There are nearly 22 million college students nationwide with a spending power north of $574 billion. How can brands capitalize on this huge, and often hard to reach, demographic? Two words: Campus reps.
Unlike past generations, Millennials and Gen Z lack a connection to the traditional advertising methods of old. Commercials, flyers, and newspaper ads don’t work like they used to and false advertisements have fueled rising levels of distrust among younger people. Instead, social media and word of mouth have taken over as the most effective ways to connect with college students. Top brands have poured tons of resources into growing their social media presence, which is undoubtedly effective. However, rather than marketing to students, why not try marketing through them?
Who Are Campus Reps?
Brands like goPuff and Kendra Scott have capitalized on this untapped market through their on campus ambassador programs, which have thrived despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Establishing a community of influencers and ambassadors provides you with an army of campus reps on the ground that will reach new audiences, speak highly of your company, and build trust with your customers. Cultivating a strong ambassador program not only unlocks the spending power of college students, but does so in a cost efficient manner through word of mouth marketing.
Why Do College Students Want To Be Campus Reps?
Along with the changing trends of the marketing industry, the nature of college student employment is evolving as well. College students used to make their pocket change through weighting tables or delivering pizzas. Now, the opportunity for college students to be a campus rep comes with a much wider variety of perks. In addition to the merchandise and discounts that can be earned through successfully promoting brands, campus reps will also pick up important workforce experience — especially given the scarcity of internships available due to the pandemic. Being a campus rep gives students a meaningful experience in the world of marketing and valuable talking points on their resumes.
How Can I Build A Community Of Campus Reps?
Establishing an effective campus rep program is more than simply recruiting some students to increase the visibility of your brand. In order to do this successfully and at scale, brands need a way to identify influential students, seed them with product, and give them the tools needed to bring the brand to life on campus. Don’t forget that most campus reps have never been salespeople — in fact, most have probably never had a boss or even a job (other than maybe walking dogs or mowing lawns) — so you need to give them the tools and training they will need to be successful critical thinkers and problem solvers.
A campus rep program can act as a powerful tool for all kinds of businesses – consumer apps, retail brands, privatized campus housing, and more. The best part is that the relationship is mutually beneficial, providing brands with a low cost marketing channel while reps gain valuable marketing experience. By giving students a meaningful introduction to the world of business – and more importantly, teaching them the fundamentals of the sales, marketing & entrepreneurship – you can develop a network of lifelong brand advocates…and potential new employees after graduation.
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