Campus Media have an extensive network of youths on the ground and online enabling brands to better understand their market place and buying cycles.
The seven myths of student marketing
Just some of the myths about students and the student market...*
A few marketing companies have the student market sewn up
If you are a marketer new to the student market you may have researched some of the specialists. Whatever you've heard or read about 'unrivalled access', 'unique relationships' and 'credible connections', the truth is no one organisation has good links to the entire student community, whether they market through universities, students' unions, media, brand managers or any other means.
No-one can offer you the attention of all five million* students in the UK.
(Figure includes FE students and part-timers)
Students are hard to reach
Only if you follow the wrong path. In physical terms students are very easy to reach. They visit their place of study every day (generally), they socialise in packs and in regular venues, they consume more media than most and their exact whereabouts is often timetabled. Those who get a poor response from their marketing are usually communicating in the wrong way.
Students are gullible
While it is true many of the consumer choices students make will stick with them throughout their lives, students aren't gullible. Aware that some regard them as vulnerable, they are actually more suspicious, sensitive and aware than most.
Students love wacky stuff
What's wacky? Interpretations vary, and what a marketing executive finds wacky a student may not. The stereotype of students experimenting with conventions - traffic cones etc - will always have an element of truth, but student behaviour is becoming increasingly conventional.
With a price tag of £10,000+ on your average degree today, students take themselves more seriously.
Students love funky stuff
Some companies get it into their heads that to appeal to students they need to make themselves seem 'funky'. Why? When it comes to buying insurance or choosing a bank, a student doesn't care about image. They want an insurance company who will pay up and a bank that will keep extending the overdraft.
Those who funk up their image in order to appeal to students are in danger of being seen like middle-aged men who cruise nightclubs and drive open-top sports cars. Naff.
Students appreciate good design, language that speaks to them and original ideas.
Student brand manager schemes bring success
Everyone wants a student brand manager scheme nowadays, having heard the results they have brought for brands such as Red Bull and The Guardian.
But for every successful scheme there are literally dozens of failures. Mass enthusiasm for the schemes from brands has been their downfall: too many students are now working for brands, too many schemes are upsetting university marketing stakeholders (who object to unlicensed marketing on their premises) and too many brands have bought into the concept without seriously considering whether it suited their objectives.
The Guardian recently ditched its scheme, feeling that the idea had run its course.
In truth, there are still opportunities to benefit from having a student presence on campus, but there is a need for a fresh approach and an re-think about the methods used by SBMs.
You can afford a bad reputation in the student market - the audience moves on
Nobody can quite explain why, in a market where the consumer is 'replaced' every three years, reputations last so long.
The likes of Nestle, Jarvis, News International, FHM and Stagecoach have found out that reputations earned some time ago do not go away.
Similarly, research conducted recently by Reach Students shows the UK's top brands among students are those that have been investing in student marketing and good PR for years: Endsleigh, NatWest, The Guardian, Orange and STA Travel to name a few.
Maybe it is the fact that decision makers, such as student officers and staff, tend to stay around a while. Maybe it is the legacies they leave when they move on that so easily become campus folklore.
* Myths kindly provided by our friend Luke Mitchell at Reach Students, a very clever and insightful fellow.
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