After having little success with previous marketing efforts on campus, Intrepid Travel contacted us to develop a new approach to marketing to students and deliver some real results. Intrepid provides global adventure travel focusing on small group adventure travel. They help their travelers experience real people, real cultures in incredible locations like Egypt, Bangkok, Thailand, New Zealand, Africa, and roughly 100 other countries.
Challenge: Convince college students to travel with other young adults to alternative trip locations that they might not otherwise consider.
Campaign Goals: (1) Promote and give away a 13-day trip for two to Chile and Argentina. (2) Increase new trip sales among students 18-24. (3) Increase brand awareness of Intrepid Travel to college students.
Media challenge: Utilize media that college students consume to share the opportunity for unique travel – all on a limited budget.
Campaign Reach: Promoted on 32 colleges and universities across the U.S. in the spring of 2011. Total enrollment of all schools involved was 864,000+.
Media used: Targeted student email blasts, Facebook ads, and college newspaper inserts
Campaign Message: “Find a bigger world in smaller places…”
Increased Facebook “Likes” 265% over the duration of the campaign
Delivered a 891% increase of leads for their “Enter-to-Win” trip program
Increased new travel bookings 155% from the previous year
“Over the years we tried varied tactics to reach the college market with no success. We worked with Campus Media to develop our Spring campaign and saw the best results we’ve ever seen for this segment and blew all of our KPI’s away!” – Gina Kelly, Intrepid Travel
At the recent NACE 2011 conference, attendees heard over and over again that the 40- or 50-something recruiter doesn’t connect to students in the same way that a recent grad who works at the company can. The younger recruiters are seen more as “peers” who can better address the process of looking for and interviewing for a job these days.
I am not discounting the importance of a senior member of your staff being involved with campus recruiting. Their years of wisdom and knowledge of the company are key to sharing stories and showing stability within your organization. What I am saying is be sure to bring along your company’s 20-something recruiter who can cue into the little nuances of today’s college student. It does make a difference to the students and will help your company stand out at the career fairs you are putting so much money and time into. Try it, and let us know how it goes.
At the recent NACE 2011 conference, I had the pleasure of hearing great discussions about how career centers and corporate recruiters can work together better. One great idea we discussed was having a better communication model for corporate recruiters and career centers that looks like a basic corporate hierarchy. In addition to names and titles at companies or career center staff, it would also include a short description of who is responsible for what as it relates to recruiting or marketing on the campus.
For example, a career center director might be in charge of alternative marketing opportunities available through the career center in addition to managing career fairs or scheduling on-campus interviews. A career center office manager might also oversee job postings and updating company literature and premium items for their students.
Alternatively, a recruiter from a company would provide the career center with a list of the two or three people within their organization who the career center can contact for various updates throughout the school year. Some key people a career center may need to speak to at your company could be the head of recruitment, the lead recruiter assigned to that campus, and someone in your communications or design department with access to company logos and company overviews.
Communication between career center and company should be transparent and easy to understand. Starting here will create a clearer understanding of each other’s business and develop cohesiveness when planning a successful campus recruitment season.
Is your school or company currently using a communication structure like this for on-campus recruiting? What other tips do you have for those involved with student recruitment?What other tips do you have for those involved with student recruitment?
Career fairs have always been a mainstay for companies recruiting graduating students, but their effectiveness has come into question for many of the brands we work with. Employers are starting to see a drop in the number of students coming to career fairs, and this could be for a few reasons:
(1) Some employers are no longer accepting resumes at career fairs,
(2) Students are able to apply and get a great deal of information online that was not available in the past, and
(3) Conversations at career fairs between recruiters and students have become a bit less enticing since employers cannot provide information to students that may give them an advantage in the hiring process.
NACE has an articleabout this on their website that digs deeper into this issue.
I attended a career fair recently intent on learning more about how companies are promoting themselves to students. I was put-off by some of the things I saw there. It wasn’t uncommon to see recruiters sitting behind their tables working on their Blackberries instead of being out in front, engaging students in conversation about their company. Why would a student want to stop and talk to a company recruiter that’s not paying attention to the crowd around them? Some of the companies were sending the message that the attendees were just a number that didn’t matter. It was very disheartening. A few other things that were surprising included uncomfortable silences in conversations between recruiters and students (aren’t the recruiters supposed to be good communicators?) tables looking very “flat” (booths need a 3-dimensional appearance), table skirts that look beat up and old, and booths that only have the generic name label as a branding element. Although I did see one company staple a cloth logo on a pennant to the booth label behind them, it was crooked and took away from the brand quality.
So, a couple words of advice for companies participating in a campus career fair this fall:
Stand up.Be in front of your table versus behind it. Be there to look people in the eye and talk to them.
Know what’s happening on campus.Pick up the student newspaper when you arrive on campus to find out what’s making news on campus. Even better, check out the student newspaper or university “media” website before showing up. Have some stories that are relevant to the students. Have more to talk about than yourself. Your goal is to make the student feel comfortable and create a personal connection.
Be proactive. If you are handing out something, design it with student in mind and personally hand it to them. Stop the insanity of saying “take this and that” and point out the important information they should look at more closely when they have time. In most cases the pieces you have to hand out are designed to build the overall brand and tie everything together. If they only get one piece of the picture they are likely to miss the big one – why they should want to work for your company.
Tips. Give the students recommendations for the best way to get into your applicant tracking system (ATS). Let them know how to avoid falling through the cracks.
Be nice. Even if a student doesn’t have the educational background or experience you’re looking for, make a positive impression. Word of mouth resonates and students will share their experience with your company, especially a poor one. Allow them to be advocates for your company by encouraging them to spread the word.
Dress the part. If your company dress is formal then a suit is fine, but you should represent the reality of your company. If your office is casual, dress that way. One trend I’ve noticed is recruiters wearing school-branded gear – golf shirts, hockey jerseys, etc. This not only shows your support for the school but encourages conversation. If you do go with the football jersey, you’d better know what’s happening with the team (see “Know What’s Happening on Campus” above).
Engaging booth. Add some stands, images, signage, etc. that provide something that’s not flat against the table or wall behind you. It really does stand out when people walk around and creates a more engaging feel. Remember that the first impression of the booth and people working the booth are what help drive students to stop and talk to you.