Festival Blog Student and Millennial Marketing Strategies

How to Advertise to Students in 2020 & 2021: The Complete Student Marketing Guide

Note from the author: If you are looking for student marketing help, whether that’s reaching 1m students per month through email marketing, social media marketing, or live and virtual event solutions, please contact us. If you are interested in being part of the UK’s largest Virtual Freshers Festival, then you can find out more information here. 

There is a lot of uncertainty at the moment on how organisations, recruiters and brands can engage with students and create effective marketing campaigns with strong ROI.

In this guide, we aim to outline the best ways to market your brand to students in 2020 and 2021. It is a ‘living’ guide so we will be updating it as we get feedback from Universities, from marketers and receive updates on COVID-19 related public policy.

Having worked with UK students for 15+ years, Freshers Festival prides itself in being a hub for student marketing and outreach. We have a deep understanding of the student market, and how brands can connect and engage with them. This guide takes into account the current coronavirus pandemic, considers how marketing has been impacted over the last few months, and how your brand can keep engaged with a student audience caused by social distancing issues.

Student Marketing – A Quick Summary:

  • Students are a highly diverse group (the majority are older than 19). Marketers need to think carefully about messaging and possibly market segmentation.
  • They are value seekers and money conscious. Organisations must offer value for money where possible. Students offer companies a massive potential customer life-time value if they are perceived as useful or supportive during the student years.
  • Social Spending is a priority. Students are willing to spend money but want to recap the benefits socially. How can brands differentiate themselves by tapping into the desire for social activity? How can this be achieved with current restrictions on large groups and gatherings?
  • First year student numbers are growing year on year. The freshers student market has a population of over 500,000 in Higher Education alone.
  • Student spending is set to increase. Student spending isn’t slowing down, combining the above can help brands unlock a huge potential market, with a predicted worth of £30Bn!


Virtual Events:

Before discussing the more ‘traditional’ student marketing methods, it is only right that we discuss how student marketing has been impacted by the tragic Covid-19 pandemic.

With lockdowns and social distancing, many of the best methods of marketing to students (such as face-to-face marketing) are currently unavailable. Furthermore, digital marketing budgets have been cut, and some forms of influencer marketing are much more difficult than they were before.

However, one thing that has grown significantly throughout 2020 is the push toward virtual events. Hosted on online platforms, these events have the potential to reach a much wider audience. The events can be paid-for or free, and are usually hosted on an online event platform. Don’t know where to start? Here are some of the best platforms to host your virtual event. There are two main types of virtual event:

  • Webinars
  • Virtual conferences & tradeshows

Webinars are shorter online video conferences, allowing you to present either live or pre-recorded video. They can allow for Q&A sessions, and are generally best for educational purposes. Many students have already experienced ‘webinar’ type functions if they have had online lectures which makes this channel known. A webinar is not too different from a Zoom call, as it allows for live interaction between an expert and the attendees.

But how can you market to students in a webinar? Webinars are highly conducive to learning or employment content. If you are looking to hire student employees, or bring in student ambassadors, then webinars are a great way to do this. Simply run a free webinar, and use it to teach students about the benefits of your brand. The good thing about free webinars is that they are fairly cheap to run, and even cheaper to market. You will get many sign-ups for a free webinar, and conversion rates from sign-ups to attendees is still strong given the vast increase of options (2018 benchmarks suggest these are around 45%), which is an excellent return for a free ‘event’.

Virtual conferences, on the other hand, are much more advanced than webinars, and are very similar to a real physical event. Much like in-person events, virtual conferences include keynote speakers, live Q&A sessions, pre-recorded content, networking opportunities, promotional content, giveaways/competitions, and much more. Virtual conferences have an agenda/timetable, and attendees can watch exactly what is relevant to them, just like in a physical event.

Virtual conferences have limitless marketing potential for students.

Through creating relevant content, you can promote any sort of brand to an interested student audience. For example, if you are a sustainable food / drink brand, you can deliver a talk about sustainability in the food industry to students with a passion for the environment. Within this talk, you can promote your own brand, and the engaged audience will be much more likely to visit your website and order your products as a result.

Giveaways are another fantastic way to engage with attendees at a virtual conference. Many virtual conference platforms offer engaging ways to deliver giveaways, such as anyone who watches a short promotional video can be entered into the giveaway. This will allow you to get your message across, whilst still creating a positive brand experience for your customers. Overall, there are countless ways to market your brand in a virtual conference, and they provide a method of truly engaging with an audience that is otherwise almost impossible during this period of social distancing.


Virtual Freshers Festival Events:

Speaking of virtual conferences aimed specifically at students, Virtual Freshers Festival 2020 was the biggest in the UK, with more than 36,000 students taking part.

In 2021 we will be ramping up further providing brands with a platform to engage with students in a variety of creative ways, helping to deliver everything from brand awareness, to greater brand experience and engagement.

We have a number of digital and virtual events planned to cater for the time of year, focusing on the needs of school leavers and students at that particular time.

Each brand receives a “channel” within the Virtual Freshers Festival and from within that channel, they can showcase every element of their business which is relevant to our audience. So for a food brand, for example, it’s not just about the food itself (although that can be a big part) but about the job opportunities they offer, the sustainability programmes they are running, talks on their corporate diversity, interactive cooking sessions – giving a much deeper insight into the brand and what it stands for.

With tens of thousands of students in attendance, it is the perfect way to showcase your brand to the UK’s student audience throughout 2021.

If you want to find out more, please check out our information page here.


Influencer Marketing:

One form of marketing that has seen rapid growth over the past 5 years, of course, is influencer marketing.

Influencer marketing simply involves using a person of ‘influence’, usually someone with a large following on social media, to promote your product for you. This works so well as influencers have an extremely loyal following, and their audience will be much more likely to listen to them about a brand promotion, rather than listen to the brand itself. As a result, influencer marketing often achieves significant return on investment, with firms earning an average earned media value of $5.20 for every $1 spent on influencers.

Influencer marketing can also be fairly cheap. Depending on the industry you are in, influencers with less than 10,000 followers (micro-influencers) will promote your brand for free or at low cost in exchange for free product.

Even influencers with up to 100,000 followers can often be extremely cost effective to collaborate with. However, don’t be afraid to invest in a larger influencer. Smaller influencers can often have a ‘fake’ following based on follows from other influencers (who follow for engagement purposes), or fake accounts. For large influencers, this is much less likely to be the case, and this is something which you should always bear in mind.

Like any form of marketing spend be sure to carry out due diligence on the platform and influencer you are interested in working with.

Finding influencers is often the trickiest part. Of course there are influencer agencies who can do this for you, but these are often expensive. The best way to do this is to simply search on Instagram, Tik Tok, and YouTube for influencers who make content within your niche. For example, if you are a London-based food brand, simply searching “London food” on Instagram will bring you hundreds of results of London food micro-influencers that you could contact.

But how do you get influencer marketing right?

Firstly, make sure the influencer is RELEVANT for your industry. This is the most important thing. If you are a fashion brand, do not try to contact a food influencer to promote your product, it simply won’t work. You need to be as specific as possible. For example, if you are a clothing brand targeting female students, don’t just ask about their followers but make sure that those engaing with their content are the demographic you are seeking to reach. It sounds obvious but many don’t dig deeply into the audiences an influencer actually engages with. Don’t be afraid to ask influencers for a screenshot of their audience insights / demographics in order to ensure you are targeting the right audience.

Secondly, make sure the influencer has a genuine following. Use a website such as Social Blade to check out their statistics over time. If they saw an extremely rapid rise over a short period, and then no growth since, there is the potential that they have bought followers. Similarly, look at the comments on the influencer’s content. If they have 10,000 followers, but only 1-2 comments on their content, then this is likely to be fake/bought followers. When working with influencers, you need to make sure the engagement is as high as possible (at least 5%) so that you will see some traction with your brand.

Lastly, you need some sort of call-to-action that the influencer should encourage. A particularly useful technique is running a giveaway with the influencer, where the audience has to ‘tag a friend’ in the post AND follow your brand’s social media account in order to enter. This ensures your social media following will grow, the post will reach as many people as possible, and your brand experience/image will automatically improve due to the giveaway. Like any marketing campaign, a strong call-to-action is critical.

Overall, influencers are one of the best ways to promote your brand to students in the current climate, and should form an intrinsic part of your marketing strategy moving forward.


Sponsorship Marketing:

Sponsoring university teams, competitions, and prizes has become somewhat of a forgotten marketing tactic in recent years. Indeed, for smaller brands, the lack of direct sales that can be attributed to sponsorship marketing often means it is not made a priority. However, sponsorship marketing achieves 2 key goals amongst students: Brand awareness and brand image. If students have not heard of a brand, they are not going to purchase it. Similarly, if students do not associate a brand with the student demographic, then they will be much less likely to purchase it. Sponsorship marketing can help increase brand awareness amongst students, as well as improving your brand image, something which is crucial to success in the student market.

What type of university sponsorships are available?

One of the cheapest and most effective sponsorship opportunities involves sponsoring university societies. Sports clubs, interest groups, and student communities are always looking for sponsorships to fund their activities, and this can be a great way to reach a specific niche of students. Platforms such as Sponsor My Society allow you to sign-up and browse potential sponsorship opportunities. Remember, make sure the society you sponsor are as relevant as possible, as you want students to associate your brand name with the activity. For example, if you are a protein bar / energy drink, sponsoring a university rugby or gym club might be a good idea.

You can also sponsor specific aspects of universities, including prizes or events. The Brighton University website has a fantastic range of sponsorship opportunities. If you are looking for recruitment to your company, you should perhaps think about sponsoring a university job fair. Often, this will allow you a specific stand at the event, or a 10 minute guest slot for speaking, which can be an invaluable way to get your brand across to an engaged audience. You can even sponsor a specific prize, enabling your brand name to reach thousands of students simply by purchasing an Amazon gift card to give away (or something similar).

Finally, don’t forget freshers fair sponsorships, whether live or virtual. This is one of the best ways to reach students right at the start of their university life. You can be a named sponsor, have a stand at the event to promote your services, or even receive online social media/email promotions. If you want more information on sponsoring our Freshers Festivals, please get in touch.


Email Marketing:

Email marketing is one of the most powerful forms of marketing. Out of all the ways a brand can communicate with its audience, customers generally say that email is the preferred method. Whilst you might not associate email marketing with being effective for students, you cannot ignore the significant ROI that email brings.

Research has suggested email marketing is one of the best possible marketing channels, generating $42 in revenue for every $1 spent. The reason for this is that it is an extremely cheap (or free) marketing channel, meaning every brand should be making use of it.

But how can you market to students using email marketing?

An important thing to remember is that students are much more tech-savvy than the average customer. They have been bombarded with digital marketing tactics throughout their life, and will easily tire of sales speech. Instead, the best thing to do is to create content that they will enjoy. As always, content is king.

Newsletters, for example, are a great way to do this. By putting out a weekly newsletter with interesting student content, links to blog articles, and engaging language, it will dramatically improve your brand image amongst the student demographic. Including some sort of giveaway in your newsletter is also an excellent strategy, as it engages students past simply reading the email. Once you have engaged students via a newsletter, you can then start to promote your products and services.

Early in lockdown we created a new weekly email series “Antidote to Isolation” to bring our subscribers helpful advice, messages of inspiration, deals, freebies and a chance to smile. From its launch until this point we have received consistently strong open and click-through rates showing our audience continues to engage with email.

For consistent and reliable results an email funnel is key in creating an effective system to promote your products to students. This automated series of emails, each one sent a specified period of time apart, helps to build a relationship with the customer before trying to make a sale. In the same way as a newsletter would work, this helps build up brand trust, with each part of the funnel delivering a specific piece of content. Email funnels often work best for more expensive products or services, as these require much more buyer decision time than smaller impulse purchases. Throughout the funnel, you can slowly outline how your product/service can solve a problem the student is facing, so that when the final part of the funnel comes with a call to action to buy, a sale will become much more likely.

What platform should I use?

Whether you want to create a newsletter, an email funnel, or simply market your brand through email, you need an email marketing platform. Even if you only have a small audience, using an email marketing platform is crucial for keeping on top of your marketing practices. Here is a list of some of the best email marketing platforms.

Mailchimp is a good value for money platform, giving you the ability to create lists, email capture forms, audience segments, and more. For more sophisticated email automation, better split testing and a higher email deliverability rate (including more success in getting into the inbox and not the promotions folder in Gmail), we recommend ActiveCampaign.

Whatever platform you use, make sure it has the correct features your brand will need.

Many Universities offer brands the chance to place promotional messages within their internal student emails. The results differ greatly from one institution to another with some offering industry-beating open and click through rates, others perform very poorly. We are currently compiling the media solutions offered by Universities across the UK, so if you wish to receive that information leave your info here and we will send it on when it’s available.

As with all forms of marketing, the stats and data are key to success with email marketing. Most mailing platforms allow you to view stats such as open rates, click through rates for your links, and unsubscribe data. These are crucial. If, for example, one of your emails saw lots of unsubscribes, then maybe you used too much ‘sales’ language, and you should alter this for next time. Similarly, analyse which of your emails has the highest open rates. Did you send it at a different time? Did you use a more engaging title? These are all areas which must be analysed to ensure your emails are as optimised as possible.

At Freshers Festival, we have a mailing list of 40,000+ UK students and find our weekly email newsletter a great way to stay connected and generate feedback.

If you want to promote your brand to a wider and more engaged student audience, feel free to get in touch with us.


Digital Marketing:

Every marketer knows the value of digital marketing.

Students are some of the most tech-savvy people on the planet, and digital marketing is therefore a sure-fire way you can reach them. If you are new to digital marketing, here is a quick guide to get you started.

But what are our top tips for marketing specifically to a student audience?

Firstly, don’t ignore organic digital marketing. Students love social media, and many brands have grown an extremely engaged following on social media through a variety of techniques. If you can get students to follow you for free, then you can GUARANTEE a return on investment for any organic marketing you do. Think about what students actually like.

Like any demographic they are selective on where they spend disposable income so freebies and giveaways are a great way to get students interested.

Students also love memes and funny content to share with their friends. Therefore, by basing your social accounts around these areas (funny content, free giveaways, student-only deals), you can easily build an engaged following who will be interested in what you are posting. This following will be far more willing to engage with your brand and your promotional activity, and as a result will lead to more sales!

On the other hand, don’t ignore paid digital marketing, particularly paid social media marketing. Digital marketing costs are extremely low at the moment, allowing you to reach thousands of people with a very small budget. In fact, even spending £10 / day could see you reach 10,000 people. Student specific marketing is slightly more expensive, but you can still reach thousands of UK students without breaking the bank. The most important thing to do is to create an engaging and eye-catching ad. Students scroll through social media at a rapid pace, and any low-quality or boring stock image will result in them scrolling right past without looking twice. The only way to really find out the best marketing material is, of course, to test. A/B tests for digital marketing are extremely important. Advertise to the same student audience, but with multiple different copy and images, in order to see what performs best. The most important thing is to use a Pixel or tracking software to ensure you can see exactly how many actual purchases/leads/results your ad brings in. An ad can have an extremely good CPC (cost-per-click), but still receive no purchases. As always, testing is key.

Digital marketing is of course one of the best ways to promote your brand to students right now. With the right combination of paid and organic content, you can reach and engage with as many students as possible, without the need for high budgets.

Send us an email if you want to know how we grew out TikTok account from 0 to 40,000 in only a few months, we’ll be happy to email our case study.


Face-to-Face and Experiential Marketing:

Whilst face-to-face marketing may not be possible in the short term, this will not be the case forever, the situation is changing on a weekly basis.

When things finally start to go back to normal, it is important to be prepared for what many marketers agree is the number one way to promote your brand to students: face-to-face marketing.

Here is a story from one of our previous clients at Freshers Festival:

A well-known drinks company launched a new energy drink in 2019. This drink was to be targeted at young people, and the company’s marketing team were given £1 million to promote the brand. As is normal for a large company, the team pursued a number of different marketing avenues, including social media promotion, digital marketing, billboards, and other ads. The team also attended Freshers Festival to promote their drink at the event. A few months after the launch, the company undertook a survey to see where young people had heard about the drink. Here are the results:

  • Traditional Adverts – 24.4%
  • Social Media – 17.3%
  • Freshers Festival – 56.7%

The cost of the advertising efforts: more than £1 million. The cost of attending Freshers Festival: a few thousands pounds. The event took up less than 0.3% of their advertising budget, but provided over 50% of brand awareness for their new product amongst the students they surveyed. That’s what you call a good ROI.

The point of this case study is not to show off the success of our event, but to show off the potential success of face-to-face marketing.

Research has suggested that 98% of people feel more inclined to purchase a product after attending a face-to-face activation (EventTrack).

What is face-to-face marketing?

Face-to-face and experiential marketing simply involves directly promoting your product to potential customers through in-person means, often at an event or pop-up. Face-to-face marketing does not just have to be about sales, it can also be used to help improve brand awareness, brand experience, and brand engagement.

Face-to-face marketing works through the psychological process of ‘affect transfer’. If a customer has a fun or positive experience with the employees / marketers of the brand, they will ‘transfer’ these emotions to the brand itself, and the brand will be thought of as fun or positive in the customer’s mind. Face-to-face marketing also works due to its personal nature. Customers are much more likely to purchase products from a brand if they have a perceived emotional or personal connection to it, something that can easily be

The rapid advancements in technology over recent decades – particularly since the turn of the century – have indisputably changed the way brands talk to customers and, more importantly, how customers talk to brands, and brands listen.

In a world where companies are able to reach millions of consumers with the click of a button through social media, it’s necessary to evaluate the benefits of the different tactics available within the 21st Century marketing mix. Evaluating these as a combination of available tools will help companies decide on the right blend of solutions that will best support them to reach qualified customers and build meaningful (and profitable) relationships. Regardless of how valuable social media and other mass marketing tools are at reaching large audiences, CMO of MC2 Rob Murphy points out that “face-to-face engagement creates a personal connection and builds trust between a company and its target audience.”

Through Freshers Festival, we’ve found that face-to-face marketing provides brands with a platform to build deep relationships with customers and, as Rob Gibbs, Business Development Director at Appco UK claims, “give the brand a real personality”.

Still unsure about face-to-face marketing? Here are some stats that you might find surprising:

  • 90% of consumers have more positive feelings towards a brand after attending an event
  • 85% of consumers consider themselves ‘likely’ to purchase after participating in face-to-face experiences
  • 71% of consumers share information about their experience of face-to-face marketing with their friends / family.
  • 75% of large companies who engage in face-to-face marketing see a huge ROI of 5:1 (EMI & Mosaic, EventTrack)

Evidently, face-to-face marketing is one of the best methods of connecting your brand with a student audience.

Whilst timelines for events are currently unknown, you can still plan to include face-to-face marketing in your future marketing strategies, in order to fully engage with students.

We are already seeing hundreds of sign ups per week for our live Freshers Festivals even though we have not started to promote them so we can clearly see there is a desire from students for live events to return. This year, more than ever before, students will not have the ability to meet students through traditional channels so we understand that events such as the Freshers Festivals provide more than just a chance to meet brands and grab freebies. We are currently planning our live Freshers Festivals so that they can return, in a new COVID-19 suitable format, as soon as it is safe to do so.

Augmented Reality:

There has been an huge surge in the use of Augmented Reality, especially through apps like Snapchat, Instagram and Tik-Tok.

Google continue to release AR objects to view in your own space (check them out if you haven’t already), Pokemon Go took the world by storm and retail giant IKEA have been placing virtual sofas in homes for years now.

The AR features made available through these apps have been widely successful and have proven the value of Augmented Reality experiences for students and Gen Zs. For brands looking to launch their own immersive marketing experiences, web-based Augmented Reality (Web AR) should be the first port-of-call.

Web AR is accessible by users through their standard iOS or Android device (2.9 Billion compatible devices worldwide). This means that users don’t have to download an app to view the experience. All of the AR content is contained and functions within the mobile web-browser, simply using the native camera. This slick and smooth user-experience allows brands to deploy highly engaging and interactive Augmented Reality experiences quickly and easily.

Here are a few video examples of Web AR experience in-action.

In terms of analytic performance, dwell time and engagement rates inside Web AR experiences are typically very high – as shown in this marketing case study, which resulted in:

– 40.3% engagement rate
– 2.08x page views per user
– ~2mins dwell time inside the experience

These results are outstanding when compared with social media advertising and other forms of traditional marketing. This is further boosted when considered that the average demographic of AR users is 16 – 34, therefore deploying a Web AR marketing campaign to target students should deliver solid results.

Freshers Festival Group offer one of the most experienced student marketing agencies in the UK and can deliver live, virtual, digital, social media and AR campaigns for your brand.

If you are unsure what options you have to reach UK students this year, be sure to get in touch with us.

Student and Millennial Marketing Strategies

Creative Ways For Fashion Brands to Market To Students in 2020

Limited budget, questionable outfits during 9am lectures and an unlimited thirst for comfy hoodies – it seems that striking the right balance between fashion and accessibility when marketing to students can seem like an impossible task.

So what exactly are the perks of marketing to students for fashion brands and how will doing so increase your sales?

Though staying a la mode may not seem like a top priority for students, research from Topman shows that students believe that being in style is an essential component of navigating their studies, with 75% saying they changed their fashion style upon starting university, and 41% believing that dressing right and keep up with student fashion trends is a must.

Emma Galpin, digital marketing manager at Topman, said: “The misconception about students is that they blow all their student loan on partying, when in fact they prioritise fashion over bar crawls and believe that looking the part is just as important at university as making their grades.

And if there are an estimated 5 million students in the UK according to UCAS, with 535,200 freshers as of 2016  and an average spend of £30 billion – that’s a pretty massive demographic who are dying to get their hands on the latest pair of Topshop boots.

And if you’re wondering – how the heck do I market my fashion brand to appeal to style-conscious students?

That’s where we come in.

With more than a decade of student marketing experience under our belt, including collaborations with the UK’s biggest fashion and retail brands, such as NIKE, Hollister, Clinique, IOLLA, House of Fraser and Benefit Cosmetics, we know our stuff when it comes to student fashion and spending habits.

From making the most of online audiences to fostering relationships with student press, there are a myriad of ways to increase fashion brand appeal to the student market.

Increase Conversion Rates Through Re-targeted Facebook and Instagram Ads

When it comes to students and online shopping, it’s a match made in heaven.

According to Voxburner, around 28% of young people (aged 16-24) buy the majority of their clothes online and via apps, with students claiming that online shopping is an easier option than shopping in person. I mean, who has time to traipse through town when you’re swamped with essay deadlines?

Student discounts like those from the UNiDAYs app which boasts more than 4.3 million users, as well as online discounts from massive fashion and retail brands like ASOS, offering 10% off to students, and Amazon, offering a FREE Amazon Prime membership for students for the first 6 months, prove that there’s demand from students when it comes to online shopping.

So how do you determine a fashion marketing strategy to appeal to digital student shoppers?

Through re-targeted Facebook ads.

Not convinced?

Statistics show that of all 18-24 year olds in the UK, there are 3.8 million female users and 3.9 million male users – not too shabby an amount of potential customers if you ask me.

That means that if students are online browsing, and haven’t yet committed to purchasing any products (maybe they’re waiting for their student loan to gift them some dolla) – they’ll be re-directed back to the website through Facebook, increasing the likelihood of them completing an order.

So how does it work?

It’s pretty simple. You can re-target visitors back to your website by creating custom audiences with Facebook and targeting lookalike audiences to expand your reach. If they still aren’t convinced – you can target the ads with a slight discount to encourage them to click, a great way of giving students an excuse to shell out on a new backpack or party dress. Check out this handy piece on how to track shopping cart abandonment through re-targeted Facebook ads.

Run Fashion Shows/Events In Student Venues

Face-to-face interaction and event marketing with your target audience will create memorable experiences and show them that you genuinely care about their custom – leading to an increase in brand loyalty and what every business person is looking for – sales.

How do we know?

After ten years of running the biggest and best Freshers’ Festival in the UK, we know the value of experiential and F2F marketing. Here are our reasons why event marketing is a smart choice for winning student and millennial customers.

Putting on fashion shows in student unions with discounted tickets, raffles and competitions is therefore a fab way of directly reaching out to your market and providing a positive experience of your brand as well as increasing brand awareness.

According to Forbes, 60% of millennials said they are loyal to a brand especially if they have built a relationship with them through positive experiences. Research also states that customers who recognise a brand are less likely to pay attention to other brands who they aren’t familiar with. the NSPCC also states that students consider social activity a priority, meaning events are a sure fire way of increasing fashion sales to students.

And since most students are on social media, you can easily run a hashtag for an event to increase your  following and customer base online. It’s a win-win.

Create Style Guides Tailored To Students

Since most students enter university fresh out of high school – many feel like their fashion sense may not be their greatest strength – which is why student fashion style guides are so popular, created by national newspapers like the Telegraph and the Guardian as well as independent publications like The Skinny.

But how do we know that style guides work?

Two-thirds of UK students spend their free time shopping according to the Independent  and so style guides influence student purchasing decisions, by proving that a brand tailors their products to their fashion interests. Research from the Freshers Marketing Report reveals that 87% of 18-24s want brands to entertain, inform and inspire them.

It could be a style guide on casual but of the moment fashion for everyday student living, or a budget friendly guide on outfits fit for nights on the town. Either way, tailoring content via digital or print is a fantastic way of attracting new and existing customers and giving them incentives to shop with you over another brand who doesn’t take the time to consider the student demographic.

Collaborate With Student Websites & Influencers

The Independent conducted research on the top 10 student pass-times, which included reading blogs.

Taking advantage of student reading habits through student magazines or by collaborating with Influencers and bloggers will increase exposure of your brand to students and allow you to easily access your target demographic directly and likely, at a much lower fee than with more well known press.

Need more convincing?

There are heaps of other perks of advertising through student lead media.

Reaching out to student bloggers and social media influences to run campaigns will also allow your brand to stay up to date with what students are looking for from a fashion perspective but also utilize a fresh audience that you might not otherwise have access to. Giving bloggers the chance to run competitions with your items will give them better online visibility as well legitimizing your products for a student audience. Here are the many benefits of working with social media influencers.

Interested in other ways of marketing to student and millennial audiences? Check out our Playbook or get involved with the UK’s largest freshers events.


Student and Millennial Marketing Strategies

Why Event Marketing Is A Smart Choice For Winning Student Customers

Ever wondered why so many of the world’s most powerful brands spend their time and budget engaging with students through event marketing.

The answer is simple.

Students have tremendous buying power and will be more influential on the future of your brand than any other generation.

But that’s not all…

The Profit Power of the Student Audience

  • There are almost 5 million students in the UK (UCAS). More importantly however…
  • They have an annual spending power set to top £30bn per annum (UCAS). Imagine capturing your share of this market, what could that mean to your bottom line?
  • 42% of Millennials are interested in helping companies develop future products or services. (Forbes x Elite Daily). This audience are currently making or breaking brands and will be the driving force behind success or failure of companies in the future.
  • 60% are often or always loyal to brands that they currently purchase from. (Forbes x Elite Daily). Entice a customer in their late teens or early twenties? Think of the lifetime value of that individual.

Students and millennials pack some serious punch. They have cash to spend, share your brand with their friends on social media and are fiercely loyal customers.

You can get a full lowdown on the power of the market through our infographic.

Event Marketing to Students and Millennials

So you’re probably beginning to wonder how you can win more Millennial or student customers for your business, right?

Here’s the good news: it’s actually not that difficult.

Last year we attracted 10,409 Millennials (aged 17-24) to our live event in Glasgow…

…And if we can do it, then so can you. 

How? We use these F2F marketing techniques, that when perfected, can double or triple your profit margins overnight.

Don’t worry. This isn’t another cringe worthy “how to article” or fluff piece to seduce search engines; this is a REAL tested and proven tutorial that attracts students Millennials to your business.

Sound good to you? Great! Let’s get started.

So What is F2F?

Huge changes in tech and available media channels will have inevitably changed the way you speak to your potential customers.

Regardless of the power of digital in the marketing mix, huge power still exists in connection on a personal, one-to-one level.

By talking to someone face to face (F2F), or through event marketing, you can show them who you are and what your brands stands for. You can also gauge their response and alleviate any objections immediately.

Rob Murphy, CMO of MC2 said “face-to-face engagement creates a personal connection and builds trust between a company and its target audience.”

So it’s about building deep and long lasting relationships through the ability to give your brand a real personality.

Let me give you an example. In 2016 we wanted to know more about our audiences’ living situation – did they live in Student Halls, at home with parents, in private rented property etc.?

We sent out an email to 18,022 relevant students on our database to ask a single multiple choice question. 5843 opened the email and 1603 responded, a 8.9% click through response rate. Pretty decent and well above industry average for questionnaires.

We then decided to ask the same question to those who were attending the Freshers Festival that year.

We had a quick chat with each student (or the group they came in), asked them if they would mind answering the question and handed them a tablet to do so if they wished. From this process we received 6771 responses, a 60%+ reply rate.

By asking face to face we were able to build rapport and give a reason as to why we were asking the question (check out Ellen Langer’s famous 1978 experiment on why that happens here). However, the fact remains, the level of feedback we got from asking in person (60%+) isn’t likely through any other channel including email and social media.

How To Master Face to Face and Event Marketing to Students

There are four simple steps to create successful Student and Millennial face to face campaigns (in fact these steps apply to face to face campaigns for any audience).

Set Your Event Marketing Objectives

Our Playbook on Face to Face Marketing goes into deep detail on how to do this (including a shiny worksheet, exciting right?) but in essence it’s simple planning.

We ask the following five questions each and every time we launch a face to face campaign whether it be a small single on-campus event or a massive multi venue Festival. By answering these questions you can build out a robust marketing plan:

  1. What would success look like post-event? Start with the end goal in mind, what do you want your campaign to achieve?
  2. How would you know that you’ve achieved this? Have clear targets and KPIs which can be measured by management and the team on the ground.
  3. To achieve this, what messages will you have communicated? What will your team be saying to those they interact with?
  4. Which tactics will help you communicate those messages effectively? What is your Call to Action and how can you maximise the number of people taking action? Are you signing up customers to a landing page, asking them to Like your Page or driving purchase intent through voucher codes?
  5. What do you need to deliver your campaign? Do you have the team and tools needed to deliver those core messages? Are your staff briefed? Do they understand their targets?

Finally while not a planning question always remember – you’re creating an event, so put on a show

Create an Engaging Story But Stay True To Your Brand

We often find that brands think they have to change their messaging to target the student and Millennial audience. On the contrary, what we see is that the brands who remain consistent, true to their values and avoid the cliché marketing tactics synonymous with student and Millennial marketing efforts, reap the rewards.

Focus your time and energy on thinking creatively and creating engaging key messages not changing your whole brand strategy.

Hire Great Brand Ambassadors – Your People Can Make Or Break It

Time and budget investment is needed for any face to face campaign so make sure that you spend enough time on creating the perfect team to deliver your activity and achieve the results you need.

You can have the most appealing brand campaign but if your team aren’t engaging, your target customers will walk away. Make sure your team are passionate and educated on your brand.

To help with this we have created a post on how to create a great brand ambassador team but in short the key points are:

  • Define Your Vision. Your Brand Ambassadors also need to buy into the campaign to deliver. Plan, set your goals and set objectives clearly.
  • Hire Well. Always be on the look out for great team members for your Brand Ambassador teams or hire through a trusted and experienced Agency.
  • Don’t Pay Peanuts. You are investing your time and budget into face to face campaigns so don’t fall at the last hurdle by attracting the wrong team through a poorly thought out pay structure. Like any form of marketing, you get what you pay for.
  • Make Use of Internal Incentives. Do your team have a motivation to go above and beyond. Can your brand offer products or experiences which incentivise your team to go that extra mile without it taking away from your valuable marketing budget?
  • Educate Your Team. They need to know who you are as a brand, what you stand for and what you’re trying to communicate through the campaign. Knowledge is power.
  • Tap into your team. Quite often your brand ambassadors will be your target market so ask them what they think about your product, your campaign, your incentives and Calls to Action. You have free feedback on tap so why not take advantage of it.


Influence the Influencers

Working with key Influencers is paramount in us creating engaging and successful face to face campaigns.

This is the type of Influencer that pre-dates Social Media. For us great Influencers include the likes of Student Accommodations, University Unions and the Academic Institutions themselves.

So think about who has access to your market. Who has an email database that would create the perfect invite list for your events?

Then work out what you can do to offer more value to them than they can offer you.

We work with a lot of Student Accommodation providers so have long standing, strong relationships with them but our goal is always to work out what we can bring to the table that would create a great experience for their students and add value to their service.

This year that will include “Move In Days” where our Brand Ambassadors will be at the properties on the days when students move in to their room. We help them carry their gear, answer questions they might have about the city, tell them the best places to go and of course inform them about the Freshers Festivals.

Everyone wins. The property managers offer a valuable service to students, students get help and a friendly face on a stressful and often scary day and we get to engage with thousands of new students.

There can be a lot to think about when creating a great face to face or event marketing campaign but get it right and it’s an extremely rewarding component to the marketing mix. Get it right and your customers will not just love you for the moment but for a long, long time.

Make sure to download our Playbook to help master Face to Face and Event Marketing to students, and if we can help you plan your events or if you need someone to take the weight of booking your on-campus campaigns, be sure to let us know.

Of course we’d love to see you at the London and Glasgow Freshers Festivals, the UK’s largest student and Millennial exhibitions so get in touch for more info.

Student and Millennial Marketing Strategies

Social Media Marketing For Millennials

With Generation Z an increasingly popular buzzword, people are forgetting about social media marketing to millenials. As part of the digital generation, millennials engage the most with brands through online and social media activity.

So unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll recognize the impact of social media in our day-to-day lives, and how it influences our perspectives and experiences.

But how do we utilize the value of social media marketing for our business?

It’s simple, really.

You have to create an effective strategy and understand the social media habits of the millennial demographic.

With the right strategy in place, social media marketing for millennials will build an audience, create a trustworthy brand and lead to the generation of more sales.

The Freshers Marketing Report by The Beans Group showed that 33% of students say they spend more than 20 hours a week online while at university, while Hubspot claims that 84% of millennials do not trust traditional advertising.

Elite Daily also discovered that 62% of millennials say that if a brand engages with them on social networks they are more likely to become a loyal customer, and 58% of millennials expect brands to publish content online, wanting to see that content rank authenticity before making a purchase.

And since the profit power of student and millennial audiences is astronomical, with 2.27 million students studying at UK Higher Education Institutes and a further 2.7 million studying in further education, with a combined total of £30 BILLION per year spending power (UCAS) – there’s big bucks to be made from using social media to reach millennial audiences.

Check out our handy infographic explaining the power and statistics of student spending.

Sharing over a decade of experience marketing to millennials successfully (having attracted 10,409 Millennials (aged 17-24) to our live event in Glasgow last year, with aim this year being to dominate London) we’ve calculated the do’s and don’ts of social media marketing for millennials. You’re welcome!


Do Make the Most of Snapchat & Instagram Stories

Though Facebook and Twitter are still popular platforms for millennials, and should definitely be used to engage with those audiences, it’s Snapchat and Instagram that are favoured by this young demographic.

New statistics by the Pew Research Centre find that 68% of millennials are on Facebook, while only 45% are on Twitter. In comparison, a massive 78% of 18-24 year olds are on Snapchat and 71% are on Instagram.

There are heaps of opportunities for marketers on these platforms, from placing video ads within live stories to taking advantage of Snapchat’s Discover platform, where media companies have their own channels.

You can also go for sponsored geofilters, which allow brands to target users based on location, giving them branded filters to put over their images. For example, last year Taco Bell’s Cinco De Mayo filter found huge success on Snapchat, being viewed more than 224 million times. Its filter transformed the face of the user into a taco covered in sauce, and this campaign became the most effective in the app’s history.

Instagram also makes the most of the appeal of visual content online, and Instagram stories have the advantage of short, concise snippets of content that you can create on-the-go, and since it expires after 24 hours, it doesn’t need to be ‘perfect’, and in fact, the more candid and authentic the content is the more likely it’ll receive millennial engagement.


Don’t Forget To Find Ways to Collaborate

Millennials value personalization and sincere, authentic experiences with brands. We are living in the age of authenticity – and what’s the best way to deliver candid content? By collaborating directly with your target demographic.

According to HubSpot, 42% of millennial consumers state that they want to help companies develop future products and services, coinciding with the experience economy driven by young people and the idea that millennials value experiences over things.

Creating user generated content will provide an authentic, personalised dimension to your brand that benefits both you and your followers.

Personalization matters, something that Tom McGee in Forbes summarizes, “Millennials want a customer-centric experience in which they feel wanted and valued”.

Reach out to your audience and offer them products or services for a free trial period in exchange for their stories, opinions or photos to use on social media. The fact that millennials are open to this type of collaboration will increase your sales and brand engagement since 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.


Do Focus on Quality Over Quantity

Since we know already that millennials prefer experiences over ‘stuff’, it probably won’t come as a surprise to hear that this demographic are more interested in high-quality content over being bombarded with a massive quantity of posts that’ll just get lost or ignored in the feed.

According to Harvard Business Review, when it comes to online marketing, 74% of millennials get frustrated by overly frequent marketing communications, and prefer fewer communications that are more relevant.

In fact, the same review shows that 70% of millennials are happy with brands tracking their consumer behaviour, going hand-in-hand with the idea that less frequent, tailored content will be more effective in brand engagement and the potential of sales and conversions.


Do Create Effective Video Content

Though digital and text-based stories that showcase your brand personality and culture, such as blogs, are crucial to a robust content marketing strategy, high quality, effective video content will also reel in millennial customers and grow your brand awareness and sales.

But where’s the evidence?

Well, millennials are more interested in choosing online video content than they are watching TV, since according to Cisco, 80% of all consumer internet traffic by 2020 will be from online videos, making video a sure-fire way of getting your brand noticed for the right reasons. Video content that provokes an emotional reaction will form a connection between you and your demographic. Adweek revealed that comedic video ads resulted in a 50% increase in brand familiarity.

PLUS, millennials with businesses who market to their peers, according to in-depth research by Magisto, prioritize video content as a means of reaching their demographic, with 85% using video in their marketing strategy 45% dedicated more than one quarter of their budget to it.


Find out more about our London and Glasgow Freshers Festival events and our philosophy of student and Millennial event marketing here.

Festival Blog Student and Millennial Marketing Strategies Uncategorized

Freshers Festival’s Top 5 moments to look forward to at YMS19 LDN.

There are less than 2 weeks to go until the world’s largest youth marketing festival returns to The Old Truman Brewery! This April, the Freshers Festival team will be exhibiting in Zone T5 at stand 96. In honour of our stand position in T5 we bring you our Top 5 moments to look forward to at YMS19 LDN.

  1. Voxburner’s Youth Trends Report 2019

Voxburner will be launching their biggest annual research piece, the Youth Trends Report which is a 40-page guide to the emerging trends that are impacting the lives of young people today. It features the results of their survey which asked 1500 16-24 year olds from the UK a number of questions, plus the insights of a selection of expert and youth contributors from the Voxburner community.

Some of the questions you can expect to be answered are:

  • What are the top 10 brands 16-24s are most passionate about in 2019?
  • How can marketers inspire young people to become brand advocates?
  • Are Generation Z really more sensible than previous generations?

Every attendee will receive a complimentary copy of the Youth Trends Report on arrival at YMS, so make sure you register today!

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  1. Popping Your ‘Festival Cherry’ – Festivals Through the Eyes of Gen Z

YMS19 LDN promises to be the place where attendees can discover the latest trends, youth perspectives and brand case studies. Their agenda is jam-packed with inspiring speakers and experts. One particular talk that we are looking forward to is by Ricky Oscroft from Global – The Media and Entertainment Group where he discusses how brands can use the festival space to have a dialogue with Gen Z about what they chose to feature on their social feed and in their conversations; what essentially – matters.

Nearly 50% of 16-24 year olds have attended a live music event in the last 12 months – many engaging with brands across festival sites and venues. Brands, led by Marketing Directors with an average age of 42. Ricky asks, in an age where Generation Z is significantly different now than any other youth tribe before them, do we really know what’s going on in the heads of today’s young people?

If this floats your boat, catch Ricky on stage at YMS19 LDN on Tuesday 16th April from 4:15pm.

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  1. How to Attract, Engage and Retain Students with Marketing Automation

We have a passion for all things related to Higher Education here at the Freshers Festival Group and not just because we host the UK’s largest student events. We have also been working closely with the Expede Group to launch YADA Campus, a self-service management and social collaboration platform that is designed to engage students, empower teachers and assist universities.

When we saw that Ireneusz Klimczak from GetResponse will be discussing how adding marketing automation to the mix can help Universities meet their marketing department’s goals we knew that we had to add it to the diary.

Catch Ireneusz on Tuesday 16th from 12.40pm at The Higher Education Marketing Stream hosted by SMRS.

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  1. YMS Networking Drinks

We love a good party and opportunity to let our hair down – luckily YMS19 LDN are on hand to help! There will be a networking event hosted at the fabulous Juju’s Bar & Stage opposite the Truman Brewery on Tuesday 16th from 6-8pm. This will allow the delegates to mingle and chat about what they are looking forward to most on the next day’s agenda.

If you are looking for an afterparty on the 17th, Juju’s will be hosting their Brazilian Nights with cocktail deals, live music, dancing and more!

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  1. Edible Bubbles at the Freshers Festival Stand

Join us for fun, games at competitions at our stand in Zone T5! We will be revealing our Secret Garden Tour that will be taking us across the UK this September and demonstrating our vending machines that will be appearing in Campuses from London to Glasgow.

We will also be fully equipped with our edible bubble guns, so POP by to stand 96 for a little bit of fun!

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If you are attending YMS19 LDN and would like to book a meeting with us to find out more, then please do not hesitate to get in touch with Graeme Barratt at [email protected]. You can also find out more about the Freshers Festival at

Student and Millennial Marketing Strategies

How student ambassador programmes can boost your brand

Who are student ambassadors?

Student ambassadors are current students who link universities with the wider community. Using their local knowledge, bubbly personalities and connections, student ambassadors are often a friendly face around campus who help students ease into university life.

As 84% of us are more likely to trust recommendations from family and friends over traditional advertising, brands who want to access the £20 billion student market could benefit from using the familiar presence of student reps to promote their brand on and off campus.

Student ambassador programmes

If you want to get students on board, a student ambassador programme can give your company the leverage it needs to reach students directly.

Uber took this opportunity in 2014 with their UK student ambassador programme. To get more students using their app, Uber recruited students to plan promotional events, partner with key organisations across campus and liaise with Uber HQ to drive new sign ups. In return, student reps were paid, given Uber credit, VIP access to events and other perks.

Another example is Red Bull, who also launched their own student marketeer programme where recruits were tasked with delivering tailor-made sales and marketing strategies to attract students in their local area.

Student ambassador programmes can revamp your brand while allowing you to access a wider student customer base. For students, it gives them the chance to boost their CV and earn some money while they’re at it.  

If your company can’t afford to pay students, but still wish to use ambassadors to attract a younger audience, then there are plenty of other ways to reward hard working student ambassadors. You can offer ambassadors perks such as CV reviews, company discounts at selected brands, vouchers, job interview training and anything else you can think of which could add value to their time spent with you.

So if you’re thinking of new ways to attract the student market, consider the benefits of working with the people who know students the best — other students.

If your brand is looking for ways to engage with students in 2020 be sure to check out our extensive guide to student marketing.

Photo from Raptor London
Student and Millennial Marketing Strategies

6 tips to boost ticket sales at your next event

Use referral marketing

Have you ever tried out a new restaurant, film or beauty product because a family or friend tried it, liked it and recommended it? That’s because 84% of us are more likely to trust recommendations from people we know.

Word of mouth marketing, or referral marketing remains a powerful marketing tool for many event organisers. Eventbrite’s 2018 Pulse Report noted that event organisers still count word-of-mouth as the third most effective way to promote events, after free social media and email.

You can make referrals work for your event by incentivising people to tell their friends and family about your event. An example is Web Summit, an annual tech conference who sold out all 25,000 of their Women in Tech tickets this year. All customers had to do was refer at least two friends using a unique link in order to get two for one tickets for the conference.

If your event has a sponsor, you could negotiate with them to offer freebies, discounts or vouchers for sponsored goods as a reward to customers for referring people. There are several different ways to incentivise referrals, so get creative and explore the different options!

Influencer Opinions

Influencer’s aren’t just great for brands, but for event organisers too. Partnering with influencers whose followers are your target audience is another way to boost ticket sales for your event.

For instance, if you’re selling tickets for a food festival, a good idea is partner with a popular food blogger or vlogger and get them to spread the word about the event to their followers via their channels. Your influencer could then offer their viewers discounted tickets using a promo code.

Media Publications

Online social guides are popular ways to reach thousands of potential attendees. Sections like ‘What’s On’ and weekend event listing tend to generate thousands of impressions from all sorts of viewers and is often an effective way to get your event on the radar.

Certain online event guides like Time Out, Secret London and The Nudge are useful for getting your event in front of a specific audience like young trendy Londoners, while DesignMyNight are great for promoting night time events and so on. There are plenty of online guides out there that can cater to your target audience, so shop around.

Introduce multiple ticket tiers

Sometimes general admission tickets just don’t cut it. Depending on your type of event, you could have general admission, VIP, early bird, student, member, family, multi admission, seating, standing…the list goes on!

A multi-tiered ticket model is especially useful if your event is offering something extra special. If you’ve teamed up with a sponsor for instance to create a special hospitality, a VIP section, after party or experiential product, then you’ll benefit from creating a different ticket with a higher price. Promoting any extra special features of your event will help to get people talking and create a sense of urgency. People will feel like they have to go in order to experience it, and will be more keen to buy special tickets.


Utilise your most popular channel, and explore new ones

This is an obvious one, however revisiting your most effective channel for ticket sales  — whether it’s social media, paid advertising, e-newsletters or another option, is key to reaching the right audience and driving those ticket sales.

Think about how you can maximise these channels. For example, posting on social media twice a day instead of once, sending out weekly instead of monthly e-newsletters in the weeks leading up to your event and so on. But be careful not to spam your potential attendees with too much content, as this could lose you some ticket sales!

Don’t be afraid to explore other channels too. Instagram is often underused by many brands, and targeted paid social media is still very effective in converting impressions to sales for event organisers. SEO can also serve as an option for getting the word out about your event, so be sure to optimise it across your existing channels.


Team up with sponsors and partners

Event sponsors and partners can be incredibly useful for driving ticket sales, especially of they have a large customer base that you could reach. Your sponsors could agree to co-promote by spreading the word about your event via their channels in exchange for brand promotion across your channels. This is often a win-win situation and is often a more cost effective way to boost ticket sales without paying for expensive ads.

Student and Millennial Marketing Strategies

Get creative! 10 ways to boost engagement at events

Live events are becoming increasingly interactive. Gone are the days of simply pitching up a stall and handing out flyers or branded products to passerbys. Instead, event organisers are looking for new and unique ways for brands to engage with attendees. Guests are more likely to remember your brand when you offer them an experience or something that adds value to their time. So here are a few creative ways to engage attendees at your next event.

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Provide a phone charging station

No one wants their phone to run out of battery while out and about. You can help attendees out by proving a charging station at your booth. A charging station will not only save attendees from having to run out to buy a charger or frantically search for the nearest socket, but it will also increase foot traffic to your booth and guests will stay longer at your station. You can also choose a customisable kiosk charging station to showcase your company branding with logos, hashtags, QR codes or wrap around displays if you’d like.

Sponsor the event goodie bags

Attendees receive loads of freebies at live events, from gadgets to free food, drinks, stationery, marketing materials and more. You can give attendees somewhere to stash all their free swag by sponsoring the goodie bags for the event. Choosing an eco-friendly material for your swag bags like organic cotton or sustainable paper bags is also a great way to align your brand with a socially responsible cause.


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Create a games area 

Deep down, we’re all big kids at heart. Everyone loves to get stuck into a good game, so why not provide attendees a space to release their inner child and unwind by creating a play zone. There are tons of great igame ideas to get attendees in the spirit, from giant ball pits to giant Jenga, bottle ring tosses, tug of war and much more. Customise these with your company branding and attendees will remember you as the brand that bought fun and laughter to the event

Create a QR Code scavenger hunt

A scavenger hunt is the perfect way to introduce a fun element into an event while offering attendees a chance to learn more about your brand. For instance, you could get attendees to find answers to specific questions related to your company by scanning QR Codes around the venue that offer clues. The person with the most questions answered correctly could then head back to your booth for a special prize.

Show off your services

Does your company offer beauty treatments? Perhaps you offer craft workshops, mindfulness sessions, or photo printing? Whatever your service is, you can show it off to attendees by inviting them to experience what you offer at the event. Your brand will have a greater lasting impact on attendees if they leave the event with a special service that you offered to to them — whether it’s a free haircut, a newly fixed phone screen or henna tattoo —  the list goes on. You might even make a new customer.

Power the event with WiFi

Oh, WiFi. Life is almost unimaginable without it now. As so many of our modern gadgets (and modern live events) depend on it now, providing good quality WiFi for a live event is invaluable. You’ll essentially be powering the very life of en event, allowing attendees and brands alike to share photos, videos, websites, links and other important pieces of information that keeps a live event running. When users connect to your sponsored WiFi, you can use this as an opportunity to promote your brand with a splash page or an invitation for guests to follow you on social media.

Host a craft area

Leave your attendees with a long lasting reminder of what you do by giving them something to create and take home with them. Attendees are more likely to give you a shout out on social media if they can decorate or create something that will be a talking point among their friends. For instance, if your company sells makeup or perfume, you could invite attendees to create their own customisable makeup palette or fragrance. A great way to boost social media engagement is to encourage attendees to create visually stunning images with what they’ve made and share it while tagging you in. You can offer a special prize to the best photo to really get your attendees involved.

Sponsor a live stream

Of course, not everyone will be able to join the event. You can do them a big favour by providing a live streaming (or live tweeting) service to keep those in the loop who couldn’t make it. You’ll be popular among those who were experiencing FOMO and they definitely appreciate you thinking of them. Do make sure beforehand to make sure that your live streaming service is running smoothly, as you want to leave the best possible impression for those watching.

Give back

If your company supports a charity or good cause, then a live event is the perfect opportunity to connect with attendees over something positive. You can encourage attendees to get involved in a hassle free way by having a drop off centre at your stall where they can donate gifts like books, clothes, toys, toiletries, dry or canned goods or a monetary donation. Add a fun element too by hosting a raffle and donating the proceeds to your chosen charity. Your attendees will feel good about helping a good cause, and it will also boost your charitable status.

Connect everyone with an events app

Attendee engagement is a key goal for any event planner, hence the rising popularity of event apps in recent years. According to a study by Guidebook, 88% of event professionals found event apps to have a positive impact on attendee satisfaction. 86% of attendees also rated an event app among the top 3 enjoyable aspects of an event they attended.

When done right, event apps can be a great addition to any live event. They can provide a main source for interaction and a shared experience among guests. Event apps like YADA that offer a social element for guests to communicate, network and integrate with their social media accounts are great for creating a buzz at any event.


Student and Millennial Marketing Strategies

How Local and Chain Restaurants Can Successfully Market To Students

Millennials, the soon-to-be largest living generation, are on track this year to have more spending power than baby boomers, according to analysts at Bernstein, and are currently forking out £30 billion each year in the UK according to UCAS (that’s roughly £13,000 per student, per academic year).

And if that doesn’t pique your interest enough, Bernstein also revealed that millennials eat the highest share of their meals in restaurants compared to previous generations – which is amazing news for those with businesses in the hospitality industry (avocado toast, anyone?).

Research by also shows that 44.47% of millennials have a shot every week as part of their going out rituals as well as spending an average of £5.08 on spirits, £4.25 on cocktails and £3.62 on ciders per drinker per week. Get the full lowdown of the power of the market through our infographic.

So since we know that students and millennials are definitely keen to spend their cash eating and drinking out, you may be asking yourself:

How do I attract this massive market to my restaurant? What can make me stand out from the crowd?

After over a decade working with the UK’s top restaurants, both local and chain, including Papa John’s and Yo! Sushi, and welcoming a whopping 10,409 students to our live event in Glasgow last year (with London in the calendar for 2018), we’re experts when it comes to attracting students to your food and drinks business.

Read our tips and tricks below on how to market your local or chain restaurant to students, grow a loyal millennial customer base, and reel in some serious cash.


Establish and Nurture A Social Media Presence

According to Forbes, 62% of millennials say that if a brand engages with them on social networks, they are more likely to become a loyal customer, PLUS research by Zizzi found that 18-35-year-olds spend five whole days a year scrolling through images of delicious nosh on Instagram, with 30 per cent saying they would avoid a restaurant if their Instagram game wasn’t up to scratch. “All my friends check out a restaurant’s Instagram page to see what we want when we go out for a meal,” 23-year-old Londoner Georgie told The Independent.

Social media will therefore hugely influence perceptions of your brand, especially if you are in the food and drink business, with Instagram being the number one platform that students and millennials utilise to determine the validity of a restaurant. And since students and millennials are the most tech-savvy generation, with 87% of millennials using between two and three tech devices at least once on a daily basis, you’d be bonkers not to take advantage of this massive and growing online market.

Looking for some ideas? Check out these 10 examples of awesome restaurant social media marketing by Toast.


Integrate Technology Into The Dining Experience

LivePerson found that 65% of millennials and Generation Z interact with each other digitally more than they do in the real world, with UK stats at 74.4%.

Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of the NRA’s Research & Knowledge Group says, “It’s well known that younger consumers are more likely to accept and even request technology options being part of their dining experience”.

Integrating loyalty and rewards programs into apps and other technology options will therefore appeal to millennial audiences, and research by Bernstein also shows that technologies like mobile ordering and delivery apps are playing a key role to make eating more convenient for millennials.

Also, since young people are more health conscious than previous generations, if you offer nutritional information for menu items, consider adding it to smartphone apps and as a optimised page on your website.


Reach Out to Local Student Bodies

Academic research suggests that word-of-mouth communication is vital to students and massively influences their purchasing decisions. Interacting online and creating engagement for your business, while absolutely crucial, is more effective when applied hand in hand with some aspects of traditional face-to-face marketing.

Leafleting to local universities and colleges or offering discounts to students that bring their ID’s is a sure fire means of spreading positive messages about your business and increasing both regular footfall and loyal millennial customers.

The evidence? According to Forbes, 60% of millennials said they are loyal to a brand especially if they have built a relationship with them through positive experiences. The experience economy is being lead by students and millennials, so any measures you can take to interact directly, whether that’s by hosting student-friendly events, offering discounts on spaces for student groups to hold their own, or collaborating with students to create new products or services, since Forbes’ research shows that 42% said millennials are interested in helping companies develop future products and services – will definitely pay off.


Appeal To Student & Millennial Attitudes

You won’t be able to successfully establish a loyal and growing student customer base if you don’t know how their minds work, what their ethics are and what they think of global and local eating.

Be transparent when it comes to where your food is sourced, its nutritional value and your options for non-alcoholic drinks. According to a trends report by The Snack Hack, students and millennials are becoming more health conscious as well as mindful with their drinking, with a survey from Eventbrite revealing that 42% of millennials say they’re drinking less alcohol than they were three years ago. The experience economy of students and millennials also points the hospitality industry in the direction of value and quality over quantity, especially when it comes to drinking.

The vegan food industry was valued at £3.5 billion last year and there’s been heaps of demand for alternative products like nut milk yogurt, proving that perceptions of the food industry are changing. New stats from Kantar Worldwide show that 16-24-year-olds are spending +111% more on halloumi than the average person and +110% on Mexican food, as well as +105% more on dips like hummus, guac and salsa.

Bearing this in mind, you can tailor your menus and offerings to attract student and millennial audiences, including health lunch promos, craft drinks and mocktails.

Find out more about our London and Glasgow Freshers Festival events and our philosophy of student and Millennial event marketing here.



Student and Millennial Marketing Strategies

Top 5 Student Marketing Tips For Clubs & Bars

Keen to understand the student and millennial market and how it can help further the growth of your nightclub or bar business?

You’ve come to the right place.

Take advantage of a massive and growing millennial market (one of the largest generations in history) by delving into the minds of students and their nightlife habits and converting their interests into a hefty profit.

The Power of Student Spending

So how do students spend their money when out in pubs and clubs?

Research by shows that 44.47% of millennials have a shot every week as part of their going out rituals as well as spending an average of £5.08 on spirits, £4.25 on cocktails and £3.62 on ciders per drinker per week. Check out our handy infographic explaining the power and statistics of student spending.

And since there is a whopping 2.27 million students are studying at Higher Education Institutes in the UK with a further 2.7 million studying in further education, you don’t need to be a mathematician to realise that those numbers are capable of producing a pretty gargantuan chunk of change.

BUT, you won’t appeal to students and millennials unless you’re privy to the right marketing techniques for your club, bar or business.

That’s where we come in.

Check out our student marketing guide for clubs and bars below, to help you navigate the competitive realms of student nightlife, and succeed with this loyal yet elusive demographic.


Provide Experiences Through F2F & Event Marketing

Having attracted 10,409 millennials (aged 17-24) to our last Freshers Festival and garnered over a decade’s knowledge of experiential marketing with some of the best clubs and pubs in the UK including Revolution Bars and Academy Music Group, we understand how face-to face (F2F) and event marketing will engage, grow and retain student markets for your business.

Not convinced? The experience economy has reared its head in recent years and studies, including those conducted by financial experts The Motley Fool, show that millennials prefer experiences over ownership as well as staying in over going out.

That means when they do go out they’re looking for something out of the ordinary, like themed nights with themed drinks (according to Mintel, 49% of millennials say trying out new drinks is the number one reason to go out as opposed to staying in) or screenings and pub quizzes that revolve around much-loved movies and TV shows ( claims that 70.8% of millennials are subscribed to streaming service, and a study by Taylor Nelson Sofres, a consumer research agency, found that, on average, millennials stream 2.7 hours of TV shows a day).

This personal, one-to-one experiential marketing provides positive connections between brands and their customers. Murphy, CMO of MC2 says, “face-to-face engagement creates a personal connection and builds trust between a company and its target audience.”


Never Under Estimate The Value of Promos

According to research commissioned by Pro Plus, millennials spend an average of £27.14 a week going out, which although at first glance doesn’t seem much, last year’s surveys by Deloitte confirmed that “spending in the UK leisure sector, including eating and drinking out, was driven by millennials aged 18-34”. That means competitive pricing is massively important when attracting student and millennial markets to your club or bar.

And since we’ve established that experiences and new drinks appeal to this demographic, though it may seem like a no-brainer, offering drinks or food promos is a fool proof marketing technique, especially if you are offering drinks exclusive to your club or bar, and your offers vary week to week.


Offer A Personal Service 

Customization and personal marketing have proven to be favoured by millennials – which isn’t surprising considering most contemporary consumables can be personalised to individual tastes and interests, whether selecting add-ons or toppings through the click of a screen from a local take outs, or streaming preferred music on Spotify or Youtube at home or in an Uber.

Last year’s report by youth marketing tracker Ypulse says, “the days of one-size-fits-all are numbered and customization is being taken to the next level”, as well as the fact that three-quarters of consumers ages 13 to 34 are interested in purchasing products tailored to their tastes.

Depending on the nature of your bar or club, the opportunities for personalised marketing for students is endless, from apps that let customers pick the music on the sound system to create-your-own cocktails or customised discount cards for regulars.


Engage Through Digital Platforms

Not so social media savvy? Make sure you have someone in your business who is.’s surveys found that 77.4% of millennials are actively on their phone after dark and research by Pro Plus discovered that almost a quarter of millennials (22 per cent) said selfie-taking was a key component of a night out. Nightlife marketing expert Mark Borkowski says, “social capital is bragging about your experiences and putting them on Instagram or Facebook and the local nightclub is struggling to cut it”.

Elite Daily also discovered that 62% of millennials say that if a brand engages with them on social networks, they are more likely to become a loyal customer

So whether you advertise a hashtag for an event night, run online competitions or use social channels as a marketing tool, engaging with student and millennial markets through social channels, apps and other forms of digital media as well as developing the visual identity of your bar or club to appeal to Instagrammers will immediately spark the interest of this demographic, increase your footfall and attract new customers.


Get The Opinion Of Your Demographic  

Not sure whether your new bar snacks, band showcase or branding appeals to students and millennials? The only way to find out if they do is to ask them.

Setting aside a budget for market research will help you understand your audience and what experiences matter most to them. Getting the opinion of your demographic is crucial to building your brand identity and messages and what you offer to your consumer.

If you’re a bigger business with the budget to spend on market research – great – but remember to offer the right incentives for students and millennials for taking part. That could be vouchers, prizes or cold hard cash. If you’re a smaller business, you don’t need to fork out thousands for good market research, even conducted polls on social media will help you determine what your audience does and does not like, and that doesn’t cost a penny.

Find out more about our London and Glasgow Freshers Festival events and our philosophy of student and Millennial event marketing here.