college marketing

Xfinity dominated 35 college markets during move-in days.

Hey retailers, it’s here…the back-to-school frenzy! There are a lot of parents getting their kids ready for school, from public school to private schools similar to these private schools in houston, texas, it’s an annual event that most parents are looking forward to, are you ready?

What’s grown to a $75 billion industry and the second largest seasonal shopping period of the year, the back-to-school rush is marked for mid-July. Retailers are scheduling omni-channel back to school advertising programs to deliver messages aimed at moms, dads and the students, themselves. An average family spends $630.36 on supplies, clothing and electronics, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

It’s clear that the back to school shopping season is important to retailers of all types: mass merchandisers, discount, department, clothing, electronics and office supplies. Retailers aren’t the only ones: wireless, entertainment, CPG and electronics brands are also vying for the back to school audience. And consumers today are influenced by more channels than ever before: print, online, social, broadcast, out-of-home and good ol’ word of mouth. Our worlds are filled with content and brands trying to break through the clutter of our multi-device, multi-activity lives.

How can you stand out in this sea of back to school advertising?

Location, location, location.

So what if it’s cliche? We still stand by the premise that location is everything. When you can narrowcast your messaging to the right, hyper-local audience, you have a better chance of capturing the right person’s attention.

Here are some tips and tricks for how retailers can aim small, miss small on their back to school advertising.

Drive your message with mobile billboards.

Mobile billboards allow you to highly target your exact, precise audience. We recommend running your back to school campaign starting shortly after July 4 through the end of August. Retailers can target a two- to three-mile radius around their stores in focus markets during peak shopping hours. Retailers interested in the college market can also aim messaging near pre-semester campus events, such as orientation and move-in days.

Integrate digital.

With student influence – and many students chipping in their own bucks toward back to school items – it’s important to consider how a digital engagement can enhance your back to school messaging. For example, teens and college kids make up a large part of Shazam’s audience. So when there’s a call-to-action on your mobile billboard to Shazam for cool content, they will likely do so. Don’t forget to harness the power of facebook ads too – in today’s highly digital age, social media networks are a necessary platform to promote your brand. Deliver a video or a docu-series that supports your campaign efforts, encourage an interaction with gamification or distribute promotional offers and discount codes – all within the Shazam app! You could also use beaconized media to alert shoppers of your back to school deals – a push notification that wakes up their phone and grabs attention. When you’re in the right location, this digital interaction makes sense to a shopper’s real world environment and engages them when they’re directly along the path to purchase. This is a much more rewarding user experience than, say, scrolling right past a banner ad on a website. Some business finds that using local seo services similar to those provided by companies like Victorious could be a good way of reaching parents who are looking forward to back to school shopping.

Create a pop-up shopping experience.

Our sister brand, dio, is a specialist in the experiential marketing industry. They’ve taught us that pop-up marketing can be highly memorable and create brand loyalty. Retailers may want to create a pop-up shop near college campuses, at large festivals and summer events or near beaches to grab vacationers when they’re in a relaxed mood. Giving away branded clothing alongside the pop-up’s focus items can help make people more positive towards your brand, and it means they will advertise it elsewhere. Taking your brand and your store directly to the people – now that’s location marketing!

Create human connections with brand ambassadors.

Street teams, Segway squads and JetPack teams can drive excitement for your brand with a personal interaction. From sampling to street performances, the possibilities are endless when it comes to our field marketing initiatives. When attracting the college market, PhotoMarketing may be of high interest. This allows students to take a branded photo and share it socially using a hashtag or mentioning your brand online.

Make your way to a consumer’s heart through their tummy.

Food trucks are all the rage. When you can tie your retailer or brand to a taste, you can really make a wave in your back to school advertising. A food truck campaign may also make a lot of sense for restaurants, pizza delivery brands, school food service companies, online ordering services and restaurant review sites who are also trying to attract the back to school audience. Your food truck can show up outside of summer/fall sporting events, near retail centers or near college residences during move-in days.

Take over a college campus.

On campus signage. Sidewalk chalking. Street teams. Student union takeovers. Campus newspaper ads. Student body email blasts. And more! Targeting a specific college audience can be done in creative ways. We prefer the guerrilla marketing tactics – surprising and delighting college students when they’re least expecting it. We’ve compiled more information about the campus advertising – take a look!

Taking your message to this back to school audience is not only effective – it’s really a lot of fun. If you’re ready to unleash your back to school advertising, contact us.