Target College Students on Spring Break with Experiential Marketing

closeup of a black signboard with the text spring break written in it, in front of a blurred beach with many people bathing and sunbathing

Although spring break has a huge partying stereotype, this “holiday” is a huge opportunity for marketers to connect with college students and remain relevant to this audience. In 2009, college students were responsible for over $175 billion a year for consumer spending. Almost ten years later, this number has most likely amplified and continued to grow as a source of purchasing power. Spring break is the perfect time to target a large group of students since they gather in groups to take a trip.

It may seem like only the biggest brands can capture this major opportunity. However, spring break marketing isn’t necessarily about generating revenue directly around spring break traveling, but more about becoming a part of the fun students are having. Experiential marketing is a great tactic that have brought brands like Axe and Hollister huge successes. Experiential marketing is targeted advertising that encourages participants to interact with your brand and share it with their friends.

For example, to ensure their brand is considered for spring breakers, Axe set up tents and a variety of obstacle-course games to attract beach goers. They continued this experiential campaign off the beach by partnering with popular hotels and sponsoring toiletries like soap and pillowcases. Your brand can learn from Axe and organize games for spring breakers to interact with your brands: on and off campus. Even if your brand can’t make a physical presence at a spring break hot spot, try and incorporate gamification into your campaign to help create a shareable experience. Using brand ambassadors to hand out swag on spring break is also another way to intensify your spring break marketing efforts.

Hollister entered the spring break marketing wagon by utilizing Snapchat to create a collaborative campaign with their audience. Instead of being physically present at locations, they created a sponsored story on campus and at popular destinations. They also published user-generated content from locations across the globe. This approach makes college students feel like these brands are there with them on their trip. Digital campaigns can also include online advertising or mobile search.

Whether your budget allows your brand to set up a physical campaign or a digital campaign is more fitting price-wise, be sure to incorporate spring break marketing efforts into your college marketing campaigns. By creating shareable experiences, you will be able to reap the benefits of customer loyalty for the rest of the year and beyond.

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