Marketing to the College Set: A Case Study

  • Oct 31, 2011

How to Increase Sales Without Cutting Your Margins

4 Marketing Ideas for Collegiate MarketingAustin, Texas: I have a client that creates vacation packages aimed at college students– ski trips, beach trips, etc  They put together bus trips at several college campuses, fills them up with students and repeat and repeat –year after year.

They market on the cheap, and have been successful for nearly 25 years and running.  In fact, they spend less than $2500 per year per campus, and have a waiting list for nearly every event.

What is there secret formula?

1) Under-Promise and Over-Deliver:  This can probably be the cornerstone of every marketing program.  When people feel that your organization has gone above and beyond, they are much more likely to feel that  they received more value for their buck, and will be more willing to recommend your services to others.

2) Consistency of Message:  You know what you are gong to get from the website, the tone of their marketing material and from recommendations. People wanting luxurious hotel stays, personal care, attention and complete pampering will find that this trip is not designed for them. Those looking for a fun vacation with other college students, nightly parties and a laid back attitude would know these trips are ideally suited for them. Their marketing supports their message and their is clarity throughout.

3) Referrals are Encouraged: Since seating is limited, this company post the number of seats available, and countdown to zero.  With a finite offering, people will want to encourage their friends to come along to share in this vacation and to hurry, as seats are available only while supplies last.

4) Premiums and Promotional Items Geared to the Audience: With a pre-determined target audience, it makes marketing that much simpler.  Instead of trying to be all things to every audience, this company looks for imprinted promotional items and premiums that college students enjoy.  Their most popular promotional items are imprinted caps, koozies, bottle openers and bandannas. Their most popular incentives for pre-booking and for getting four or more people to sign up as a group are digital incentives, such as music download cards, free movie ticket download cards and custom laptop/tablet skin cards.   These imprinted cards can be given out digitally or mailed, making distribution costs nominal, at most.  At the perceived value has been sufficient that they are given in lieu of price concessions – so they are able to maintain price integrity and margins.

In this tepid economy, it is still possible to increase market share and keep margins high by practicing these four strategies.

How many of these four tips have you been following?

What can you do to improve your marketing message?

We’d love to hear from you.


  • Category: Blog
  • Tags: branded music download cards, case study for marketing, college marketing, collegiate marketing, digital incentives, marketing tips, marketing to college students, music download cards