The Best Way to Target College Students! Honestly?

While browsing through Capital C's blog I came across this online study conducted by Exact Target and Ball State University. It depicts the most useful types of advertising according to college students. I've always thought that getting insight from one's target market is best, but come on, what is this study good for?
  • Does it really evaluate the usefulness of any of those medium?
  • Isn't there a big f*cking gap between what one perceives to be effective and what is actually effective?
  • Isn't the list representative of the exposure level to each ad medium? TV has forced-upon ads whereas the Internet doesn't.

Now I'm curious, does this have any value to marketers? Did I miss something? I might...


bradmays said...

The thing about these types of surveys is that they only provide part of the story. I like to look at these things in the aggregate - that is, what is the overall theme that's coming through.

For me, this data is affirmation of many of the trends we already know - that advertising and print are losing steam in favor of direct interaction and peer influence on purchasing decisions.

What data also shows, however, is that those traditional mediums are not irrelevant. If you group the categories by traditional and social (including WOM and direct product sampling in that category), then it gives you a better sense, although not detailed, of what a marketing mix might look like when targeting the youth market around higher education.

If I were a marketer of higher ed, I would look at how I could become part of a college-bound peer community and how I could better support "sampling" through college visits, including around specific events. I might shift a larger percentage of my marketing mix to allow my university and brand to get closer to individual prospective students, supported by some of the traditional channels.

The cost of acquisition for an individual student goes up, but their influence on their peer group helps to offset that cost. And, it can be on par with traditional forms of prospect acquisition, I assume.

So, your frustration is warranted, but I think there's relevance in the numbers, depending on how you look at it.

Morgan Coudray said...

You're right, the survey can definitely reinforce (and quantify) insight about a certain medium... which I know is crucial when trying to convince a client to adopt a certain medium.

However, the fact that students feel that TV ads are more effective than newspaper ads still does not allow any advertiser to turn to TV advertising because its such a broad medium, in most cases.

I still feel its quantifing something that does not.
Can you find a survey that finds the real efficiency of each medium?

Thanks for the insight Brad! Appreciate it.