RynoT, Atlanta, is offering a host of opportunities for catalog companies trying to reach the college market.
The company, which was founded as a compilation catalog bringing products from other mail-order companies to college dorm rooms across the country, has branched into consulting with the launch of its Campus Advantage service.
RynoT has set up alliances with hundreds of college outlets ranging from college newspapers to sampling kit programs and “posturing” programs that create promotional posters and distribute them through insertion in school papers and displays on bulletin boards and kiosks.
The Campus Advantage service was set up to accommodate catalogers who had expressed interest in the RynoT catalog but thought it was not a perfect fit for their business.
“We heard from a lot of people who were interested in the catalog but said its direct goal was not what they were looking for,” said Thomas J. Howard, one of the founders of the company. “The college landscape is vast, and many companies initially want to find out if it holds promise.”
Through Campus Advantage, catalogers can not only tap into RynoT's relationships with the different college marketing distribution channels, but also can receive market research, including demographic profiles of college audiences that would be most receptive to a company's products.
Catalog Advantage is equipped to select colleges and universities where the desired audience can be found, make recommendations on what products would be most appropriate and create advertising slogans targeted toward students.
Catalogers can receive surveys and concept tests as well as run promotional or branding campaigns. Catalogers can use the service to market a single product or their entire brand.
“For a project-based fee we will learn the intricacies of an organization and what its goals are, and help it test the waters,” Howard said. “We want this to be a one-stop source where companies can find what they need for reaching this market.”
RynoT was founded by Howard and Ryan Baker, who devised the concept for the compilation catalog after researching college students' lifestyles and purchasing habits while working on their MBAs at the University of Notre Dame. They found that of the 16.4 million college students in the United States, 68 percent have purchased via mail order in the past year.
They also found that 70 percent of college students have a credit card, which 75 percent of them will still have 15 years later and 60 percent will carry for life.
Howard and Baker have estimated that college students have $96 billion in annual purchasing power, and they say that a brand-conscious nature and lifetime of purchasing power ahead of them make students an audience that can't be overlooked.
The company's compilation catalog will be tested in the spring with a limited distribution to high-school seniors as they collect their caps and gowns. It will be launched on campuses in August through college sampling packets.