How do you reach out to a group that has more than $250 billion in spending power with $56 billion in discretionary spending? Let’s not forget to mention that 70% of the males and 75% of the females in this group have between 1-3 credit cards. One more thing, this group is a highly influential consumer and its members are often referred to as trendsetters.
As a business, you can’t afford not to reach out to the gold mine that is the college crowd. Fortunately, the best way to penetrate this 18-24 year old age group comes at a very cheap price. Here are some tips for “selling” to the younger generation.
1. Get to know each other. More importantly, listen to them and understand what they want, need and think.
2. Use feel-good, frequent and free grassroots techniques. Get them excitd about your product by letting them taste, feel or use it. Partner with community organizations to build name recognition and trust.
3. Consider refer-a-friend promotions. Peer reviews drive college kids spending habits, so give them a reason to review you.
4. Find online forums and get involved. College kids spend a good chunk of time online, particularly on social media sites. So reach out to them in their environment.
5. Get creative and have fun. The most unique example I found of grassroots marketing was a San Fransisco mission-district restaurant, Casa Sanchez, which offered free lunch for life to anyone who got a tattoo of its Jimmy the Corn Man logo. The restaurant announced the contest with a simple flyer in its window and two local nightclub employees got the tattoos and spread the buzz. According to an AP story, 39 people were willing to be tattooed with the sombrero-wearing mariachi boy riding a blazing corn cob.