Performance Marketing Expert

3 Tips for Marketing to College Students

Short on cash, busy with work and occupied by the highs of their formative years, college students aren’t exactly the easiest group to attract. For many businesses, though, these young adults compose the bulk of their customer base, but how have they been so successful at captivating the 18- to 30-year-old demographic?

Well, just like any good salesperson, these companies understand their audience, and they adjust their products to complement demand. If you are trying to tap into the college crowd, this article will introduce a few key concepts that should serve as the foundation for your college marketing strategy.

1. Use Mobile Marketing

Yet, almost every marketer can benefit from using mobile marketing to promote their products or services, but when it comes to marketing to the college crowd, smartphone appeal is an absolute must. Whether heading to work or class, college students are constantly on the go, so posting signs and handing out flyers on campus may not be the most efficient college marketing approach.

In fact, according to, 58 percent of students live at home, and that number will only increase. In addition, 80 percent of time spent on all mobile devices is allocated to app use, so if you can develop an app that complements your service, you’re on the right track.

2. Use Humor

Like mobile marketing, a healthy dose of humor can benefit just about any marketing campaign. College students, however, are particularly swayed by hilarity in ways that other demographics just can’t relate.

These students are also skeptical of generic advertisements. Wit and sarcasm, however, offer a certain authenticity that not only makes the advertisement more appealing, but it also encourages viewers to share the experience. As college campuses are perhaps the most vibrant word-of-mouth environments, humor just might do the trick to make your product or service go viral.

3. Don’t Sell a Product Until It’s Ready

So, we’ve covered the fact that college campuses are social hotspots, and word-of-mouth has a powerful influence. If you’re making students laugh or providing a genuinely helpful service, this is great news! But what happens if students hate your product?

Unfortunately, the social environment that has helped so many businesses blossom into lucrative enterprises can make your products or services fall flat. Back when most ads were featured on radio or television, it was absolutely true that all press was good press, but in an age when anyone with a cellphone or laptop can bash your brand online to thousands of viewers, it’s important that your product is ready to “wow” consumers when it launches.

That said, make sure you have thoroughly assessed consumer opinion before you unleash an expensive marketing campaign. Otherwise, the only aspects that go viral will be the ones that prevent customers from making purchases.

If your niche is the college crowd, or if you just want to tap into the viral potential of college campuses, be sure you’ve done your research and know your audience. Integrate these three tips for marketing to college students, and if your product or service is truly useful, you may be surprised how fast it can attract an audience.

08/22/2014 at 09:09