• Samantha Gleason

Marketing to College Students: 3 Brands That Are Doing It Right


Image from https://corporate.target.com/article/2017/07/july-campus-stores

Brands are intertwined into every part of our lives: but how many of these interactions actually get through to the customer? Having grown up surrounded by advertising, college students see right through most marketing strategies.


So how can you gain loyal customers at the college age, and hopefully maintain them for life? Companies like American Eagle, Target, and Spotify have succeeded at this by working to understand and get involved with the college community.


American Eagle Isn't Afraid of Change

American Eagle, 2011 (Picture from: http://textile-hub.blogspot.com/2011/03/)

I remember American Eagle from my middle school days, when graphic tees were all the rage. Since then, styles have changed, and American Eagle has with them.


This willingness to adapt has served them well. As one of the top brands for their customer base, this success wasn't an accident: in this article, the company's Head of Digital explained their strategy.


American Eagle's User-Generated Content Campaign, 2018 (Picture from ae.com)

Overall, their strategy focuses on:

  • incorporating new technology (such as Facebook Messenger bots)

  • engaging with communities online and through product lines (specifically the LGBTQ community)

  • focusing on being an authentic brand


By getting involved with customers and creating a genuine connection with them, you can gain loyal customers.


Target Is Changing the Convenience Game

With a brand that stresses quality more than its competitors (such as Walmart), Target has focused on older audiences in previous years. However, they recently realized the potential of the college consumer.


In an attempt to gain loyalty in this market, Target recently opened a set of new, "mini" stores designed specifically for a college student's needs, including convenient food items, clothing, and school supplies.


Spotify's Student Deal is Too Good to Ignore

Spotify offers a music experience that is extremely customizable. The process of listening to music becomes social, as you can create and share playlists with friends and the online community. However, these great features come at a price.


After reports of students leaving the streaming service, Spotify created a deal perfect for the college budget. Partnering with Hulu and Showtime, this package includes all three services for just $4.99 a month.


In a sea of advertisements, it's difficult to stand out. Gaining an understanding of the college market and getting involved in their lives gives brands the chance to create lasting connections with these customers.

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Samantha Gleason

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