What March Madness Brackets Taught Me About On Campus Marketing

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It’s that time of year again! Time to review the March Madness brackets I created and see what went wrong.  Each year I try another strategy to win, and every year my bracket is busted soon after the early rounds.   One year I copied the exact same picks as Dick Vitale. No luck.  One year I copied all the picks of President Obama. No Luck. I’ve taken advice online, I’ve used stats, I have fallen back on what I’ve always done.  Just like in years past, I have busted in the first round. Michigan state broke my bracket this year.  

We often see our college marketing clients approach their campus advertising strategy in the same way.

Just like basketball fans, brands face the overwhelming number of choices and variables at play in selecting the right schools to target and methods for marketing to them.

Brands can go bust trying to push the wrong leads through a sales funnel by using flawed campus marketing strategies and ideas.  We try to help with a strategy that widens the bottom of the funnel, and brings our client in mid-way through that  funnel in a way that makes sense and drives results.  We call it our mid-funnel strategy.  The lower down the funnel, or closer to the goal that we can start, the more likelihood we'll be successful. We often fall into the same traps with college marketing that we do with our NCAA brackets.

Here are 4 mid-funnel planning tips to keep your college marketing from going bust:

  1. Narrow down your options - Choose college media tactics that will best deliver the type of message you are sharing. Don’t let the cool factor of a new advertising option distract you from using what makes sense. Utilizing fewer campus advertising tactics on fewer campuses gives you the ability to actually manage and track what is working. From there, you can scale.
  2. Don’t over-analyze - There is no shortage of trends and fresh new stats on what college kids want or need in their lives. Take all of it with a grain of salt if it isn’t your own data.  Find a trusted advisor who lives and breathes your strategy and have them help you analyze YOUR metrics and final plan.
  3. Be open minded - Just because you have always done campus marketing a certain way, doesn’t make it right. Picking a few new tools or college marketing tactics that you have never tried gives you the chance to measure and learn along the way. It also gives you a new story to tell.
  4. Don’t be a copycat - Avoid the temptation to follow the hot new idea or copy what another brand did and hope for the same result.  College students appreciate original ideas and will quickly ignore your "me too" strategy leaving you with "been there, done that." 

While there is no really good strategy for your March Madness bracket, there is great strategy for how you win over college students. At Campus Media, we can help you develop a winning strategy. Contact us to learn how, or get started on your planning now by using our campus marketing planning worksheet.