Think back to the last online advertisement you saw, or the last Facebook post by your favorite brand. Did it catch your attention and make you think of the brand? Yes. Was it interesting? Probably. Was it memorable? Maybe. Did it provide a full brand experience or answer a unique question about a product? Probably not. While having an online presence is important, especially in today’s uber-connected student community, there is something to be said for physical interaction with a product or a one-on-one conversation with a brand representative. This is why, even as brands focus their efforts on social and digital media, there is a renewed interest in making a stronger impact on the college consumer through offline campaigns.
I recently spoke with the newest member of the StudentUniverse Media team, Paul Tedeschi. Paul is the founder and former CEO of Mr. Youth and an experienced brand marketer with over 20 years in the field. He provided a brief history of one-to-one college marketing and offered valuable insight into why this strategy is far from a thing of the past.
One-to-one and live event marketing became popular campus strategies in the early nineties as a way to reach students in a more meaningful way than traditional postering or college newspaper ads, and have been picking up steam ever since. From campus tabling, to Spring Break brand launches, to sponsored concerts and festivals, offline brand promotions have seen enormous success in the college market. In Paul’s experience, one-to-one and event marketing get students to interact with brands on a deeper level, and provide experiences that simply cannot be delivered through traditional or online media. Allowing students to physically interact with your products, speak with brand representatives directly, or associate your brand with a unique experience can have a profound impact on them that they won’t soon forget. Getting your product into the hands of the consumer through samples or branded merchandise is also an excellent way to build buzz and establish goodwill.
All this being said, social media is an incredibly useful marketing tool and Paul emphasizes the importance of integrating it into offline campaigns. Leveraging social networks and promoting offline events through online media increases awareness, helps develop a cohesive message, and gets students talking about your product and your event. Offline techniques are certainly effective, but when supplemented with an online push, they can become phenomenal.
How does your brand still connect with the college consumer? Tell us your story below.
Interested in promoting your brand offline? Contact us about participating in College Day 2011.