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Employ Experiential Marketing to Extract High Value Experience on Campus

    Spending and brand engagement among millennials and Generation Z consumers have shifted over the past decade – they have become more responsive to experiential marketing. With traditional outbound messaging lagging behind, the shift is evident across all types of advertising and marketing niches. Apple and Google, retail giants such as they are, tapped into this concept early. They opted to “neglect” their product’s feature benefits by aiming their advertising on the culture and the experience surrounding their products.

    Tradeway’s Michelle Storey commented that this type of marketing has now become standard, particularly among brands that cater to college-age consumers. The good news is that this powerful tactic can be leveraged by any brand “simply” by thinking outside of the internet, TV and print media box.

    Understand Your Market’s Desires

    From a marketing perspective, it’s critical to understand exactly what influences and drives your market:

    • What do they desire, and
    • How does that desire impact on their purchasing power?

    Let us look at the Millennials, also referred to as Generation Y, the last of whom are in college now and will be graduating over the next few years. This demographic, for instance, places a big priority on the following:

    • They attach a greater value to experiences than they do to possessions.
    • Financial stability is important for millennials. However, they don’t find it the same way their parents did.
    • Rather than saving for things, they save money for building memories such as dining out, taking trips and experiencing life.

    From a marketing perspective, it’s critical to understand what influences millennials:

    • What do they desire, and
    • how does that impact their purchasing power?

    Captivate your Market

    An excellent way to reach millennials and Gen-Z consumers are with experiential marketing and campus pop-up events. Not only are they gaining in popularity, they can also be seen, umm…popping-up, in greater numbers everywhere. The beauty of these events is that:

    • They are a unique, non-traditional way to speak to students, and
    • They can take place anywhere on a campus where college-age consumers frequent, including:
    • Campus Bookstore
    • College sporting events
    • Campus-wide festivals
    • Grad Fairs
    • Back-to-College events (e.g. orientation and move-in)

    When brands can get in front of college students in the form of an experience, millennials and Generation Z are:

    • More likely to engage, and
    • More likely to remember your brand.

    The result – lifelong repeat customers!

    The Take-Home-Message

    To create a successful experiential experience and to capture student consumer engagement, brands should consider:

    • Offer something that the targets audience needs (i.e., a solution to an existing problem),
    • Create opportunities for user-generated content that could be leveraged for online marketing, and
    • Offer an experience that college students are likely to find unique and share with a friend.
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