Why Event Marketing Is A Smart Choice For Winning Student Customers

Why Event Marketing Is A Smart Choice For Winning Student and Millennial Customers

Content Last Updated on August 6, 2020

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.