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Harness the Power of Experiential Marketing On College Campuses

Picture this: a huge sample of your target audience, excited about life and ready to spend money, all in one place. It’s almost a captive audience, but better. They’re already interested in what you offer and react well to positive experiences.

Experiential marketing on campuses is your ticket to this consumer paradise. The right approach to campus marketing harnesses the spirit of the college student. Then, you can funnel their energy towards becoming a customer and a brand evangelizer. 

Haven’t considered taking your marketing efforts to college campuses and utilizing live events? You’re missing out. Here’s why!

What Is Experiential Marketing?

Experiential marketing is one of the most immersive college marketing strategies. It deeply engages the target audience. Instead of showing marketing materials, it integrates products and services into an experience.

Companies can offer unique and memorable experiences in conjunction with brand exposure. In return, the company can build an emotional bond with potential customers. Emotional bonds are powerful, converting prospects into customers and building long-term loyalty.

On top of building an emotional connection, this strategy creates another touchpoint.

Maybe you’re not getting enough out of these efforts:

  • Publishing valuable content
  • Conducting social media outreach
  • Sending marketing emails

All these methods lack the in-person immersive connection. Adding a touchpoint of experiential marketing can put your brand over the top.

If that’s not enough, experiential marketing lends itself to social shareability. People love documenting their lives on social media, and a brand experience is likely to get posted. This means that experiential marketing engages the prospects and reaches their followers.

Marketing To College Students

Each positive aspect of experiential marketing is even better when applied to college students. College students on campuses have lives full of large community events. They look forward to experiences, like sporting events, student functions, and campus organizations.

Find a way to integrate your brand into one of these functions. It is crucial to reach this audience on a deeper level.

Young adults are sucked into technology around the clock. They’re inundated with digital marketing to the point that it’s barely differentiated from other types of content.

Traditional advertising is largely distrusted and ineffective for younger generations. For these reasons, experts promote experiences as the best way to reach younger audiences because they cut through the noise.

Finally, social media is fully integrated into the lives of younger generations. College students are likely to share their experiences with your brand online. Giving them a positive immersive experience will win their loyalty and the loyalty of their social circle.

How To Use Experiential Campus Marketing

Want to start experiential marketing for your brand? First, it’s important to understand what we mean by “events” or “experiences.” Clunky and tacky efforts like setting up a table near the cafeteria are not going to get you very far.

To help you get started, here are some key elements to a successful brand event.

Be Authentic

Being authentic means crafting a natural experience. Your audience shouldn’t question your presence. Of course, this can be very difficult to achieve and takes some creative brainpower.

A great example is the success of Trojan’s experiential marketing to college students. The company understood that college campuses are typically sex-positive. They knew that sex-positive recreational and educational events would have high attendance.

Trojan threw events that allowed their brand’s messaging to shine without being hokey. Their campaign was successful because its goal was to cultivate a sex-positive culture. In doing so, the local shops saw improved sales.

The key to achieving authenticity? Offer an experience that your audience will connect with on a deeper level.

Understand that the success of your brand is a secondary outcome of your efforts. First, you should work to build relationships with your key demographics.

Be Relevant

Similar to authenticity is relevancy. Aside from authenticity, how you connect your brand to that experience has to be relevant. In other words, you have to stay on top of trends and experiences that young adults currently understand.

Make your brand experience beneficial for college students. Understand how they feel and think, and research their pain points and desires. Create an event that speaks to those emotions and needs.

You have to build an event they’ll connect with and enjoy naturally. For example, throwing an event where everyone plays chess might not be the best choice. Throwing a huge waterpark event in the summer, though, will draw a large audience. 

Another aspect of being relevant is to truly understand the college student demographics. Different college campuses have different groups of young adults with various backgrounds.

Certain groups of people follow different trends, so tailor your experience accordingly. You can do some sampling at the campus before you build the event. Ask about trends on campus and cultural opinions.

Immerse Participants

The best experiential campaigns will engage as many senses as possible. The key to this type of marketing is to expose your audience to your brand while they’re fully experiencing it on every level. Incorporate sound, touch, smells, taste, and sight into the event to make it truly memorable.

Sensory experiences are more impactful and likely to translate well to social media.

Speaking of social media, make sure you’re clear about what you want your participants to do. The event should be an immersive natural experience, but that doesn’t mean you can’t incorporate a call-to-action.

Looking for social media coverage? Offer opportunities like a selfie spot with your logo, brand name, and name of the event.

Looking to tie your brand to cultural change? Provide resources for taking action and introducing change to institutions.

Build An Engaged Audience

Campus marketing truly got an upgrade when brands started using experiential marketing strategies. If you can find an authentic way to integrate your brand into a campus experience, get started right away.Need help brainstorming and building your event? Auctus Agency specializes in helping brands use experiential marketing. Contact us today to get started!