Understanding that you need to market to Students is not enough

BAM will be taking to the YMS stage in March, sharing their insights into student segmentation. Here, their Managing Director, Tim Bodenham, previews their session.

Welcome to the world of student marketing. If you are a brand wishing to gain loyal customers, to grow life-long relationships and more to the point make a profit, then the student market is prime for you. But knowing that you need to market to students is just not enough.

Known to many as a gold mine of marketing to youth, based on a few very unique qualities that separate it from the norm. Students in general (I use this term very lightly) are considered early adopters, brand loyal and for the most part and due mainly to having access to the funds for the first time, are known for having expendable income.

From working in this market for 18 years, I have witnessed the power of successfully marketing a brand to students, how students become powerful advocates to a brand, spreading its word through their close communities. I have also witnessed excessive budgets, wasted blanket marketing to students with no real agenda or goals.

You will often hear students referred to as millennial’s, although a term coined from the 1991 book Generations [Neil Howe and William Strauss] in the realms of student and youth marketing you can’t seem to have a conversation about marketing to students without this buzz word being mentioned quite a few times.  But let's face it, millennials are merely people ages between 18 - 34 although sources provide conflicting ranges, the segmentation of people here is purely by age range. You could equally and more simply state that today's students are ‘youth’ (14 to 21) and today's youth see things differently to the last generation. But that’s not quite as catchy as ‘millennials’.

Understanding how to market to students by only understanding that they are millennials is both not enough and pointless as it is too vast a net to cast, unless of course, you have unlimited budgets and no real goals. Oh and also there is a new influx of students you need to brush up on the ‘Generation Z’s’ (people aged between 04 – 21), with these arriving into the student system, that’s two generations you need to understand now.

Brands are ill advised and placed to consistently market to students on mass when students themselves are made up of such a diverse and complicated mix. Segmentation of customers, how to communicate to them and through which channels is standard practice in modern marketing, yet somehow these principles seems to be completely forgotten when it comes to student marketing.

Here at BAM Student Marketing, we have a deep understanding of the makeup of student segments relating to how their type interacts with our clients brands, through which media channels and when. Our aim is to gain our clients a deeper, richer and more cost effective approach to targeting the right students, their future customers.

At this years YMS London, I will be sharing a few of our unique insights into the types of student segments we identify, what brands they buy into and how best to market to them.

Haven't got your tickets for YMS LDN 2017 yet? Head on over to our event page for more information on the biggest youth marketing conference in Europe.