2020 was what one could call a dumpster fire. A pandemic, a chaotic election, and civil rights movements has caused uncertainty and unrest in our country.
This includes the college landscape. Looking forward we must take the learnings from the past year and apply them to 2021. Figure out what worked and what didn’t work, building on this we crafted the following 2021 College Marketing Resolutions.
1. Be Mindful of the Individual
2020 affected everyone differently. Students experienced a wide range of learning scenarios. Some went to classes full-time, while others learned remotely. Beyond academics, many students directly felt the coronavirus. According the New York Times, which tracked 1,800 campuses, nearly 400-thousand students contracted the disease with 90 deaths. With no single experience the same, craft messages that speak to the individual. Understand that their situation is personal and not a generic college student life. Mediums that work well to achieve this resolution include Emails and Social Media.
2. Be Mindful of Brand Messaging
Branding remains important. Students react positively to brands actively stating their positions. Not every advertising needs to drive a direct action. Some ads can position your brand in the marketplace. How does the brand address the pandemic? What social causes is the brand involved in? Because Millennials and Zoomers (generation Z) care about the world, your brand must show that you care as well. In addition, general branding remains the best way to reach the largest number of students. Therefore, out-of-home advertising and college newspaper digital and print ads are the best medium for this resolution.
3. Be Present in College Student’s Minds
Some advertisers are waiting until the pandemic blows over before resuming adverting. We advise against this as this is the time college students begin forming their brand preferences for the first time in their adult lives. If you remain on the sidelines and not present in their minds, you will miss your chance. Therefore, continue targeting college students consistently during the Spring even as the pandemic exists. The best methods to maintain a continued presence to college students include Programmatic and Mobile advertising.
4. Prepare for a Big Splash During Back-to-School
The general hope is that most Americans receive a vaccine by the Spring and early summer. With this in mind, many schools say they are hopeful to be back to normal, in class instruction Fall of 2021. Subsequently, many students will be breaking out of hibernation and ready to take on the world. In short, that would be the ideal time to launch an aggressive campaign. Ideally, a brand would have messages welcoming students back-to-campus a great way to interact directly with college students. Out-of-home placements, hosting events or employing brand ambassadors best generates large awareness.
Thankfully, 2020 is in the rearview mirror. As a result, we can prepare for 2021 College Marketing campaigns. In summary, our resolutions focus on messaging, branding, and being present in the minds of college students. Hopefully 2021 will be a better year for all of us!