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Marketers work to embrace students’ mobile preferences

Students will not closely examine direct mail or thumb through the Sunday cir­cular. These consumers are far more likely to absorb information through a mobile device, whether it’s by accessing the Web or receiving alerts.

According to Student Monitor, a col­lege market research company, nine in 10 incoming students own a mobile device of some kind, and more than 50% say texting is their main source of communicating.

“That demographic is a digital society that has grown up with the Internet,” said Jeff Arbour, SVP of North America at The Hyperfactory. “It is familiar with advanced technology. Mobile is vital to get a brand to those consumers.”

The Hyperfactory has conducted mobile campaigns for several different brands. It recently helped frozen pizza company Toti­no’s marry its brand with the X Games; for example, by incorporating videos of motocross highlights on the Totino’s Web site, and a text message prize sweepstakes where users could win “extreme gear.” These tactics successfully target teens and early 20-somethings, Arbour said, because they do not typically respond to more tradi­tional brand advertising.

“This group gets bombarded with mes­sages daily. You have to cut through clut­ter and get more creative,” he explains. “Rather than just sponsoring an event, you are integrating the brand into it.”

Finding local events online is also a priority for students, and that is the goal of MTVU’s Campus Daily guides — Web-based resources which allow both busi­nesses and students running events to promote themselves to local campuses.

MTVU and Zvents, a local search and ad network, developed the sites for 25 US campuses. Carlo DeMarco, VP of univer­sity relations for MTVU, said that MTVU and Zvents are working on a mobile appli­cation through which the campus guides would interact with smartphones, giving students the ability to get alerts on parties or events they are interested in.

Text messaging is also an effective way to reach students with coupon or promo­tional offers, said Dan Hobin, CEO of G5 Search Marketing. His company ran a campaign for Storquest, a chain of stor­age facilities on the west coast, targeting college students.

A Facebook ad campaign directed pros­pects to a page on the company’s site from which they could either print a coupon or have it texted to a mobile phone. Most took advantage of the mobile coupon.

“[Storquest] told us it rented more units to college kids than ever,” Hobin said.

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