No one doubts that the college market is valuable and that campus marketing is necessary, but are campus ambassador programs the way to go? Many marketers and students are skeptical. But, according to VoxBurner, most brands are actually just doing a really crappy job at campus marketing. So, use our tips below and create a program that doesn’t suck. As we’ve chronicled on Life of the Brand, universities are a prime location for recruiting digital influencers.
How to Not Suck at Campus Marketing-Pick the right ambassadors.
The very first step to creating an effective campus ambassador program is picking the right students for the job. Also, think beyond traditional qualifications and basic work skills. Those things are very important, but they don’t guarantee someone will be an effective brand ambassador. Spend some time with each applicant’s social media profiles: Is this someone who is naturally connected to your target audience? Does this person know how to create engaging content? That’s how you’ll know if they’re fit for your program.
How to Not Suck at Campus Marketing-Treat your ambassadors well.
Do not treat your campus ambassador program like a cheap afterthought, unless you want your ambassadors to treat your brand as an afterthought. Even if you can’t afford to pay them cash outright, you need to have legitimate compensation for them. Free stuff is not good enough. The campus ambassador program for your brand needs to provide professional development and networking opportunities for your ambassadors. Inviting them to meetings, offering them new project opportunities or introducing them to company higher-ups are all great ways to incentivize ambassadors and encourage them to invest in your brand.
For their actual job, establish clear objectives and provide easily-accessed resources. Set up your ambassadors for success! This approach will minimize frustration and improve efficiency. Also, treat your ambassadors as much like a regular employee as possible. It helps them feel like part of the team and adds incentive to do well.
How to Not Suck at Campus Marketing-Arm ambassadors with swag.
The best thing you can offer as giveaways are free product samples. But, if that isn’t an option, there are other branded items that work on campus. Cool items like credit card holders, phone cases, popsockets, t-shirts, and pens are great because they’re actually useful. Also, college students are really into stickers right now for their laptops and water bottles. Designing a sticker could be worthwhile for trendy brands. But, if you’re selling something like student renter insurance, skip it. Just avoid any giveaways that are trinket like in nature. And please, no flyers. Tech entrepreneur Noah Kagan, on his blog OkDork, said “Flyering for your cause = killing trees and nothing more.”
How to Not Suck at Campus Marketing-Actually go to campus sometimes.
If you’ve only got your ambassadors on campus, and you never do any larger brand events your campus marketing program will be very limited. One or two events a year is plenty if they’re well thought out. A recent trend in women’s retail have been pop-up shops, and many brands have taken the concept to campus. Go for a fun shopping-party vibe with your pop-up shop. It creates an interactive experience with your product and can generate some campus buzz.
Or, sponsor campus events and show up to them. The more you can frame your brand as a community partner, the better!