Tag Archives: mobile marketing

Use QR codes to connect with college students

Cell phone ownership among the college market is nearly ubiquitous. And Smartphone usage is on the rising with the majority of college kids already owning one, or planning to buy one for their next phone. As data plans continue to decrease in cost and more students being to go online with their devices, it is important that you are ready to interact with them with the latest technology.

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Great stats on reaching the mobile shopper can be found here.

Ways to use QR codes to connect with college students:

1. Generate a code for your site and include it on your college newspapers ads, student targeted emails, campus posters, and other campus advertising. This will give students a way to bookmark your site on their phone, or view a spash page for a promotion right then and there.

2. Use QR codes to drive social media interaction on sites like Yelp, Linked In, Twitter, Foursquare check-ins, and even automatically “like” a brand on Facebook.

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3. Create a scavenger hunt! By using Facebook updates and Tweets, you can broadcast clues on where to scan a barcode that might be hidden on campus. Once scanned, that code could unveil the next location of a clue and ultimately lead students to a final destination to redeem a prize. These interactive games on the ground are great for events and help bring ultimate interaction with your brand. Here are some examples here and here.

4. Use QR codes for daily, weekly, or monthly coupons. These coupons can be changed out whenever you want, displayed in your advertising, marketing collateral, or on an in-store shelf edge or POP display. Check out this example.

5. QR Code SMS Messaging and calling. This can be implemented by creating custom codes that tell a phone what to do when they are scanned. For example, you can have a student scan a code that will invoke their phone to call a 1-800 number or send you a text message.

QR code generating sites I like are http://jumpscan.com/ and http://www.youscan.me and http://qrcode.kaywa.com/

What is your favorite?

How are you using QR codes to interact with students?

If you want to work with us on a college effort using QR codes, contact us today.

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Consistency helps pizza brands get a bigger piece of the campus pie

It’s no secret that college kids love pizza. Competition on college campuses is steep for ’zah, with national chains competing against each other and other local establishments. They compete for good reason: Pizza is a $30 billion-per-year industry, and college kids spend millions on pizza every school year. College students have choices on campus and expect a steady flow of offers and discounts in exchange for their patronage.

Keeping your brand top-of-mind is a full-time job. Pizza dine-in and delivery establishments also need to consider proximity. If you have a brick-and-mortar location within a half-mile of campus, you are in better shape than the shop that is a few miles away. Out of sight/out of mind is a real marketing obstacle. These places need to work harder by advertising more consistently, sweetening their offers, and building brand recall on campus. Once you address these challenges, you can essentially train college students to think of you when they’re hungry.

Here are some tactics Campus Media put together for a group of Pizza Hut and Wing Street locations that were trying to build their brand on campus and drive the trial of a new menu item. The marketing increased store traffic, increased deliveries to the campus area, and effectively reinserted the brand into the set of pizza options to consider on campus.

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Don’t abandon your college mobile marketing plans

College Student MarketingA recent study from Ball State University found that the majority of college students in the U.S. do not welcome advertising on their mobile phones. You can see the details of that study here.

The study stated that respondents’ reactions to ads on their phones were “highly negative” and that nearly 3 in 10 were less likely to buy the product after seeing an ad for it on their phone. The study also stated that college kids would be willing to view ads on their phones if they got paid to view them. The going rate? One dollar per ad. Sign me up.

The college students’ answers in this study didn’t surprise me much. College youth rarely want to admit that they are influenced by advertising and will be the first to claim that marketing tactics don’t work on them. Just watch any live youth panel at a conference where marketers are invited to pick the brains of young college kids. They will emphatically deny being swayed by anything marketers do – all this while wearing $200 sneakers and a Lacoste shirt.

Okay, yes, I may be sounding a bit presumptuous here, but I think I speak to the frustration of many marketers who see research like this and wonder if they should abandon their mobile marketing program efforts.

What this study on mobile marketing doesn’t show us is a measure of how ads influence college youth, regardless of whether or not they “like” the ads. Nor does it speak to promotions that are fed offline and initiated by the consumer (i.e., downloading an app or texting in for an offer). We must also remember that the speed of the mobile web can still be quite painful and likely discourages the majority of us from clicking on a mobile advertisement. It is my belief that ads influence and shape our behavior more than we care to admit. Because today’s youth will be the last to fess up to it, I question the value of their answers sometimes.

The stronger our love of a medium, the stronger our opinion about advertising on that medium. Our phones are sacred and personal gadgets that we hold dear. It isn’t a surprise for people (of any age) to be reluctant about seeing advertising there. We all remember how students reacted when Facebook opened up their site to anyone and advertisers. This battle is fought with every new technology that emerges.

I understand the frustration youth feel. Rarely do marketers get marketing right the first time. Typically, our foray into marketing on a new medium is an intrusive and poorly designed interruption.

With smartphone usage on the rise among college students, mobile marketing will continue. Companies need to use their own judgment when faced with discouraging research. Keep working on your mobile strategy. Remember, too, that if you are offering something of value through a mobile interaction, college youth will seek that out and give you permission. Building that trust will take time. Gaining a loyal mobile following will take patience and a bit of tire kicking.

This article has also been featured on Ypulse.

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5 steps to refresh your campus marketing plan

College Kid

“Handsome Kevin got a little off track. Took a year off of college, and he never went back.” These lyrics from the 1986 hit single “Welcome to the Boomtown” by David & David reminded me as I drove into work today how important it is for youth marketers to keep their college plans on track. Maybe your parents warned you, like mine did: “If you take a year off of college, you might not go back.”

It’s easy for youth marketers to find excuses to deviate from what they’re doing. Sure, you’re marketing budget has shrunk, you’re overworked and understaffed, but taking a break from your college marketing plan will only set you back. Students don’t stop to sympathize. If you lose their attention, your competition will gladly capture it for you.

Unfortunately for many agencies and brands, college marketing falls under the category of “special projects” or something to throw a few dollars at when there’s extra money in the budget. Look at the advertising on campus during the first week of class and you’ll see that this shows.  Some brands realize that being consistent year after year does pay off.  So, if you’ve been thinking about taking a break from college marketing, don’t. I have written 5 steps for MediaPost you can take to refresh your college marketing plan over the summer. Read them here.

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