are spending time online, whether through PC, mobile or tablet, as an eMarketer survey finds that 28.4 million Internet users in this age bracket access the Internet in some way at least one time a month http://bit.ly/iBZvyd. This makes it the best place to get their attention, but not enough people are taking advantage of that. Namely, colleges. Mashable’s Dan Klamm points out Four Ways Colleges Can Take Their Social Media Presence to the Next Level. His first point is coordinating strategy across campus. Personal acknowledgement across social media channels and referral back to university departments, in response to what’s happening with students and alumni, puts a positive and inviting spin on them while driving more resources back to their bottom line (student recruitment, student retention and financial resources). His second point, investing more time in education and training, refers to offering classes or webinars about services such as LinkedIn, having recruiters connect alumni as well as connecting alumni with students, etc. Lastly, his final two points offer up other ways for giving the university more of an appealing voice: using students and the university president as social media ambassadors.
Not enough companies reach out to students either, and that is where the brand partnership program of textbook rental company Chegg comes in to the picture. Chegg’s brand partnership program is really a daily deals program http://bit.ly/j553Wj. Think about it, college students, most in a new town or city with little knowledge of their surroundings. Daily deals programs are a great way to let them know about your business and turn them into customers. Plus it’s an underserved piece of the daily deals market. College students are important to brands, because that is where their relationship with brands tends to start. On the flip side of those that are struggling are those who have been successful. Notably, Facebook, Victoria’s Secret, Apple, American Eagle, Red Bull, Zipcar and Hewlett-Packard according to Angela Bright http://bit.ly/oilUL6. Facebook started out as a student directory to connect fellow students, now it’s a social media backbone and connects people of all ages as well as connecting businesses to customers. Victoria’s Secret is another example, parlaying it’s success with women’s clothing into a line of loungewear for female students tied to their universities. Apple, in changing the way we consume and share music, has changed the college experience. Music is important to college students, and Apple has come up with a variety of ways for them to customize, arrange, share, and play their music. American Eagle has combined on-campus ambassadors with coupons and free flip-flops on move-in days as a way to target students from day one on campus. Red Bull, Zipcar and Hewlett-Packard use a combination of social media, mobile marketing, student representatives and samples to entice students. All of these companies have found a way to reach the college demographic. The college demographic is not to be overlooked when developing your target audience, as it is one of the most crucial to your brand’s success. How will you target the college demographic? That is up to you.