Students are an unpredictable bunch. More accurately, this label is not just limited to students but to the youth market in general. That age when brand choices and decisions are made sometimes for the first time in their lives. From what they wear to the model of cell phone they use – these are all extensions of a “brand me” culture that has evolved into a new breed of consumer. Experiential Marketing is recognised across the globe as being able to foster long-term brand relationships with customers. Does it not make sense, then to start young – “varsity sweethearts” if you will…
To capture the elusive loyalty of the student market brands need to enter their world to present a fresh experience. One can be sure that a generic message will end up in the junk mail folder of their brain; if they even “read” it. Fortunately the campus platform offers a portal into their world which, as the years pass, becomes almost unrecognisable to the rest of us.
“Our role is essential in that we present the bridge between brand and student on their ‘home turf’. The interactive element of our campus campaigns is what drives through the impact that our clients enjoy. Through our media we create great brand presence Include an effective activation in the mix and we can ensure relevance and brand engagement between the student and the brand… a powerful combination,” says Krista Moore, Sales Manager at Campus Media.
According to the 2011 Global Experiential Marketing Research Industry Trend Report released in March 2011, one of the main demands experiential agencies face from new clients is the incorporation of a social media element. Moore concurs with this finding and as such this is a priority for 2011.
While Experiential Marketing remains a buzz word that gets thrown around boardrooms and agencies like peanuts and popcorn at the circus, industry members still seem to have different views of what constitutes an experiential campaign. “Two standard requisites of this marketing tool are: firstly, the fact that there is a meaningful one-on-one engagement between brand and consumer and secondly, that this experience is relevant to the brand and to the audience. Innovation is key to achieving this,” continues Moore.
While difficult to prove; Experiential Marketing undoubtedly offers respectable return on investment, and when executed properly, the gains will translate into partnership that may last longer than most “varsity sweethearts”.