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Five ways brands can engage better with students through experiential marketing
Campus Media discusses why experiential marketing is so successful when it comes to marketing to students.
Simon Lucey

First off, what is experiential marketing and why has it become one of the most popular choices for brands looking to engage with the student market?

The underlying objective of experiential student marketing is to create a closer tie between the student and the brand by providing them with an entertaining and memorable experience, usually through an event.

The psychology behind it is to stimulate positive emotional triggers in the student which they then associate with the brand. This encourages brand loyalty and influences future purchase decisions.

Based on my experience of running student marketing events, I’ve established five reasons why experiential marketing is so important.

It comes hand in hand with PR and creates a social media buzz

Experiences create stories. All brands are trying to tell their own great stories. By creating experiences for your customers it generates great content to share via marketing and PR channels.

On top of this, if the experiences are really great your customers will share your story for you.

When we took Lidl on tour with a photo booth, the campaign hashtag #LidlGraduates got over 300,000 impressions on Twitter and Instagram.

Students get to try before they buy

Marketing Week published an article by Tribe’s Managing Director, who reported that 48% of consumers say they are more likely to buy a new product if they can try it first.

He also reported that “experiential marketing scored highly in encouraging more purchases from existing customers, attracting lapsed customers and inspiring repeat customers too.”[1]

It increases Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)

Experiential marketing is particularly important when trying to create a connection with students during Freshers Week. During this time, students are bombarded with marketing material from other brands, making it difficult to stand out and really make an impression on them.

Providing them with an experience instead will encourage the student to keep coming back to the brand and over a long period of time.

It targets the right audience at the right time

If you’re trying to engage with students, then creating an on-campus event couldn’t be more targeted and enables brands to connect with your audience on a more personal level.

It only needs to physically affect one person

Creating a positive emotional experience with a large network of people can even be achieved by physically affecting just one person. For example, last year Bud Light created a Super Bowl ad that targeted just one man in its ‘Ian Up For Whatever’ campaign.

Ian was given the ‘greatest night of his life’ and a collection of ‘too good to be true’ moments (including driving round in a party limo, sharing a lift with Don Cheadle and playing ping-pong with Arnold Schwarzenegger) all as part of one big prank.

This experiential marketing tactic stirred the ‘wow’ factor in a huge number of viewers and became the sixth most shared ad of the 2014 Super Bowl[2].

To speak to a member of the Campus Media, click here.

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