Marketing Myths That Make College Students Hate Your Brand

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The age old assumption that college students are susceptible to flashy gimmicks and cheap discounts due to their lack of income is no more. The new group of millennials are trend setters who have enough money to buy what they want. These trend setters are the youth behind political cultural movements, developers and adapters of new social media platforms and discoverers of the latest fashion trends.

Many college students around the country live in luxury condos or apartments. Additionally, a good portion of those involved in Greek life live in fraternity or sorority houses whose amenities and services compete with hotels. For example, Bowling Green State University recently announced its plan to build new Greek houses under a $30 million budget. These millennial trend setters are able to find money to buy what they want, and are able to drive trends that make certain brands popular and desirable.

Businesses should be aware of these trend setters and know how to avoid these marketing myths to appeal to this new group of millennials.

MYTH #1: College students are interested in the cheapest option and gravitate towards discounts, coupons, and freebies.

Millennials are aware that brands that offer gimmicks, over the top discounts, coupons, freebies, and samples aren’t worth buying from. They won’t settle for the cheapest option if they know it’s not the best. Exaggerated discounts and promotions can potentially damage the reputation of the quality of your brand.

Myth #2: The most effective way to target millennials is through “millennial offers.”

Millennial offers are focused solely on targeting trendy youths, and tend to neglect practicality. For example, Forbes listed 5 millennial-focused products that were doomed to fail, including Olive Garden’s introduction of a tapas menu. Although tapas became a widespread trend for dining out, millennials aren’t interested in eating tiny Spanish appetizers at an Italian restaurant.

Myth #3: The only way to connect with the millennial audience is through social media.

There are definitely other ways to target the millennial generation. Most brands that are on social networks are simply there because they believe they are supposed to be there. Posting boring comments about your company can make your brand comparable to a Facebook friend who constantly posts mundane status updates. Instead, focus on what makes your brand unique and worth buying.  Young adults gravitate to whatever is trendy, popular and high quality. If college students find value in a product, they are more likely to convince their socially connected friends to buy it.  For example, Camelback, a hands-free hydration company first popular with hikers, hunters, skiers, and the US military, expanded its market to spill-proof reusable water bottles that can be found tucked in the pockets of many college students’ backpacks across the country.


For more information about how to effectively market towards millennials, contact us at OnCampus Advertising.

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