There are more than 15 million college students nationwide who are learning about breakthrough research, cutting-edge technology . . . and which toothpaste to buy.
"Reaching out to college students offers companies a unique chance to reach prospects who are making decisions about brands, products and services that may last a lifetime," says Martin D. Levine, chairman and founder of MarketSource Inc., a Cranbury, New Jersey, company that specializes in college campus marketing. "You'll never be able to reach this group in one place with this much effectiveness again."
Using events, advertising vehicles, sampling opportunities, campus newspaper inserts and other tactics that integrate offline and online marketing, MarketSource raises awareness and encourages trial among students.
The "penniless student" stereotype is bunk, says Levine. In addition to having their own discretionary incomes, they also have powerful influences on parents and other relatives when it comes to bigger-ticket items. According to Levine, it's not uncommon for a parent to react to a student's interest in what type of car to buy.
Campus marketing efforts can be carried out at a single school, within a region or nationally. If working with a marketing firm is out of your budget, contact the college's student activity center and inquire about incorporating sampling or promotion into an existing school event.
Gwen Moran is president of Moran Marketing Associations, a public relations and marketing communications agency in Ocean, New Jersey, and founder of BoostYourBiz.com, a marketing information resource. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- MarketSource Inc., 10 Abeel Rd., Cranbury, NJ 08512, www.marketsource.com