Market Focus - College Students
Connecting with the college crowd is a prized goal for many a marketer. For most young adults, college is their first time away from home and a critical time to formulate their own opinions. It's also a key time to reach out to them as they start making important purchasing decisions and brand choices.
College students are a group with considerable discretionary income. According to college market research expert Student Monitor, there are some 16.1 million full-time college students attending four-year schools across the United States. Their monthly discretionary spending totals approximately $184, and their average annual personal earnings total more than $5,500.
However, this market's importance reaches far beyond short-term value. Establishing a relationship with this consumer base may have a positive effect on your sales for years to come. Steven Stolls, vice president of sales at American Student Lists, says, "First impressions are critical, and the sooner you can make a connection with these students, the more likely it is they'll remember your product and have a long life cycle." According to Sean Sheridan, senior account manager for college marketing company, Campus Party Inc., studies show that your first credit card may be with you for up to 15 years.
A college education also may indicate future earning potential. Typically, "people with college degrees will make more money," says Sheridan. "And they will go on to important positions within companies, universities, within government. These are important decision makers and influencers in society."
Gotta Have It
College students need everything from skin products and computer hardware to financial and communications services. Electronics such as iPods, cell phones, video games and personal computers are some of the most popular products on the typical student's wish list. Also, "automotive companies are targeting them," says Fran Golub, senior vice president, list management at Walter Karl. "They're buying a lot of apparel, plus electronics. They're also interested in educational improvement, so they're looking for Kaplan courses, the courses that will help them get ahead in school," she adds.