How to Market to Students This Fresher’s Week

By Helen Lang

As September rolls around, young people up and down the country will be heading off to University. As ever, their first taste of student life will be led by fresher’s week, traditionally implemented to orientate students into their new cities and surroundings, but more recently has become known for parties in halls, society socials and cracking student discount opportunities.

So, ahead of the 2019 shenanigans, we’ve put together our top tips for brands to get the most out of freshers and capitalise on exposing their brand and products to a captive audience.

1) Fish in the right ponds

It’s frightening to think that this year’s cohort of freshers were born firmly in the 2000s, so it’s no secret that they’ll be more tech-savvy than ever. That’s why it’s important to consider how you’re going to target your audience to ensure the best exposure.

A well-placed Facebook or Instagram advertisement featuring some tailored, relatable video content targeted to a relevant audience could be game-changing for your brand. Put yourselves in your audience’s shoes and think about their journey. When they navigate their way through their new life; where are they most likely to go to consume news and content? Could you target users in a specific area? What channels will they be using? That’s where your brand needs to be.

2) Consider other channels outside the mainstream socials

Whilst ensuring you’re placing your brand in the right places, you might also want to consider branching out to other channels.

A fantastic example of widening your marketing net comes from Captain Morgan’s rum who set up a Tinder account for its brand. The team gave out free drink recipes and dating tips to anyone who swiped right for them!

This is a great example of inventive brand exposure as the campaign gained huge social media interest and even resulted in press coverage, making it a success all round for the Captain. This also demonstrates the importance of thinking about the cultural interests of your target audience – it isn’t hard to imagine that young people away from home from the first time might fancy dipping their toes in the dating pool, and dating apps are the easiest way to get the ball rolling.

3) Freshers love a freebie

An oldie but goldie – everyone loves a freebie! Students who are now expected to buy their own toilet roll, baked beans and bread can be quite receptive to pretty much any free stuff they can get their hands on. That’s not to say you shouldn’t take careful consideration over what product to give out, however!

Think about what students might actually find useful, and won’t just chuck in the bin once they get back to their halls. To ensure that your investment sees maximum exposure, carefully think about items they might have forgotten that you’d be happy to give away as a freebie, or products that might make their life easier. Anything from bottle openers to selfie lights can come in handy and give your brand great sticking power.

4) Get your money’s worth

While handing out freebies at fresher’s fairs will bring some great exposure, take full advantage while you’re there and do a bit of market research.
Fresher’s fairs are a great chance to collect data and find out as much as you can about your target audience. Nowadays, student life isn’t all about pot noodles and cheap vodka; many of them are into keeping fit and going to the gym, investing in sustainable products and above all, saving money!

So, do a bit of leg work for your next campaign and evaluate how you might like to adjust your strategy based on the results.

5) Maintain contact beyond Fresher’s Week
While fresher’s week is an ideal opportunity to thrust your brand under the noses of thousands of students, it’s important to think beyond this initial orientation period. The ultimate aim for any business is to attract ongoing custom, and so offering an incentive for people to stay loyal is imperative.

Offering student discount codes and loyalty cards is a great way to attract further custom and keep them coming back for more!

Whatever your brand or product, the key takeaway from this is to think outside the box when it comes to your student marketing strategy. It’s important to get inside the mind of your audience and think just like they do.

Unfortunately, the days where a well-edited video on Facebook would do the trick are long gone, and to keep up with the competition, you need to be clever about how you get your brand in front of the younger generation.


Have you spotted any innovative ways that brands are reaching out to students during this time of year? Let us know @nobraineragency

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